The Anonymous Widower

Coronavirus: Over 600 People Test Positive At German Slaughterhouse

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on DW News.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Yet another German slaughterhouse has registered a massive outbreak of the coronavirus. Roughly two-thirds of the test results so far have come back positive.

Does the author think this is a recurring problem?

There is a sub-heading in the article of By No Means An Isolated Case, where this is said.

Germany’s meat processing sector has come under increasing scrutiny during the pandemic, with several plants reporting massive outbreaks. The sector is plagued with poor working conditions, exploitative contracts and usurious rents in mass housing for eastern European workers.

The company is blaming Bulgarian and Romanian workers going home for the long weekend.

The next paragraph, would appear to debunk that theory.

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Germany has had far more confirmed cases of coronavirus than either Romania or Bulgaria. In the past 14 days, Germany registered 4,814 new cases, compared to 2,898 in Romania and 915 in Bulgaria.

By comparison, we have had 14,932 lab-confirmed cases in the last fourteen days.

The article says that this slaughterhouse is in Gutersloh and from a picture in the article, the slaughterhouse seems to process pigs.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the Wikipedia entry for Gutersloh.

It looks to be a typical German town of 100,000 people, but it does have one unusual feature according to Wikipedia; ten percent of the population are Arameans.

I have found these facts on Wikipedia.

  • The total number of Arameans in Germany is between 100,000 and 120.000. See Arameans
  • There has been a long history of Turkish people migrating to Germany. See Turks In Germany
  • The number of Turks in Germany is 2,774,000, making them the largest minority. See Demographics of Germany
  • Many of the Turks were brought to Germany in the 1970s to do the jobs the Germans didn’t want to do and to solve a labour crisis, after the building of the Berlin Wall. See Turks In Germany

Turks are Muslim and the Germans produce a lot of pork. So do Turks work in German slaughterhouses handling pork and making sausages?

If they don’t, does this explain the large number of Arameans in Gutersloh? Arameans are Christians and unlike Muslims and Jews, eat pork.

Their diet also contains alcohol and appears to be gluten-rich!

I’d love to have German statistics of COVID-19 by ethnicity!

June 21, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Undiagnosed Coeliac Disease A Possible Explanation For High Deaths From Covid-19 Amongst Those Of Caribbean And Jewish Heritage?

In The Times today, they publish a list today of deaths per 100,000 people, who died in hospital from Covoid-19.

  • Caribbean – 70
  • Any other black – 48
  • Total black – 43
  • Indian – 30
  • Any other Asian – 27
  • All Asian – 27
  • African – 27
  • Overall – 26
  • Pakistani – 26
  • White British – 23
  • Bangladeshi – 20

Some things jump out from the data,

  1. Those of Asian, African and Pakistani heritage have death rates similar to the general population.
  2. Bangladeshis do rather well, which is contrary to the expectations of some people.
  3. Those from the Caribbean, fare much worse than other black groups and Africans.

In the statistics, one group of immigrants were ignored. I live in Hackney and there have been a large number of Orthodox Jewish immigrants to the borough in recent years. From statements, by the Chief Rabbi, in The Times and on BBC Radio, he is worried and has closed all the synagogues under his control. Separating this group might give an insight into the data.

Recently my GP, asked if I had been vaccinated against measles, as Hackney is a measles hotspot. I haven’t been vaccinated, but I have had the disease. Apparently, the Orthodox Jewish groups have low vaccination rates.

I am also coeliac, which means I have a gluten allergy. Mine comes from an Ashkenazi Jewish line from the Baltic, but coeliac disease is also present in the Irish and some West Africans. In these three groups, historic famine seems to be the cause. Over the years, I have met several coeliacs from Jamaica and other islands in the West Indies, but never have I met any from Asia or East Africa.

Various research into coeliac disease has shown, that as many as one in a hundred of the UK population could be undiagnosed coeliacs. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was fifty, twenty years ago, so sufferers do slip through the net.

But research from Nottingham University has also shown, that coeliacs on a gluten-free diet are less likely to suffer from cancer, than the general population. Could this be because this group has a strong immune system, which gets an immune response  in early on the cancer?

Undiagnosed Coeliacs And Pollution

I can speak of this with authority, as that was me as a child.

I grew up in Southgate in North London and the air was polluted with the smoke from domestic coal fires. I suffered badly and was a very unhealthy child, who regularly had three months off school.

My health improved about ten and it could have been one of three factors.

  • I was exercising more, having learned to ride a bike.
  • My parents had bought a house in Felixstowe, where we tended to spend lots of boring weekends and holidays.
  • The Clean Air Act of 1956 had cleaned up London’s air.

My breathing certainly improved and I was a good enough athlete to make a school team at fifteen.

Recent research has shown, that there can be a link between air pollution and COVID-19. I wrote about this in Air Pollution May Be ‘Key Contributor’ To Covid-19 Deaths – Study.

These days, even in a polluted street, I don’t suffer much at all, but then I’m on a strict gluten-free diet!

Although, I do find that my breathing improves in the Spring, when we start to get longer days with lots of sunshine.

Undiagnosed Coeliacs And Strokes

I had my serious stroke because of atrial fibrillation. My father died after two serious strokes. He must have been coeliac, so were his strokes caused by the same reason as mine?

I have talked with cardiac specialists and they have felt, that my fifty years as an undiagnosed coeliac could have damaged my heart muscle to cause the atrial fibrillation.


It would not be right to ignore slavery.

Millions of Africans were taken from West Africa to America and the Caribbean and they were probably fed nothing more than bread and water most of the time.

Did this increase the predominance of coeliac genes in those that survived the horrific treatment?

What Are The Bangladeshis Doing Right?

As a coeliac, if I’m stuck in a town, that is unknown to me and I need a meal, I’ll often go to the smartest Indian (Bangladeshi?) restaurant, as I’ve never found one with cloth tablecloths and napkins, that doesn’t do good gluten-free food. The only wheat they use is in the nans!

So has this diet given Bangladeshis a good immune system?

What Is The Figure For Jewish People?

In this article in The Times, Melanie Phillips says this.

As of last Friday, 335 British Jews had died of the virus, more than five times their proportion in the population.

Wikipedia gives the number of British Jews as 263,346 in the 2011 Census.

A rough estimate using these figures gives a figure of 127 per 100,000 of the population.


Could undiagnosed coeliac disease be the unexplained link as to why people with Caribbean heritage have higher deaths than those with African?

April 24, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Air Pollution May Be ‘Key Contributor’ To Covid-19 Deaths – Study

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the Guardian.

This is the first two paragraphs.

High levels of air pollution may be “one of the most important contributors” to deaths from Covid-19, according to research.

The analysis shows that of the coronavirus deaths across 66 administrative regions in Italy, Spain, France and Germany, 78% of them occurred in just five regions, and these were the most polluted.

I think that this report could prove significant. But I have no idea why!

I grew up in a very polluted London, where regularly at Primary School we would be sent home early as the smog was so bad. In those days of the 1950s, there were few  immigrants and I only remember one black person at school. She was the Deputy Head Girl! The few immigrants at school, were generally Poles, although I do remember one Spanish boy.

April 20, 2020 Posted by | Health, World | , , | 5 Comments

Music Across Races And Ages

The Times this morning has a small article which is entitled Chuck Berry To Release New Album At 90.

I was on a bus, when I rode it and showed it to black lady next to me, who must have been in her early twenties, saying that I had seen Chuck Berry in the sixties, at the Regal in Edmonton.

We were both surprised though, that Chuck Berry was still recording at 90!

We chatted for a minute or so, before she got of the bus.

I do think though that certain strands of music will always appeal to a very wide variety of individuals.


October 19, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

I Thought We Were Past This

You don’t here of too many racist stories these days, but this one from Wakefield in the Independent seems to be a throwback to forty or fifty years ago.

The only things you judge a cafe or restaurant on, are the quality of the premises, the food and the customer service. In fact, in my case, several of the cooks and chefs I’ve met with black African or West Indian origins, have understood my need for gluten-free food better than a lot of others I could name.

It’s just a pity, I have no reason to go to Wakefield, otherwise, I’d pop in fior at least a cup of tea.

July 12, 2013 Posted by | News, World | , | Leave a comment

Nationalism And The England Football Team

I went to the England match against Ireland last night at Wembley and although it wasn’t the best of matches, a thought about the England team struck me, as I listened to the phone-in on Radio 5 about English Nationalism.

It is surprising how many of the England team, could have been eligible to play for other countries. For example, Wayne Rooney and Gary Cahill have an Irish heritage and  Phil Jagielka has a Polish father and a Scottish mother.

On the other hand, I think at least one of the black players, was born in England to parents, who were also born here.

So nothing is ever what it seems!

I myself, have two strong immigrant lines in my genes; Jew and Huguenot, so when it comes for me to define what is Englishness, I can get rather lost.

Perhaps being of mixed genes is a requirement to being a true Englishman or Englishwoman.  After all Churchill had an American mother, Brunel had a French father and Alan Blumlein had a German father, to name but three.

I often define myself as a London Mongrel and when asked to fill in forms about my race, if I think I can get away with it, I do.

Could it all be down to hybrid vigour? It’s proper scientific name is heterosis.

I also like this quote on nationalism by Albert Einstein.

Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.

He is right!

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

Missing White Woman Syndrome

This article on the BBC web site is an interesting observation on the dreadful cases of abduction in Cleveland.

The trouble is that the media knows what stories are popular and will generate more advertising.

Although, the article is mainly about the United States, could we say honestly hand-on-heart, that the media would have taken the same interest in the Madeleine McCann case, if she had not been white?

May 9, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Racist Behaviour In Serbia

The disgraceful racist and violent behaviour in Serbia yesterday, when England beat the country, is of course to be thoroughly deplored.

But the Balkans have in recent years not been a place where black footballers seem to be welcomed.

There is the story of how a teenage Titus Bramble, went to play for the England Under-21 in Albania around 2000. He was repeatedly racially abused during the match.

On return to Ipswich, he was interviewed by the East Anglian Daily Times about the match and stated that he didn’t know what the chants were, as he’d never encountered racism in his personal or footballing life.

In a way it shows how well and how early we started to get our act together over racism in football.

i have no idea, if the Albanians were punished for the behaviour of their fans, but the behaviour last night is in my view partly caused by UEFA’s and FIFA’s weak response to incidents like that match in Albania.

October 17, 2012 Posted by | Sport, World | , , , | 2 Comments

An Incident On A Bus

I was on a bus this morning, when a couple tried to get on without paying. They seemed to produce an old ticket claiming it had been issued earlier. But obviously, this didn’t fool the driver and he said no.

After a minute or so everyone on the bus started to get a bit impatient ringing the bell and rumbling about moving on. But the couple stood their ground.

it was then that the two biggest passengers on the bus moved forward to try to support the driver and sort the impasse.  One was a stockily-built, fifty year old or so,  white man in a suit and the other was a much younger, tall black man in jeans and a cotton jacket.

Faced with this irresistible force, the couple got off and possibly waited for another bus.

I was sitting next to a rather slight young lady and remarked that luckily you don’t see that too often. She agreed and we both wished each other well, as we got off a couple of stops later.

Perhaps we should have all cheered, but I think we thought that discretion was the better part of valour.

So, in the end, no-one or nothing was hurt, except perhaps the couple’s pride.

October 9, 2012 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Coeliacs With West African Roots

One of the big differences about London, after coming back to live after forty years, is that now everybody tends to talk to each other a lot more.  A black lady and myself had a big laugh about it, after we’d walked up the road talking about our ailments and remarking that twenty years before we’d have been on opposite sides of the road.

One thing that has surprised me is the number of coeliacs, I’ve come across with West African roots.  I have written about the chef in my local pub from Sierra Leone, who is a coeliac, but several times, I’ve been asked in the supermarket about the gluten-free food in my basket, by shop staff and others, who are coeliac and have some roots in West Africa.

If it was just once or twice, I’d put it down to a random chance, but it is more common than that! Remember though that gluten has little part in the traditional West African diet, which is based on sorghum.

Hopefully the diagnosis of Michael Obiora; the actor, who was born to Nigerian parents, with coeliac disease, will help spread awareness of the disease.


October 5, 2012 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment