…the disease de jour.
As you know, I poo-poohed the coronavirus somewhat a blog or two ago. Still do, actually. Altho Italy and Iran have just had some dramatic events that shook my cynicism. Iran’s Deputy Health Minister just got it! So, I am thinking it all over again.
And, worse than just being deeply cynical, I have actually been WRONG on a few occasions….OK, MANY occasions….but usually my stupidity has caused no one any harm. This maybe-a-mistake by me might be a problem.
The point: I have to re-think. I could be wrong. In a more circumspect approach, I have decided to re-look at Coronavirus and adjust my views accordingly.
Approximately 77,000 affected. Approximately 3000 deaths. NOT abnormal.
BUT….still it is growing……BUT, still it is NOT growing as fast…..BUT….it is growing quite fast in places less prepared than others. Canada has been prepared somewhat better than say, Italy or Iran or even the Great-Again USA. Hmmmmm…..what does all that mean? I dunno…..I am not a doctor specializing in virus epidemics…..still….facts and formal education have never influenced my opinion…. so I am writing this blog to express what I think.
I THINK WE HAVE JUST NOTCHED UP TO DEFCON FOUR!
…..but what do they say? WHO. CDC. You know? The ‘experts’ who are supposed to direct us, save us, save the world…you know…THEM?
Almost every ‘expert’ says, “Don’t panic!” Almost every expert also says, “This panic is mostly social media driven.” Almost every China-watcher says, “It may be mostly social media driven but the official media has been lying so social media is maybe more honest. Maybe….PANIC?”
Once again: the experts are mostly useless.
So, let’s back up a bit. We know it is a flu-like virus. We know that flus tend to come and go and are, weirdly, seasonal. We know that this one is not yet any more lethal than normal flu or maybe just a bit worse than normal flu. So, what do we really know?
We know that the global economy means that virtually any communicable disease cannot be contained unless it originates in a poor country where the citizenry doesn’t travel very much. Congolese do not compete with the Germans, Swiss or Aussies in globe-trotting. Ergo, Ebola-in-Congo was kept more contained. It was, at first, just a horrific local disease. Then, with ‘complications’, it came out and hit a broader region but still, thank God, it was kept to within a few countries around the DRC (Congo).
But…Ebola in Chicago? Traveling by way of O’Hare? That would make the Bubonic Plague look like the sniffles.
So plague is somewhat/very much restricted by conveyance. If you are ill and travel by donkey, then you infect fewer than if you travel by 737. China? Somewhere in between. In between is NOT good. Hard to measure. Hard to envision. Impossible to control. Experts know even less.
THEN we have China….the land of secrets, home of the inscrutable, a society that thinks from the top down. They are a government of liars, with a media controlled by government. Net result: no one knows diddly squat.
So, where does that leave us? To be honest, if I was 21 and healthy, I’d volunteer to help others. If I got the disease, I’d be sick, wonder about my sanity and very likely fight it off, get healthy and then have immunity. Mission accomplished.
But I am not 21. And every cold, flu, infection, infestation, malaise and illness that even flies over the local school – which I never go to – will eventually get to me. Flu is literally the six degrees of separation theory proven out time and time again. One kid gets sick in Malaysia and six months later, I am eventually laid low. We are all at risk!
But what are we at risk of? If it is just the flu, even a bad one, bring it on. I’ll prevail. I am old but still healthy. I am afraid but not overly so. But, if it is a mutating, changing, alternating form of disease that we can’t seem to get under control, then we have a problem. We have a big problem. And living OTG will NOT be the answer.
Let us hope that my cynicism is well placed.
Thank you Dave, for re-thinking. I am going to write about it too. I haven’t read your piece, so just commenting gratuitously. Not withstanding the people already affected by the virus, there are a lot of vulnerable people like myself out there – babies, elderly, the immunocompromised, etc, etc. Even in my country, hospitals are chronically undrr fundec and afd already over-whelmed meeting existing needs. If the virus mutates, it may become even more severe. This is not something to be under estimated.
I’ve read it now. I see you covered it. Now I’m going back to bed because I have my second head cold in a month. Flu season will soon hit Australia too.
Dave, you should look to WHO, what WHO says about China’s effort and transparency. Yes, it is managed from top down, but not autocracy, more like meritocracy, which is not a bad thing for a country with 1.4 billion people,much better then Trump or T2 could manage, I think.
I agree. China has responded and responded well. The REAL problem is NOT the government so much as the fact that there are 1.4 billion citizens. That is an almost impossible amount of people to screen and treat or even find! And the beginning was made worse by the initial secrecy imposed. And exacerbated by the official media which did not report it. But, I agree, once the Chinese get going, there is not much to find wanting in their efforts.
The number of people affected so far is not in the millions. So far over 30,000 have recovered fully and around 3,300 have died. Meanwhile in the world of social intelligence the herd instinct is awakened. School parents are asking that any child that appears to look Chinese is to stay away from school. Petitions are circulating on-line and the pot of uproar is being stirred. In the USA this pandemic issue is being blamed on the Democrates spreading ‘fake news’! Trump gave his usual statement of dismissal and said in effect ‘ all is well.’ USA, USA! The stock market took a hit yesterday as bots started to sell. Techniques of containment and isolation are being used iwith limited results. As some brains shut down and thinking becomes roiled, what might emerge is the Chicken Little effect. All affect and little in the cognitive domain. The sky is falling crank up the blame machine.
I agree again. I think this is approaching pandemic status but it is still less deadly and more ‘dealt with’ naturally than we are being led to believe. The US? SO far down the road to insanity, they should not even be listened to. But I was surprised that Italy and Iran were so hard hit. WE’ll see.
Not all that surprised because the hardest hit city in Iran is a religious Center and a site of pilgrimage. A home of many clerics. Iran has few or no restrictions on the travels of pilgrims. Italy like wise has religious pilgrims and until recently few travel restrictions.
Interesting…kind of similar to the Japanese CULT that seemed to have more-than-their-share of infected. Once again, the herd takes a hit. And puts another criticism against religion on the books.
I am pleased that you have seen the truth, as the “new” virus is killing on par with any similar virus, maybe a few less. Mostly the frail and older are at risk and mostly if they live in some third world, and or dictatorships, which will suffer greater loss as there is no government stimulus to help( other than China’s vast but late effort), It’s not the end of the world! I know it, you know it, most governments know it, but it sells papers so the rich get richer. Same same!
Perhaps being OTG offers you, us, a 7th degree of separation?, not that that will save you but may help?🤞🤞🤞
In effect, being OTG ALWAYS afforded that extra bit of separation and thus provided a bit of comfort. But a virus recognizes no boundaries. Neither does a nuclear bomb. Basically we are only a bit safer than the remote ON-the-gridders and they have only a bit more than the small towns and so on. But Toronto and San Francisco, LA, Mexico City are like tinderboxes….takes nothing for them to go all to hell. We truly are global in that sense. I just hope Trump’s WH gets it.