Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

A doctor checks the body temperature of a man returning from Iran at a quarantine zone to test for the COVID-19 coronavirus in the Pakistan-Iran border town of Taftan on February 25, 2020. (Photo: Banaras Khan/AFP via Getty Images)

CDC Says Americans Should Brace for 'Significant Disruptions' Amid Warnings Coronavirus Could Infect 40-70% of Global Population

"We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad."

Julia Conley

Public health experts on Tuesday began publicly discussing the coronavirus as a disease which is expected to spread across much of the world population, including throughout the United States.

The CDC issued a warning Tuesday that it expects the illness to spread in the U.S. and that Americans should prepare themselves for "significant disruption in their daily lives."

"Ultimately we expect we will see community spread in the United States," Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC told reporters. "It's not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses. We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad."

"Ultimately we expect we will see community spread in the United States. It's not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses."
—Nancy Messonnier,  CDC

The warning came a day after The Atlantic published an article in which one scientist at Harvard University said Monday that containing coronavirus—which is officially known as COVID-19 and has infected more than 80,000 people and killed nearly 3,000 since it originated in Wuhan, China in December—may not be possible.

Although medical teams in China, Iran, Italy, and other countries where the virus has spread have worked for weeks to identify people with the respiratory illness, quarantine them, and stop them from spreading it to family members and friends, the virus could ultimately infect between 40 and 70% of the world population by the end of the year.

"I think the likely outcome is that it will ultimately not be containable," Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist, told The Atlantic.

Lipsitch emphasized that the disease is expected to spread in part because mild cases won't prevent people from going about their daily business, making it likely that they'll spread it. As with the current reported cases, many are expected to be asymptomatic.

The infection of up to 70% of humanity would still mean the likely deaths of millions of people, however, as Nils Gilman of the Berggruen Institute, an independent think tank, tweeted.

Many of the people who have died of COVID-19 have been elderly or had underlying health conditions, but a number of people who have died in China were healthcare workers, including several who were young and otherwise healthy.

Thirty five COVID-19 cases have been reported in the U.S. as of Tuesday. Lipsitch estimated to The Atlantic that between 100 and 200 people in the country could actually be infected.

"That's all it would take to seed the disease widely," he told the outlet. "The rate of spread would depend on how contagious the disease is in milder cases."

The CDC plans to begin working with public health laboratories to screen people in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and New York City, according to The Hill.

Meanwhile, climate campaigners linked the rapid and likely persistent spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases to the climate crisis and the heating of the planet.

"A warming climate will exacerbate the emergence of other novel infectious diseases in the future," wrote Wendell Chan, program officer for Friends of the Earth, in the South China Morning Post on Monday. "Rising global temperatures will shorten winter seasons—in 2019, Hong Kong experienced only three days when temperatures dropped to 12 degrees Celsius or below. Certain infectious diseases like dengue and malaria thrive better in warm temperatures."

"So long as people live close together and global travel is easy, disease outbreaks are unavoidable," Chan wrote. "The emergence and re-emergence of infectious disease is, however, just one of the many health risks that climate change will bring about."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

As Sinema Blocks Corporate Tax Hike, Demand Grows for Wealth Tax on Billionaires

"It seems truly unhinged to look at a country full of working people struggling to get by... and decide that it's more important to preserve low tax rates for billionaires and corporations than it is to make significant investments in our families."

Julia Conley ·


Israel Condemned for Designating Palestinian Human Rights Groups 'Terrorist Organizations'

"Labeling effective NGOs 'terrorists' is a textbook way to evade accountability for human rights violations—and an affront to everyone who cares about peace," said Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Kenny Stancil ·


House Progressives Call On Biden to Declare a Climate Emergency—Now

"Your inaction," Rep. Cori Bush warned the president, "is undermining our efforts to deliver good jobs, environmental justice, and a renewable energy future."

Jessica Corbett ·


Despite Politicians and Pundits' Claims, Twitter Finds Algorithm Favors Right-Wing Voices

"So much for Trump's claim that Twitter has an anti-conservative bias."

Brett Wilkins ·


'And Maybe More': Biden Says He's Open to Reforming Filibuster to Win Voting Rights

"It's a simple choice between a free America or one chained by the past," said one advocate. "Our democracy hangs in the balance."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo