Diary Blog, 30 March 2020

For those who missed the relevant blog post, my thoughts about what might transpire after the virus situation has ended can be read below:

https://ianrmillard.wordpress.com/2020/03/29/when-coronavirus-is-over/

Coronavirus

Latest statistics: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

I am not of course a virologist, epidemiologist, neither am I any kind of medic (or scientist), but most of the experts have shown themselves to be as ignorant as ordinary members of the public in respct of Coronavirus and the path it might take.

Yesterday, I expressed the view, inter alia, that the “COVID-19” virus seems to be less lethal than we had feared. Either fewer people are infected than we feared might be, or more people are infected but are asymptomatic.

It has been suggested by a research group at Oxford University that about 50% or even 60% of the UK has been infected, starting in the early part of 2020, but that most of those showed and show no symptoms, so are completely unaware that they have been infected. The true death toll varies from country to country depending on how good their health services are, but seems to be, overall, including those who are asymptomatic or only slightly symptomatic and so are never diagnosed, to be well below 1% and possibly only a tenth of 1%.

Most people who do show symptoms are affected no more than they would be by seasonal flu (as witness Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, Nadine Dorries, Prince Charles etc). Very few are dying. That may seem callous in view of the fact that hundreds in the UK alone have died (in the UK, so far, 1,228) but about 1,400 people die (from all causes) in England and Wales, daily, on average (pre-Coronavirus).

The sense of near-Armageddon is a product of the large numbers who now require hospital care (there is no treatment, as such), combined with the extreme “lockdown” policy which, though possibly justifiable, cannot be maintained for long, for a number of reasons.

Whether this government was right to institute such an extreme “lockdown”, closing almost all businesses, and putting the bulk of the population under a kind of house arrest, is uncertain. The economy may take such a hit that it will not recover in our lifetimes.

Worth reading:

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/The-evidence-on-Covid-19-is-not-as-clear-as-we-think

Civil rights have also taken a knock, on paper because of the Coronavirus Act but in practice because of the hectoring police tactics (which may well be unlawful). In fact some police forces are (not for the first time) behaving like a poundland KGB.

I expressed the view yesterday that the virus crisis may be plateau-ing across Europe. Today, the same scientist, one Ferguson, who was only a week or so ago predicting 250,000 deaths in the UK, says that a plateau may have already been reached both in Italy and in the UK. He now predicts as few as 5,700 deaths in the UK. In both the UK and Italy the number of cases reported and the number of deaths registered has fallen, in Italy for 2 and maybe by now 3 consecutive days.

The “lockdown” measures introduced in the UK may help, certainly, but the best weapon against the virus is good personal hygiene, and especially the frequent washing of hands with soapy water, as recommended by the authorities. Statistics show that in Italy, France and Spain, all hard hit, personal hygiene is relatively poor compared to the UK, Germany, much of Northern Europe, Turkey.

Coronavirus: last 24 hours in UK

260 deaths on Saturday, 209 on Sunday and a further fall to 180 today” [BBC News online]

While fluctuations may occur in such statistics, it seems clear that there is at least a good likelihood that the situation in the UK has reached a plateau. It may even have reached a peak, though the authorities think not.

I noticed that none of the three TV news broadcasts which I just looked at (at 2200 hrs) actually mentioned that the death toll in the UK has fallen for the third consecutive day. It is as if they want the public’s fear (and so compliance with “orders”) to continue…

Guess how many people in the UK have died so far, per every million of the population? 21. Twenty-one.

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

In fact, total (confirmed) cases in the UK per million stand at only 326.

The authorities are obviously getting together a narrative which will go something like “our strict lockdown measures have saved the country from near-annihilation“, which of course will be, at best, only partly true.

On a more positive note, I have been impressed by a few things.

  • Firstly, the invention or development of special breathing apparatus in only a week, by UCL and the Mercedes F1 team. Amazing.
  • Secondly, though it may not be necessary or the right way to do things, the mere fact that hundreds of thousands have volunteered to help maintain parts of society.
  • Thirdly (with the same caveats), the fact that several functioning emergency hospitals are being built to what seems a reasonable standard (looking at news broadcasts) within days.

Makes one realize what Britain could do in other respects, under the right leadership.

Local view

Did not go out except to run car (parked off-road) for 30 mins. Saw 2 cars pass on the local road, a teenage boy and girl walking with their dog, 1 lady walking alone. About a tenth of “normal” (vehicular) traffic, if that.

Further thoughts

I recently encountered in Waitrose an Indian lady with whom I have spoken over the past several years. Her husband was in the Foreign Office. She told me (from six feet away!) that she has been reading about the astrological aspects (I did not ask whether Western or Indian astrology), and that Mars and Saturn (often called the “Great Malefics” in the Western tradition) are working together now and so on. Not sure whether she meant in conjunction, trine or opposition. Probably conjunction. According to her, the (UK) economy will tank until late 2021. It’s all in the stars…

bb-5bc8fd40837c7

More seriously, if few infected even have symptoms (as the recent Oxford study suggests), no-one would know that they had the virus. I am beginning to think that most people are in fact effectively immune (either actually immune or asymptomatic or showing very mild symptoms easily confused with other conditions). It may be that the true Coronavirus death rate is not 1 in 30 or 1 in 50, but 1 in 1000 or even 10,000. In the UK, so far, the actual death rate is 21 per 1 million of the whole population.

and…

Music to make the hours roll away…

8 thoughts on “Diary Blog, 30 March 2020”

  1. Just an observation of how the system is crumbling (on us). I had a most horrendous day. For about three days, my wife was feeling nauseous and tired. As the public hospitals in Argentina are in a very sorry condition, I decided to go to a private one. It turned out that she has dengue (brought by mosquitos) which is a serious condition. They recommended to keep her in observation as she was very weak and dehydrated.

    I found that the bastards ask for an upfront payment of 500.000 pesos (£ 6.300) out of which you will get a refund provided your wife did not need expensive tests or an extended stay. I sold on-line some dollars and got the money. When I went to pay they told me “Your card has been rejected” obviously because the amount was very high and I don’t have a Gold or VIP card. So I said: “OK, call the bank, and I will talk to them”. Sorry, banks are closed. (thanks to the lockdown imposed by the government) There is nothing we can do.

    That’s right, no banks, only bloody machines and automatic tellers, no one to talk to. No one to help you. When I began to complain about it, one of the employees had the cheek to tell me to calm down and not be rude. I lost it and told him he is a useless f… moron, like most public employees. Luckily my wife got a bit better after three hours on a drip, and she was allowed home. Yet, the situation is still serious.

    BTW I also contacted VISA (I am talking of a huge corporation), and I only got stupid, useless recorded messages giving me options that DID NOT work. Welcome to the sophisticated, high-tech world of big corporations! We are just ants, that’s all.

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    1. Claudius:
      Very sorry to hear that your wife has been unwell. By Grace of God, she will recover soon.

      This is not the collapse of our civilization, but perhaps gives us a small idea of what it might be and perhaps will be like. The great civilization of Rome slowly collapsed, and the “Dark Ages” and its later “Middle Ages” lasted for (arguably) a thousand years before any similar encompassing civilization developed in Europe.

      You may have seen this already:
      https://ianrmillard.wordpress.com/2019/01/26/the-tide-is-coming-in-reflections-on-the-possible-end-of-our-present-civilization-and-what-might-follow/

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      1. Thank you, Ian, for your kind words and good wishes.

        What I found about dengue is that basically is a nasty disease for which there is no treatment. Is a matter of luck you either recover or not. What doctors recommend is to drink lots of water and rest, which is not difficult as the disease makes you very lethargic.

        Something that I noticed yesterday and today in my travels to and from the hospital is the relaxed, amiable attitude of our policemen. They do not harass you as they do in England. In fact, they behave as always. Very strange, since the lockdown has been fairly strict here.

        I had already read your long, excellent post, and I did it again today. I had forgotten how horrible the Chernobyl affair was.

        Just a question: Are the people in England still bulk-buying food and toiletries? We haven’t experience that in here. God knows why.

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      2. Claudius:
        Thank you for *your* kind words also.

        As to UK police, most of them are OK, but there has been injected into the police a kind of politically-correct nonsense element, mainly over the past 2 decades. A kind of hysteria too. I might add that many Chief Constables (the police chiefs in most forces) are now women, often women whose experience (of policing at street level) is very limited.

        I have not been out for 2 days, and on Friday there was no obvious bulk-buying but previously whole sections of shelves were stripped bare. I think that the supermarkets are in top of it now. I was at the supermarket late, though. Few shoppers.

        THe panic buying was just that, mostly. People buying hundreds of loo paper packs, enough for years. I think the saturation point was reached. Those buyers now have full fridges, freezers, shelves.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to hear that the panic buying is over.

    I am sure that the police in the UK, like our police, has been subjected to a very strong indoctrination. Mind you, some Chief Constables are more strict or fanatical than others in that regard, that is why the police in Derbyshire is acting in such a shameful manner.

    Unfortunately, most policemen today in the sick Western world have become staunch defenders of the system, either through brainwashing or fear of losing their jobs. The situation in France with the “yellow vests” was a good example, although there were initially rumours that the police may join the protestors, nothing happened and the police brutally suppressed the people.

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    1. Claudius:
      I think that the panic buying is indeed over. Firstly because there comes a point when people have no more space to store anything. Most UK ppl live in fairly small dwellings. Then there is the point that not everyone can buy £1,000, £2,000 etc worth of food etc at once. Thirdly, psychology: now that shoppers see that the shelves are full every day, the panic ebbs. Not that *some* bulk buying is wrong, within reason. I suppose that my view is that, say, 20 packs of pasta at home = OK but 200 packs is not OK.

      ps https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8168489/Social-media-users-slam-wasteful-panic-buyers-throwing-away-perfectly-good-food.html

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  3. Sumption’s name has been coming up more also in connection with an article he wrote (Times? Telegraph?) opining the police were acting beyond their legal powers.
    Every day something new emerges showing this coronavirus ‘event’ has an anterior trail:

    https://www.foreigner.fi/articulo/news/germany-s-2012-covid-scenario-became-real/20200325014404004958.html

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/03/16/coro-m16.html

    And from “Infamous” Imperial College’s Report (Neil M. Ferguson) since rubbished by the Oxford computer guesswork:

    Click to access Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf

    “. . . . To avoid a rebound in transmission, these policies will need to be maintained until large stocks of vaccine are available to immunise the population – which could be 18 months or more. Adaptive hospital surveillance-based triggers for switching on and off population-wide social distancing and school closure offer greater robustness to uncertainty than fixed duration interventions and can be adapted for regional use (e.g. at the state level in the US). Given local epidemics are not perfectly synchronised, local policies are also more efficient and can achieve comparable levels of [—>]suppression to national policies[<—] while being in force for a slightly smaller proportion of the time. However, we estimate that for a national GB policy, social distancing would need to be in force for at least 2/3 of the time (for R0=2.4, see Table 4) until a vaccine was available. . . . "
    – page 15
    That's the sort of officialese laden, libido dominandi obsessed mindset that caused people like Douglas Reed and Nevil Shute to leave the country after WW2. The "Grey Ones" have landed!

    Like

    1. Wigger:
      Thank you. There is something not right about this whole thing. I was incredulous that, for days, weeks, we have been treated to daily “death toll is up on yesterday’s” TV reports. Now that it has (in UK) been reducing for 3 days in succession, nothing on TV news!

      It almost seems like a mad experiment: “how much can we **** the public around before they “just say no?”.

      Like

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