- Major news outlets like CNN and The New York Post reported Thursday that 38% of American beer drinkers would not buy Corona beer right now because of the coronavirus outbreak.
- However, many have criticized the survey that the media outlets cited as misleading.
- While some of the survey questions that the 737 beer drinkers answered explicitly mentioned the coronavirus, that question about Corona beer did not.
- The question implies an association with the coronavirus, but it could also include responses from people who just don’t drink Corona anyway.
Are 38% Percent of Americans Really Scared of Corona Beer?
Media outlets like CNN and The New York Post cited a survey on Thursday that claimed 38% of Americans won’t drink Corona beer because of the coronavirus. Now, others are calling that poll phony.
The poll gained national attention and even trended on Twitter after the company running it, 5W Public Relations, asked 737 beer drinkers a variety of questions. Some of those questions explicitly mentioned the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 89,000 people globally as of Monday morning. The question involving Corona beer, however, notably lacked any mention of the coronavirus.
“38% of beer-drinking Americans would not buy Corona under any circumstances now,” the company said in its press release.
“5W Public Relations said that 38% of Americans wouldn’t buy Corona ‘under any circumstances’ because of the outbreak,” CNN then reported.
“A surprising 38 percent of beer drinkers insisted that they would not, under any circumstances, buy Corona as the deadly virus spreads across the globe,” The New York Post also reported.
According to The Atlantic, however, while the question implies an association with the coronavirus, it could also simply include responses from people who just don’t drink Corona anyway.
This is supported by the additional result that only 4% of regular Corona drinkers surveyed in the poll said they would stop drinking the brand.
“It is one thing for unscrupulous PR agencies to get their name out by trying to mislead the public in a shameless manner. It is quite another for some of the country’s most prestigious and well-known media outlets to let themselves be played,” Yascha Mounk said for The Atlantic.
Mounk also said he reached out to 5W Public Relations and was able to obtain the list of questions, but the company has not provided any further results or its methodology with him or other reporters.
“Maybe, just maybe, that’s because the results show that most Americans get the difference between a disease and a beer,” Mounk said.
YouTuber and educational vlogger Hank Green has also questioned the legitimacy of such results, also noting that the company’s currently secret methodology for obtaining its results.
“OK, now that we’ve had our fun imagining that 38% of Americans are fucking idiots…,” he said, “let’s realize that we’re all idiots for believing that CNN would check the source on this before tweeting out clickbait that makes us think less of our neighbors.”
In a statement, Constellation Brands (which owns Corona) CEO Bill Newlands also condemned the poll and association between the similarly-named beer and virus.
“It’s extremely unfortunate that recent misinformation about the impact of this virus on our business has been circulating in traditional and social media without further investigation or validation,” Newlands said. “These claims simply do not reflect our business performance and consumer sentiment, which includes feedback from our distributor and retailer partners across the country. We’ve seen no impact to our people, facilities or operations and our business continues to perform very well.”
The U.S. Reports Its First Two Deaths
Aside from clickbait polls, the coronavirus has continued to spread outside of China. On Monday, the United States reported four additional deaths after reporting its first two over the weekend.
All six people who died lived in Washington state. Reportedly, both people who died over the weekend were elderly adults with underlying health problems.
Some of the victims were also residents at a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington. That nursing home is now the subject of its own outbreak with six confirmed cases coming from the facility. Three of those cases are reportedly elderly residents in critical condition.
Other residents and staff from the facility have also reported feeling sick. With that outbreak, a quarter of Kirkland’s firefighters are in quarantine because they had visited the nursing home.
In all, as of Monday, those infections bring the U.S. to 88 cases, with states like New York, Florida, and Rhode Island all saw their first confirmed cases over the weekend.
Coronavirus Picks Up Speed Internationally
Globally, many countries are facing similar rises in infections.
One of the most drastic spikes occurred in Italy over the weekend. On Saturday, the country had confirmed 1,128 cases. By Sunday, that number jumped to 1,694, a 50% increase in the span of a day.
As of Monday, South Korea is reporting 4,300 cases, which is easily the largest outbreak outside of China. About 60% of those cases stem from the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a religious group that is frequently denounced as a cult.
China, however, reported its lowest reported infection numbers since January, with only 202 new cases and 42 deaths. Over the course of the past week, China has continually seen decreases in the number of people infected and dying each day.
The numbers were so positive to Chinese officials that they even closed the first of its 16 rapidly-built makeshift hospitals in Wuhan, where the human version of the virus originated.
See what others are saying: (The Atlantic) (USA Today) (The New York Times)
Russia Takes Over 900 Azovstal Fighters Prisoner as Mariupol Surrenders
Ukraine said the soldiers successfully completed their mission, but the fall of Mariupol represents a strategic win for Putin.
Azovstal Waves the White Flag
Russia’s foreign ministry announced on Wednesday that it had captured 959 Ukrainians from the Azovstal steelworks, where besieged soldiers have maintained the last pocket of resistance in Mariupol for weeks.
A ministry spokesperson said in a statement that 51 were being treated for injuries, and the rest were sent to a former prison colony in the town of Olenivka in a Russian-controlled area of Donetsk.
The defense ministry released videos of what it claimed were Ukrainian fighters receiving care at a hospital in the Russian-controlled town of Novoazovsk. In one, a soldier tells the camera he is being treated “normally” and that he is not being psychologically pressured, though it is unclear whether he is speaking freely.
It was unclear if any Ukrainians remained in Azovstal, but Denis Pushilin, the head of the self-proclaimed republic of Donetsk, said in a statement Wednesday that the “commanders of the highest level” were still hiding in the plant.
Previously, estimates put the number of soldiers inside Azovstal around 1,000.
Ukraine officially gave up Mariupol on Monday, when the first Azovstal fighters began surrendering.
Reuters filmed dozens of wounded Ukrainians being driven away in buses marked with the Russian pro-war “Z” symbol.
Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said in a Tuesday statement that the Ukrainian prisoners would be swapped in an exchange for captured Russians. But numerous Russian officials have signaled that the Ukrainian soldiers should be tried.
Mariupol Falls into Russian Hands
After nearly three months of bombardment that left Mariupol in ruins, Russia’s combat mission in the city has ended.
The sprawling complex of underground tunnels, caverns, and bunkers beneath Azovstal provided a defensible position for the Ukrainians there, and they came to represent the country’s resolve in the face of Russian aggression for many spectators.
Earlier this month, women, children, and the elderly were evacuated from the plant.
The definitive capture of Mariupol, a strategic port city, is a loss for Ukraine and a boon for Russia, which can now establish a land bridge between Crimea and parts of Eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian separatists. The development could also free up Russian troops around Mariupol to advance on the East, while additional reinforcements near Kharkiv descend from the north, potentially cutting off Ukrainian forces from the rest of the country.
The Ukrainian military has framed events in Mariupol as at least a partial success, arguing that the defenders of Azovstal completed their mission by tying down Russian troops and resources in the city and giving Ukrainians elsewhere more breathing room.
It claimed that doing so prevented Russia from rapidly capturing the city of Zaporizhzhia further to the west.
See what others are saying: (The Guardian) (BBC) (BBC)
Convoy of Up to 1,000 Vehicles Evacuates Refugees From Mariupol as Russian War Effort Stalls
Russia may have lost a third of its ground invasion force since the war began, according to British military intelligence.
Hundreds Make It Out Alive
A convoy of between 500 and 1,000 vehicles evacuating refugees from the southern port city of Mariupol arrived safely in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia on Saturday.
People have been trickling out of Mariupol for over two months, but the recent evacuation was the single biggest out of the city thus far. Russian troops, who control most of the city, did not allow the convoy to leave for days, but eventually, they relented.
The convoy first traveled to Berbyansky some 80 kilometers to the west, then stopped at other settlements before driving 200 kilometers northwest to Zaporizhzhia. Many refugees told reporters they took “secret detours” to avoid Russian checkpoints and feared every moment of the journey.
Nikolai Pavlov, a 74-year-old retiree, told Reuters he had lived in a basement for a month after his apartment was destroyed.
“We barely made it,” he said. “There were lots of elderly people among us… the trip was devastating. But it was worth it.”
63-year-old Iryna Petrenko also said she had stayed in Mariupol initially to take care of her 92-year-old mother, who subsequently died.
“We buried her next to her house, because there was nowhere to bury anyone,” she said.
Putin’s Plans Go Poorly
In Mariupol, Ukrainian fighters continue to hold the Azovstal steelworks, the only part of the city still under Ukrainian control.
On Sunday, a video emerged appearing to show a hail of projectiles bursting into white, brightly burning munitions over the factory.
The pro-Russian separatist who posted it on Telegram wrote, “If you didn’t know what it is and for what purpose – you could say that it’s even beautiful.”
Turkey is trying to negotiate an evacuation of wounded Ukrainians from the factory, but neither Russia nor Ukraine have agreed to any plan.
After nearly three months of war, Mariupol has been left in ruins, with thousands of civilians reportedly dead.
“In less than 3 month, Mariupol, one of Ukraine’s fastest developing & comfortable cities, was reduced into a heap of charred ruins smelling death, with thousands of people standing in long breadlines and selling their properties out to buy some food. Less than three months,” Illia Ponomarenko, a reporter for The Kyiv Independent, tweeted.
On Sunday, the United Kingdom’s defense ministry estimated that Russia has likely lost a third of its ground invasion forces since the war began.
Moscow is believed to have deployed as many as 150,000 troops in Ukraine.
The ministry added that Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine have “lost momentum” and are “significantly behind schedule.” Moreover, it said Russia failed to achieve substantial territorial gains over the last month while sustaining “consistently high levels of attrition.”
“Under the current conditions, Russia is unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days,” the ministry concluded.
Sweden also signaled on Sunday that it will join Finland in applying for NATO membership.
See what others are saying: (The Daily Beast) (U.S. News and World Report) (The Hill)
Israel Moves to Build Over 4,000 West Bank Settlements as Palestinian Homes Demolished
The Israeli military is proceeding with a plan to evict at least 1,000 Palestinians from the West Bank.
Settlers Get Ready to Move in
On Thursday, a military planning body in the Israeli-occupied West Bank approved the construction of 4,427 housing units, according to the watchdog group Peace Now.
“The State of Israel took another stumble toward the abyss and further deepened the occupation,” Hagit Ofran, an expert at Peace Now, said via the Associated Press.
The plan is the largest advancement of settlement projects since President Joe Biden took office in the United States.
The U.S. opposes settlement expansion and said as much when the plan was first announced last week, but critics say Washington has done little to pressure Israel to stop.
In a statement, U.N. Mideast envoy Tor Wennesland called the settlements a “major obstacle to peace.”
“Continued settlement expansion further entrenches the occupation, encroaches upon Palestinian land and natural resources, and hampers the free movement of the Palestinian population,” he said.
In October, Israel approved some 3,000 settlement homes despite a U.S. rebuke. There are currently over 130 Israeli settlements in the West Bank harboring almost 500,000 settlers, in addition to the nearly three million Palestinians living in the territory.
Palestinians Pushed Off Their Land
On Wednesday, the same day Israeli soldiers allegedly shot and killed Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the military demolished at least 18 buildings in the West Bank, including 12 residential ones.
Israel’s supreme court has also ruled that eight Palestinian hamlets can be expelled, potentially leaving at least 1,000 Palestinians homeless.
The area targeted is known as the Masafer Yatta, and its residents say they have been herding animals and practicing traditional desert agriculture there for decades, long before Israel took over the West Bank in 1967. Israel, however, claims there were no permanent structures there before the military designated it a firing zone in the 1980s
“What’s happening now is ethnic cleansing,” Sami Huraini, an activist and a resident of the area, told the Associated Press. “The people are staying on their land and have already started to rebuild.”