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Reports Said 38% of Americans Won’t Buy Corona Beer Because of the Coronavirus. Here’s Why That’s Not Exactly True

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  • 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)

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E.U. and U.S. Sanction Russian Officials Over Navalny Detention

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  • The E.U. and U.S. coordinated new sanctions against seven Russian officials tied to the current fate of activist and Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
  • More efforts are expected to follow, with officials claiming that 14 Russian entities tied to the manufacturing of Novichok – the rare nerve agents that supposedly poisoned Navalny – are the next to be sanctioned.
  • Despite the sanctions, Biden’s administration hopes to be able to work with Russia on other world issues, such as nuclear arms in Iran and North Korea.
  • Navalny himself isn’t likely to benefit from the sanctions as he’s serving a 2.5-year prison sentence in one of Russia’s most notorious penal colonies.

Coordinated Efforts by E.U. and U.S.

The U.S. and E.U. both announced coordinated sanctions against Russia Tuesday morning over the poisoning, arrest, and detention of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

In particular, seven senior officials are targeted by the sanctions.

  • Federal Security Service Director Aleksandr Bortnikov
  • Chief of the Presidential Policy Directorate Andrei Yarin
  • First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko
  • Deputy Minister of Defense Aleksey Krivoruchko
  • Deputy Minister of Defense Pavel Popov
  • Federal Penitentiary Service director Alexander Kalashnikov
  • Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov.

Both the E.U. and U.S. also plan to add fourteen entities that are involved in making the extremely deadly Russian nerve agent Novichok.

First Step For Biden

These sanctions are the first such action by the Biden administration against Russia and seem to be a tone shift from the previous administration. The Trump administration was considered relatively soft on Russia and only enacted a few sanctions over election interference, which were only softly enforced.

One U.S. official, according to NBC News reportedly said, that “today is the first such response, and there will be more to come.”

“The United States is neither seeking to reset our relations with Russia nor are we seeking to escalate,” the official went on to add.

The man at the center of all this, Alexei Navalny, has been an outspoken critic of Putin who was arrested when he returned to Russia from Germany after being treated for Novichok poisoning.

He was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison over alleged fraud crimes and is reported to have been sent to one of Russia’s worst penal colonies outside of the city of Pokrov to serve out his term.

See what others are saying: (CNN) (NPR) (NBC News)

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Biden Faces Criticism Over U.S. Airstrike in Syria

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  • On Friday, the U.S. conducted an airstrike against an Iranian-back militia in Syria after it shot rockets into northern Iraq and injured U.S. service personnel.
  • The airstrike marks the first in Biden’s presidency, and while normally a routine response, it caused particular backlash against the president, who campaigned on getting out of “forever wars” in the region.
  • Many felt like Biden was more concerned with bombing people in the Middle-East than he was with passing his $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which was being debated by Congress at the time.
  • The targeting of an Iranian-backed militia likely didn’t help efforts to start informal talks with Iran on Sunday in an effort to reignite the Iran Nuclear Deal.

Striking Back Against Militias

The U.S. military conducted an airstrike on an Iranian-backed militia in Syria on Friday, marking it as the first such airstrike under President Joe Biden’s term.

The airstrike was conducted as retaliation after the militia launched rockets into northern Iraq; killing civilians, contractors, and injuring a U.S. service member as well as other coalition troops.

Despite airstrikes being a routine response for such situations over the last 20 years, the decision caused Biden to face intense backlash in the U.S.

For many, it set the tone and seemed to contradict some of his earlier stances when running for office. In 2019, for instance, Biden made it clear that he wanted to get out of Iraq as soon as possible, as well as speed up the removal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. However, such airstrikes are often blamed for further entrenching the U.S. in the region.

Biden received criticism across the political spectrum, with only a few conservatives praising the airstrike as a necessary move to protect U.S. troops.

In Congress, many Democrats called the move unconstitutional, a stance the party has had since at least 2018 when Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said a similar airstrike conducted by President Trump required the approval of Congress. The Biden administration pushed back against this, sending a letter to Congress on Sunday saying the president had the power to use limited force without the body’s approval via the War Power Act.

Public Perception in a Downward Spiral

Many Americans have mocked Biden for seemingly feeling comfortable enough to use his executive power to bomb militias while also expressing apprehension toward using that same power to forgive student loans.

Others pushed back against the idea that the airstrike was a form of defensive retaliation

“This latest Biden airstrike is being spun as “defensive” and “retaliatory” despite its targeting a nation the US invaded (Syria) in response to alleged attacks on US forces in another nation the US invaded (Iraq),” wrote one user on Twitter, “You can’t invade a nation and then claim self-defense there. Ever.”

Some of the biggest criticism the president received came from those who said it seemed like his priorities were off-base. Because while the airstrike was conducted, Congress was debating his $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

Civil Rights activist Ja’Mal Green, for instance, tweeted, “We didn’t flip Georgia Blue for Biden to air strike Syria. We flipped Georgia Blue for our $2,000 Stimulus Checks.”

However, it’s worth noting that there’s not much Biden can do right now to push his stimulus package through Congress, other than attempt to convince some on-the-fence senators like Joe Manchin (D-WV). Still, the perception of confused priorities was enough to anger many.

All of this likely didn’t help when the E.U. foreign policy chief, on behalf of all the countries who signed the Iran Nuclear deal, attempted to convince Iran to engage in informal talks to try and restart the deal on Sunday. A proposal was shot down by Iran.

Considering the recent actions and statements by the United States and three European powers, Iran does not consider this the time to hold an informal meeting with these countries,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh

See what others are saying: (BBC) (NBC) (CNN)

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Nigerian Gunmen Kidnap Over 300 Students From Boarding School

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  • Gunmen abducted 317 girls from a Nigerian boarding school early Friday morning, making it the second major abduction in the northwest area of the country in over a week.
  • Militants loaded some girls on trucks while others were walked into the nearby Rugu forest, which covers hundreds of miles and is spread over three states.
  • Authorities believe these abductions are being carried out by armed bandit groups seeking random rather than the jihadist groups in the region.
  • According to terror analysts, kidnapping is quickly becoming one of the most thriving industries in Nigeria and has led to 10.5 million Nigerian children being out of school – the most of any nation.

Abductions Before Dawn

Gunmen abducted 317 students early Friday morning from the Nigerian Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara state.

They entered the building shooting, although it’s clear if anyone was hurt, and forced many girls onto trucks while others into the nearby Rugu forest, which covers hundreds of square miles and crosses multiple states. Some girls escaped, but by morning it was clear to the local community that hundreds were taken.

Zamfara police and security forces, backed by Nigerian army reinforcements, said they are in pursuit of the abductors.

This abduction is the second in a little over a week in the northwest area of the country. At the Kagara Government Science College in Niger state, dozens of schoolboys were abducted on February 17.

In December, 344 boys in Katsina state were also abducted before being freed a week later. At the time, the kidnappers claimed a ransom had been paid, a common motivation for such abductions, but security forces say the children were freed after they had surrounded the group.

Was the Kidnapping for Ransom?

Many abductions have a monetary aspect, with ransoms quickly being demanded; however, it’s currently unclear if Friday’s events were carried out by local bandits looking for a payout or one of the nation’s myriad of jihadist groups that occasionally take hostages.

Most are leaning towards believing this was a kidnapping for ransom due to it quickly becoming the nation’s most thriving industry, according to Bulama Bukarti, a terror analyst and columnist of northern Nigeria’s largest paper.

Unfortunately, the constant kidnapping in less-stable parts of the country, along with economic hardships, have caused parents to pull their children out of schools. Currently, there are more than 10.5 million Nigerian children out of school, the most of any nation. The issue is so prevalent that 1 in 5 of the world’s unschooled children are in Nigeria.

The government has struggled to respond to the rise of kidnappings, with officials both on the civilian side and within the military unsure of how to proceed. On one hand, there are those who want to deal with the issue head-on and attack kidnappers, but others want to try and resolve the issue with dialogue.

See what others are Saying: (NPR) (CNN) (Wall Street Journal)

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