Covid Journal, March 27, 2020 (Donald Trump, or ‘Uncle Sham’) Edition
I suppose I’d better not do anything to offend Uncle Sham, aka Donald Trump, as he sends US troops to the Canadian border (BTW, this has been confirmed by Chrystia Freeland as untrue).
What an arse for even entertaining the idea for a heartbeat. We are partners in this and it’s embarrassing to his legacy that he’s doing something some profoundly antagonistic.
Before it got called off, was Canada going to be the next Crimea or should we just laugh at how absurd this situation has become?
Politicians are being courted by scientists…scientists who want to be important to get money for their institutions. Scientists who just swim along in the mainstream and want their part of it […] And what is missing right now is a rational way of looking at things.
We should be asking questions like “How did you find out this virus was dangerous?”, “How was it before?”, “Didn’t we have the same thing last year?”, “Is it even something new?”
Is COVID-19 a global crisis? Certainly for people who can’t add.
… I pay close attention to the daily situation reports issued by the World Health Organization, particularly the new cases and the new deaths. I pay no attention to the various pundits and talking heads, because they are always wrong.
The information in the WHO reports is not perfect for many reasons, some technical and some political. Deaths are a more reliable measure, but deaths lag weeks behind the real outbreak. However, WHO is the best information we have, and it’s getting more complete and more reliable. And, as was the case with SARS, it paints a compelling picture.
The WHO started issuing daily situation reports on Jan. 21, six weeks ago. Initially, the numbers matched the perceptions: The new cases and new deaths, almost all from Hubei province, increased rapidly. Then, in the first week in February, the rate of new cases peaked at 4,083. Deaths peaked on Feb. 13, at 254. Then the number of daily cases dropped down quickly toward the end of February.
That’s because the Hubei outbreak peaked in late January. Indeed, it’s almost over.
Around the beginning of March, the number of new cases rose again because of outbreaks in South Korea, Italy and Iran. These outbreaks are smaller than the one that happened in Hubei. For the past week, the daily statistics have averaged fewer than 3,000 new cases and about 100 deaths worldwide.
Over the past month, the geography of COVID-19 has changed, but the global numbers have, if anything, become smaller. By the numbers, this is The Incredible Shrinking Pandemic.
But we also need to be sensible. Quarantine belongs back in the Middle Ages. Save your masks for robbing banks. Stay calm and carry on. Let’s not make our attempted cures worse than the disease.