Coronavirus: Let’s Get Real.
The figures for Italy released this afternoon aren’t good, with more than 900 deaths in a day, and the new record.
Before you freak out, reflect that these daily numbers don’t mean much anyway, which you know because you actually read my blog.
At this point, I would like to make a very worst case, a realistic worse case, and a comparison with data we have.
As you know from here, the Diamond Princess saw the worst possible incubation scenario, and was full of old people, who were going around for many days within the vessel and being happily infected without even knowing it.
The figures again:
Total death after weeks in the vessel of hell: 0.188%
Let us apply this to the, say, 60 million Italians and we have 112,800 deaths due to Coronavirus.
However, the Diamond Princess is, most certainly, not representative of Italy: firstly, because it was a heavily contained environment; secondly, because the average age was much older than in Italy. Thirdly, because (to my knowledge) no intensive care units with ventilators etc could be made available. So, let us say that 110k- 120k deaths is the very worst case. Then, let us (merely) halve it to allow for a very bad, resilient virus that does not find so many old people around as aboard the Diamond Princess, but proves resilient to medications, is not killed by warm weather, etc.
We are at 55k-60k deaths, mostly of old people with pre-existing conditions and average age of around 80 years. This is, I think, a realistic worst case. Not, mind, a likely figure, but a realistically assumed scenario for a very bad outcome.
Now, let us recall the great heat wave of 2003, which led to many old people dying of dehydration. At the time (this might have changed afterwards; these numbers always go through a series of adjustments) the talk was of anywhere between 20,000 and 30,000 deaths in France alone. France has around the same population as Italy, give or take single percentage digits. Certainly, a tragedy. However, these figures were calculated months afterwards, when there was nothing more to do about it. Question: would the country have been stopped for all the summer, to allow for the industry to produce a vast number of a/c systems, an army of technicians to install them, and an army of nurses to force everyone to hydrate until he cries? That emergency was, in the end, much less grave than this one, but you get my drift: no one would have asked, then, to stop the entire Country and drive it to the ground to avoid the tragedy.
We are, realistically, talking here of a maximum of twice the deaths we counted then, not collectively noticing until several months later. It’s a lot of deaths, and it certainly is the Christian thing to do to put in place those measures that can reasonably be put in place to avoid it, allowing all Western Governments to prepare for the tidal wave of people in need of intensive care units and minimise its deadly effect. It did, and it does, make sense to use the emergency brake for a limited number of weeks.
But – hand on heart, and in front of the Blessed Virgin – I can safely say that even the sobering, very sad, tragic figures I am putting in front of you today do not justify the collective economic suicide of a Nation, much less of a Continent, much less of the West.
And by the by, the Chinese figures are rotten and look more rotten by the day. It is inconceivable that they should have less deaths and – even more absurd – less infected people than Italy, when they went around happily infecting each other for who knows how long, and were prevented from isolating even when the situation was bad enough that doctors on the ground could easily see it. They are going through a carnage now; but people are expendable to them, so they don’t care. So yeah, a huge lot of excrement is happening over there just now; you are merely not allowed to know.
I do not think that anyone can accuse me of downplaying this situation, and I am totally allergic to the rubbish I am reading around the web (don’t try to bring that rubbish here, thanks; this is my virtual home, and I will have none of that crap).
Still, I think that the cure cannot be worse than the disease, and that undue alarm and facebook-induced panic only serves to destroy the fabric of Western Capitalism.