Plague

image from The Times

As you already know, here in Italy we are in quarantine as Coronavirus seems to prefer our land to any other country in Europe. How could it be otherwise after all? We have been enjoying the most incredible winter ever, more like spring than winter, trees are already sprouting, why should the virus head to some more uncomfortable place? In the meanwhile from North to South we are panicking. Supermarket have been assaulted to stock up on food, drinks, masks and above all bottles of Amuchina (Purell), which currently cost more than white truffle. Some schools in the North have been closed as a precautionary measure, school trips forbidden and worst of all, there is the most serious danger that football games might be played behind closed door, right this year that my team S.S.Lazio is that close to win the League (after 20 years).

But when I come across such articles as the following one, I cannot but change the tone of my words:

In the European Union, which prides itself on its open borders among member nations, new cases were recorded in Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Spain and Switzerland. Most were tied to Italy, where the authorities have been struggling to contain an outbreak that has infected at least 325 people, most of them in the north near Milan. ( The New York Times)

Hence, open borders are the problem according to the New York Times. I don’t know why we have become the epidemic centre, but one thing I can say for sure, it’s not because of open borders. People have always moved carrying in the lands they visited their kit of bacteria and viruses with the consequences everybody knows and they’ll keep moving with or without borders. It’s not because of immigration from North Africa too, as the virus comes straight from the civilized, rich and sovereigntist North. But what makes Coronavirus so dangerous to cause such a nervous breakdown in all the country? As far as I can see: mass media.

As you can imagine, we are flooded by updates, interviews to epidemiologists and commentators of any kind, thousands of fake news. Everybody seems to master the topic and has something to say about, but, eventually, the only result is that of increasing a sense of general insecurity generating panick, whose consequences, it’s not unlikely, might lead to an economic recession. And for what? Coronavirus is nothing but a flu. In Italy, which is currently the third country in the world for number of cases, 378 people have been infected and 12 have died. These latter, to be precise, were old and have not died for the virus itself, but for the serious pathologies they had been affected before, which had weakened their immune system. These are the facts plain and simple. Of course, we must take precautions and follow the health protocol, which is exactly the same for any other seasonal flu. Once again, we have another proof of how the excess of information cannot but generate misinformation, ignorance and pointless fear.

35 thoughts on “Plague

  1. I hear you! The media is just driving us nuts in America, too. To make it even worse, all sorts of fake news is also flying around. I don’t want us to pretend this is nothing, but for goodness sakes, the mortality rate is actually quite low, meaning most people recover. Its a flu.

    • The issues about Coronavirus are two : there is no specific cure and how the disease spreads. There is a number, different for each disease, which is called “R-nought” which indicates how many people, on average, each infected individual infects: if that figure is less than 1, the spread stops by itself. Coronavirus is 2.5.

  2. A few years ago, here in the US, we had 80,000 people die because of flu or flu-related complications . . . but most people don’t know about it. For the current flu season, these are the estimates:

    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-estimates.htm

    Again, few people know the numbers (although newscasters are reporting them more and more). By any measure, people should be more worried about the flu than the coronavirus . . . except . . .

    It’s still early to know how virulent or deadly the current coronavirus is, but because of what appears to be a long incubation period, it’s likely many people will be exposed. That means that even a low mortality rate could mean many, many people die. The problem is that symptoms and mortality vary greatly. Some people might have the virus and not even know it.

    I do think the media is sensationalizing the problem, but on the other side, you’ll likely hear The Big Orange One tonight try to downplay or minimize the threat (he’s unhappy that the market is down because it hurts his chances of re-election).

    We can and should learn a lesson from the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 (which wasn’t from Spain in the first place). That lesson *might* be that it’s better to exaggerate the threat than to downplay it. In 1918, here in the US and other countries, the government decided to withhold information on the severity of the problem and thus contributed to its spread and many people dying. They did so for political reasons.

    The current responses are also affected by political reasons . . . but, personally, I rather that people be a little scared and take precautions rather than complacent. That said, at least right now, we’re much more likely to die from contracting influenza than the latest coronavirus.

    That might change. One of the concerns is that once in humans, the virus could adapt and mutate to be far deadlier.

    Now, I agree that at this point in history, it’s impractical to even hope we can stop the spread.

    And, that’s not because of immigration.

    It’s because of ignorance (people don’t take precautions and don’t give a crap about others) and because humans are more mobile and over longer distances than at any time in history. Even discounting leisure travel, just business travel alone, has thousands and thousands of people moving from place to place and flying hither and fro.

    I predict the virus has already spread all over the world, and now it’s just a matter of time to see how bad it will get.

    I’ve been on cruise ships, planes, and even public places and I’ve observed the behavior of both healthy and sick people even when they know there is a risk of infection . . . it’s the “it can’t happen to me” syndrome; they don’t wash their hands, they cough without concern, and basically are inviting viruses to come hither.

    I won’t panic, but I sure as heck am not trusting my fellow humans to be smart about this.

    • Potentially this flu is more dangerous than the Spanish flu as the “R-nought” factor, that is the number associated to any disease which indicates how many people each infected individual infects is 2.5 , while the Spanish flu was 2.1. Measles is 15, but there is a vaccine.
      For what you say about humankind, well, you are my brother. šŸ˜¬

    • I didn’t think they’d settled on the R-nought value yet because I thought there is some question as to the incubation period.

      Initial quarantine periods were 14 days but some are saying it might be as long as 25 days. Meaning, the latent infectious state variable can affect the calculation of R-nought (increasing it).

      Here’s an article from the end of January:
      https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/scientists-zero-in-on-the-novel-coronavirus-incubation-period–67045

      Some sources are now quoting values of 4.0 to 6.6 (which means pretty much everyone on Earth). Scary stuff, but I’m sure humanity will react in a calm and rational way as they’ve done with most challenges.

      To be fair, early calculations of R-nought are affected by a number of things that have nothing to do with actual infection rate. We’ll know more in a few months.

      • We learn about this virus day by day ( and this is scary). Today we have known that this virus is subjected to recidivism as it has been reported that a woman in China has been infected twice.

      • I thought there was one other case like it (repeat infection). It could be like some other viruses that once you have them, you’re subject to relapses. Herpes, HIV, other viruses behave in a similar way. You don’t get rid of them; they just go dormant. That is bad news indeed until we find effective control.

        However, testing has been sporadic in its accuracy. We’ll eventually know more.

        But, yes, so far the news has been all bad. Perhaps after this, they will get rid of live animal markets.

      • Oops, I replied to the wrong comment. Anyway, stay safe.

        People talk about a shortage of masks, but forget what bandits and cowboys have known for a long time: you can use a large handkerchief to mask both nose and mouths.

        Politicians use them to also mask ears and eyes, shielding them from bouts of common sense for years now.

  3. I couldn’t agree more with your argument based on what I have read about it. It’s already killing the world economy because of how many deaths? Compared to deaths by regular flu? The hysteria it’s generating doesn’t seem to align proportionally with the threat. The affect it’s going to have on the world economy is bound to indirectly cause more deaths because of hardship, stress and poverty. As you implied that’s not to insinuate that reasonable precautions shouldn’t be implemented, however the mass hysteria this is creating doesn’t seem to be doing anyone any good especially the precarious world economy.

      • No doubt. I don’t think people would travel anyway except for obligatory work reasons. Do you think the flight restrictions are an over reaction? The Australian economy which affects me directly is taking a big hit and I forsee it only getting far worse.

  4. Dr. Francis Boyle,, expert on the matter, believes it to be man-made, a bioweapon. With such production, the scientists would make a vaccination, and what do you think happened? A vaccine, Moderna, has appeared for testing. On it goes with DNA tampering, reinfection, and 5G, 60 kHz intrusion into our well-being. As Arnold might say, “Read me now, believe me later.” I hope I am wrong. As rulers grow in power, morbid psychopathiopy abounds.

    • Yes, Boyle has impressive medical credentials . . . not. Also, he’s quoting people who are a couple of structural beams shy of a solid foundation.

      No, I don’t know for sure, but it’s a bit like claims about this or that god; show me some proof. Until then, I’ll assume people are talking out of their posterior orifices for whatever reason that benefits them.

      Because, you know, so far, I’ve heard it’s a CIA plot to hurt China, that it’s a Chinese plot to hurt the US, that it’s an Israeli plot, that it’s a Saudi plot, that Germany is involved, and, of course, that Bill Gates funded it and is behind it all . . . I’m surprised I haven’t heard from the UFO and Big Foot crowds.

      The only thing I know that’s been weaponized is stupidity; weaponized and infecting populations world-wide. But, in all fairness to the Chinese and Bill Gates, that’s been going on for centuries.

  5. There may be more here than we know. paulcraigroberts.org, Feb 29, 2020, especially his referenced Jon Rappoport and Dana Ashlie blogs. Dean Koontz, 1981, “Eyes of Darkness” is about this problem taking place in Wuhan.

    • We still don’t know why Italy has become the centre of this “plague” in Europe. 1.128 infected people and 50 have died so far and it seems that the virus is right at the doors of Rome.
      P.S. To minor matters, there are two more episodes of Montalbano. The first one will be on RAI 1 on March 9th. šŸ˜·šŸ™‹

  6. People have been panic-buying in the UK, because the media keep showing pictures of people panic-buying ā€¦ and then you start thinking that you want to be sensible, but you don’t want to be the one who’s left without essentials when everything’s been bought up, so you start doing it too! And why do the TV channels keep sending reporters to stand outside hospitals where the worst-affected coronavirus victims are being treated – how silly is that?! All best wishes to you and everyone else in Italy at this horrible time.

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