Daily Archives: April 1, 2020

Reflection On A Disappeared Newspaper Article

I wish I could find again an article with very useful information about the virus (my VPN is a real Hillary tonight, but the article might have disappeared behind a paywall, too). It was really informative.

The information that had struck me was twofold:

  1. The virus was with us much earlier than previously expected, meaning several weeks; having all the time in the world to gain momentum.
  2. This means that the virus had several weeks to spread undisturbed, all over the worst affected Province (Bergamo). The article stated that, for this reason, up to 25% of the entire province might have already contracted the virus. In short, the message is that it may well be that the doors were closed when the horses had largely bolted, which is bad; but that herd immunity is not so far away, which is very good.

The article struck me as very sensible, because it seemed to me to explain so well what has, in fact, happened: the fact that Italy had so many deaths among people in hospital and in nursing homes (a phenomenon that is becoming more evident by the day) is easily explained not only with the high number of old people in Italy, but with the fact that these people are still connected with their social fabric: their relatives and friends actually visit them, giving an insidious virus like the Chinese one every opportunity to penetrate the nursing care structures and make a massacre (I seem to remember the affected nursing homes had a 20% death rate in weeks, but again I can’t find the article anymore). Even easier was the virus’ “work” when we think of the high number of old people living either with their families and/or with home carers: again, leaving a great number of old people in daily, close contact with younger ones, for weeks, without anyone having the slightest idea of what is happening. Italy is a very inter-generational Country. Therefore, it makes sense that Italy would give the virus both the time and the opportunity to kill more in Italy than everywhere else.

Another number I read around: the city of Bergamo has around 120,000 inhabitants. It appears they now have 2,000 unemployed house carers. It tells you something about how easy it was for many old people to contract the virus.

Point 2 also makes, it seems to me, a lot of sense. If you follow the curve of the deaths and infections in Italy another element appears clear: the percentage of new infections compared to tested people trends downwards as the number of tests increases greatly. The number of deaths is fairly constant. Why is this? If you ask me (and not only me), this is because the virus is killing now people who were infected two or three weeks ago (one week to develop symptoms, one or two weeks for these symptoms to get worse and worse, with hospitalisation, then death in, likely, a matter of days). One can say that there are less people infected because people stay at home, and this certainly has contributed…. but…. but… could it be that the virus has slowed down because, say… hundreds of thousands in the Province of Bergamo alone (1.1 m) have in the meantime been infected and have recovered without even noticing, and the virus has less and less victims to target and/or use as vectors?

Is herd immunisation a pious wish? If this is so, how is it that Countries like Britain, who allow everyone, who has to, to actually go to work, have no noticeably different pattern than countries like Italy, where your neighbours count the time you take out the dog, alone, for a short walk, and woe to you it is beyond the strictest necessity? Do people in Italy realise that, here in the UK, there are also people actually taking the train, getting on the tube, and going to work in a normal office, to the tune of perhaps 10% or 15% of the normal, pre-crisis number? This has been going on for a while now. Why are corpses not piling up on the streets? Will we have Armageddon in a week or two? Or will we discover that the curve is near to flattening in the UK, too, which many people actually begin to hope already?

I do not know what the answer to these questions is. But one thing is clear to me: at some point we will have to isolate the old and frail, and ask the others to keep social distancing as much as practical, and reopen the damn factories and restaurants and shops.

Then we can’t discover that we have saved some lives, whilst destroying many more.

 

 

 

 

 

Mundabor Goes American Thinker

I have been, for many years now, an affectionate reader of the “American Thinker”.

It is, therefore, with great pleasure, and not a little surprise, that I read my nom de plume and an excerpt of a recent blog post of mine in that worthy publication.

It goes to show how the honest press works: instead of following the orders of the globalist liberal elites, honest journalists pose themselves questions and look around for what people are thinking, observing how they are reacting to the same issues and answering the same questions. It was, again, a great honour and pleasure.

This is, also, the first blog post after the unexpected and, frankly, brutal announcement of Sunday evening, that the US “quasi lockdown” would now go on until – gasp – April 30. I must admit that I was taken aback, and can’t say that I was pleased. I have been trying to make sense of the massive measure for a couple of days now, and I can only think of the following:

  1. Vast part of the economy (in the US and in Europe) is still working. I have not read exact statistics, but obviously the number of people who are filing for unemployment does not give the measure of the damage, as the jobs that went lost must perforce be, in their vast majority, low-wage positions in the catering and entertainment industry. I keep working, everybody I know keeps working, my company has not made, and does not plan to make, anyone redundant. Entire swaths of the service economy are navigating through this tempest brilliantly. Some reports indicates an impact for the US economy for the whole of 2020 of as little as 2%, with a total lockdown until end of April. This is way below my fears for the same duration of lockdown. One must trust Trump to do what he can to preserve the health of the American people as a whole, but without breaking the toy. He is a businessman after all, and he has repeatedly stated that the cure will not be worse than the disease. So here’s hoping.
  2. I suspect that the 30 April date was not chosen because it is the expected duration of the measures, but in order to put an end to the political issues involved with any such date. If Trump had said “15 April”, trust CNN to title “Trump backpedals again”, or “Government’ s plans in disarray” if the measures are, then, prorogued again. I think Trump considers the whole month plenty enough, and probably not even necessary as a whole. We might see partial relaxing of the measures during the month. We will also see a massive effort of preparation for the ICU emergency that will follow when the economy is reopened, which will make any decision easier in that respect.
  3. Trump will not do the right thing all alone, even if he is persuaded that it is the right thing to do. I am afraid that Trump himself sees that there is a measure of suffering the Country will have to undergo before the decision to reopen is both politically feasible and politically safe. Look, this is an election year. Trump will not stake his fate in November on a controversial decision that would see him alone among the main actors, and with a tiny minority in the Country. He owns casinos, but he is not much of a gambler. He will reopen when – besides him considering the time right – the country realises that there is no sensible alternative to it. Call me cynical if you want to. Politics is.

Still, this is going to be very bad for some parts of the United States. If I think of Nevada, I can only shiver.

I dare again to make the comparison with the Blitz, when life went on under the German bombs.

I cannot but wonder about how much is left of the spirit of that time.

Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. Weak men create hard times; and the cycle starts again.

Are we the weak men who create the bad times?

We will soon know.

M

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