Daily Archives: March 17, 2020

The Silver Lining

As we enter the stage of quasi-hysteria in the Coronavirus affair – there is no day in which the one or other concerned colleague does not ask me, and some actually phone expressly to ask, how my relatives in Italy are… Thank you mate, I appreciate…but relax, it’s not the Black Plague.. – I have noted a positive side effect of Covid-mania; a side effect which, hopefully, will bear fruits in the coming months and years.

The presence of a concrete event that, in fact, kills people, has caused the disappearance from the headlines – and from the people ‘s minds- of that most imagined of dangers, “man-made global warming”. It is as if, faced with a real issue, the entire planet had completely forgotten the fake one.

Now consider this: if the issue had anywhere the importance, in the mind of its proposers, that they keep saying it has, they should decry…. the Coronavirus as the real fake problem and utter distraction!

“What relevance does the only slightly anticipated death of up to 1% of the world population have” – they should cry from the rooftops – “when the impending catastrophe, which is only years ahead , will deprive not the 1% of some months, but the 100% of life as we know it, or of life altogether?”

This is what the environazi should be saying now, if they believed in their own rubbish. But they don’t, and therefore immediately forget the alleged greatest and most important issue of our times, and run to…. hoard toilet paper instead.

Who knows: perhaps, after all this has passed, a lot of people will learn to discern the real dangers – however rare – from the imaginary ones, and will get out of this as something resembling responsible adults, instead of the whining crybabies they have been up to now.

Perspectives

As so often in life, for Coronavirus, too a little perspective can go a long way.

Italy has 60 million inhabitants. At an average life expectancy above 80, but one of the oldest populations in the world, you can expect, very approximately, 800k to 1m people dying of old age every year. Many of the – since yesterday, more than 2,000 – victims of the Coronavirus were very old people, to whom the virus gave that last little push into the grave. Sad, of course; but it gives some perspective.

Do you want more perspective? Italy kills, last time I looked, more than 100,000 babies in their mothers’ very womb every year. How is that for perspective?

You can play this game longer: for example, I would love to get official statistics about smoke-related deaths in Italy. I am pretty sure it would make for sobering reading.

More of that: IIRC, the number of death in France attributed to the great heat of Summer 2003 was estimated between 20000 and 30000, of course due to the “harvesting effect” of the heat on the old and sick. The figures might have changed once more accurate data were available; but again, you get my drift…

Yes, we need to apply rules of common prudence and common sense. But it smacks of panic and sheer hysteria to cause grave damage to the world economies in an attempt to reduce the impact of the disease.

In my eyes, the priority now should be the mobilisation of army and industry to create field hospitals and proceed to the production of medicaments and equipment as soon as possible. If this is tackled with the same determination that would be used in war times, it can be done fast. A ventilator is likely no horribly complex technology, and matters of patents etc. can be settled later. In the age of 3d printers and flexible production equipment, this should be doable rather fast.

But the approach of Governments like the British one (no closure of schools, no bans on movements) seems the one most suited to safeguard millions of jobs besides the elderly.

Hong Kong closed schools. Singapore didn’t. There is no evidence the school closure brought any benefits.

Concern, yes. Prudence, yes.

Closing factories everywhere? No.

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