Momento Mori – Unpopular Thoughts on Corona Virus 673

I have always been very fond of this photo, for reasons which are perhaps obvious. We are left to right Celia, Stuart, Neil, Craig and throughout our childhood we really were that close and that happy. The reason that I post this now is that my mother always told me she was amazed how good we looked in the photo, because it was taken when we were all off school sick with Hong Kong flu.

The Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1968/9 was the last really serious flu pandemic to sweep the UK. They do seem extraordinarily regular – 1919, 1969 and 2020. Flu epidemics have much better punctuality than the trains (though I cheated a bit there and left out the 1958 “Asian flu”). Nowadays “Hong Kong flu” is known as H3N2. Estimates for deaths it caused worldwide vary from 1 to 4 million. In the UK it killed an estimated 80,000 people.

If the current coronavirus had appeared in 1968, it would simply have been called “flu”, probably “Wuhan flu”. COVID-19 may not be nowadays classified as such, but in my youth flu is definitely what we would have called it. The Hong Kong flu was very similar to the current outbreak in being extremely contagious but with a fairly low mortality rate. 30% of the UK population is estimated to have been infected in the Hong Kong flu pandemic. The death rate was about 0.5%, mostly elderly or with underlying health conditions.

But there was no massive panic, no second by second media hysteria, over Hong Kong flu. Let me start being unpopular. “Man in his 80’s already not very well from previous conditions, dies of flu” is not and should not be a news headline. The coverage is prurient, intrusive, unbalanced and designed to cause hysteria.

Consider this: 100% of those who contract coronavirus are going to die. 100% of those who do not contract coronavirus are also going to die. The difference in average life expectancy between the two groups will prove to be only very marginal. That is because the large majority of those who die of COVID-19 will already be nearing the end of life or have other health problems.

Let me make this important statement. I write as somebody whose heart and lungs are damaged and in poor condition, following the multiple bilateral pulmonary emboli which nearly killed me in 2004, which mysteriously appeared at precisely the time the UK and US governments were desperately trying to get rid of me as Ambassador, just a couple of weeks after I had been finally cleared of all the false charges with which the British government had attempted to fit me up. I was in a coma for days and subsequently given a maximum of three years to live (read Murder in Samarkand for the full story). If I get COVID-19 I expect I shall be fairly quickly gone off on my next adventure.

But I am OK with that. I have lived an incredibly full and satisfying life. I have no desire whatsoever to die – I have a wife and children I love deeply and I have important political battles I wish to fight. But human beings are not supposed to live forever and one day my time will come.

What worries me about the current reaction to coronavirus, is that it seems to reflect a belief that death is an aberration, rather than a part of the natural order of things. As the human species continues to expand massively in numbers, and as it continues casually to make other species extinct, it is inevitable that the excessive and crowded human population will become susceptible to disease.

As we see the catastrophic effects of human beings on the environment, including on other species and the climate, I am genuinely perplexed as to what are the underlying assumptions and goals of humankind. Do we really believe that medical science could and should eliminate all disease? There are numerous, well-funded medical scientists working very hard on research into the idea that ageing itself is a process that can be prevented. Because that is a notion very attractive to wealthy westerners, more money is being spent on preventing ageing than on fighting malaria and other tropical diseases. Where does this end? Do we really want a world – or at least a wealthy word – where everybody gets to be a centenarian? What are the effects of that on overall population, on demographics, economics and the allocation of finite resources including food and housing?

The mass hysteria around the current coronavirus is being driven by a societal rejection of the notion that the human species is part of the wider ecology, and that death and disease are unavoidable facts, with which it ought to be part of the human condition to come to terms. Let me offer a comforting thought to those of you who have bought into the hysteria. I have no doubt whatsoever that mortality rates from the coronavirus are being exaggerated. They are all based on extrapolation from those who have been tested, but there exists a very large population of people, worldwide, who have or have had the coronavirus, whose symptoms have been those of a cold or non-existent, who have not put themselves forward for testing. The Hong Kong flu had a mortality rate of 0.5% and I believe that ultimately COVID-19 will prove to be very similar. Just like flu once you get it, the only difference being it is more contagious so more people will get it.

Yes wash your hands, bin your tissues, keep things clean. Don’t hang around someone who has the flu. Take advantage of everything modern medicine can do to help you. But don’t be too shocked at the idea that some sick people die, especially if they are old. We are not Gods, we are mortal. We need to reconnect to that idea.

All human deaths are individual tragedies. I wish all solace and comfort to the grieving, and in no way wish to minimise the pain of individual loss of anybody of any age (I lost my own mother not long ago), or that even a small number of child deaths in particular will be dreadfully painful. My deepest and heartfelt condolences go to all the bereaved, and my warm regards go to all the sick and the worried. But the perspective of the wider place of human life in the cosmos is a help in grieving. The purpose of this blog remains not to shirk from saying what might be unpopular. I do hope people will start to consider COVID-19 in a more measured way.


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673 thoughts on “Momento Mori – Unpopular Thoughts on Corona Virus

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  • Roger

    I for one have not given up, and see plenty of life to experience ahead unlike this bloke. If it takes me out, at least I can go knowing that I have done everything possible to prevent it. That will bring comfort. Dying for no good reason does not seem like something good to dwell on during those last moments. The very fact that this old guy has been able to pen a coherent and interesting article without the effects of dementia or other old age related maladies demonstrates that even he has something left to contribute. Although in this case, I do not agree with his message.

    • Liz

      As in many things. The MSM stirs up the mass hysteria and the big pharma companies and the wealthy make money.

  • Mic Dixon

    Craig, thanks again – you, we, are not alone and our thoughts are probably not as ‘unpopular’ as you might think.

    I posted this on March 4th:-

    We just had a screening of War School cancelled because the host organisation are concerned about Coronavirus. With respect to them and an admission that I have no more qualification to comment on it than most everybody else here’s my reply:-

    This is the first direct effect of Coronavirus on me personally. I have taken the whole thing as seriously as I believe necessary – hand washing, especially when I travel to London, etc. But I don’t feel in any way threatened and do believe it will pass in a few weeks with very little real effect on people’s health. The problems are elsewhere.
    Anyway, after receiving your email I Googled and – OMG – what a jungle of mis/dis/non – information! Nobody will ever know what/who to believe ever again!

    I wonder, are the [Host Organisation] in quarantine? I would think there’s 100 times more threat in going shopping than in going to a cinema where you probably know the general health and hygiene of most of the audience anyway. So – threat level goes from mega-infinitesimal to just infinitesimal!

    It is serious though when we don’t have a government – the organisation meant to be responsible for out wellbeing – that we can trust.

  • Vivian O'Bliviion

    The American CDC rejected the notion of replicating the WHO approved Coronavirus test, in favour of developing its own test (resulting in a delayed launch date and continued lag in delivery). The CDC test is being billed at $1,200 (for those lucky enough to have sufficient insurance). In S. Korea testing is free if a prospective patient is running a temperature. If the subject is not running a temperature the test is billed at $120 (presumably this is an approximation of cost price). Some folks in America are going to make a whole pile of money out of the situation.
    Reliable figures for infection and mortality rates should arrive before the Presidential election. It will be interesting if there is an appreciable differential between mortality rates in countries where healthcare is allocated according to medical need and countries where healthcare is allocated according to private insurance cover.
    If America does experience heightened mortality rates to other industrialised countries, will this impact on the outcome of the election? I suspect not.

  • J Arther Nast

    “The mass hysteria around the current coronavirus is being driven by a societal rejection of the notion that the human species is part of the wider ecology, and that death and disease are unavoidable facts, with which it ought to be part of the human condition to come to terms”.

    Well Crag that’s one theory, buy what about all the other stuff that’s going on, reaction to globalism, extinction, and all the other concerns. This corona virus is a seed falling on to fertile soil in more ways than one,

    • James Cook

      The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began or The Swerve: How the World Became Modern: Stephan Greenblatt tells the story of how Poggio Bracciolini, a 15th-century papal emissary and obsessive book hunter, saved the last copy of the Roman poet Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things from near-terminal neglect in a German monastery.

      I am with you Craig……………….. Reading Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things will set you free!

  • Mary

    206 cases of Covid19 now, up by 43 today. There are 5 new cases in Scotland – Lanarkshire, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lothian and Grampian.

    • Magic Robot

      Me: “I have a bit of a cough, and feel dizzy sometimes – do I have the ‘virus?'”

      MSM reporter: “Yes! Hey, Editor, we’ve got another SUSPECTED case! Add that one to tomorrows headline”

      Me: “So it’s not the beer and cigs, then?”

      MSM reporter: (puts ‘phone down – quick.)

      Moral – ‘Never let the facts get in the way of a good story – especially when government and big pharma can benefit.’

  • Stevie Boy

    With all the (politically motivated ?) hype, I had a look at the official mortality figures for our annual common flu.
    Over the last five years the average death rate is 17,000 per year in England, with a high of 28,000 and low of 1,600 !!!
    Apparently, we happily live with these large death rates without the “The worlds going to end” hyperbole. People go about their business, going to work, travelling and all the normal trappings of daily life.
    What is it with this Corona virus tosh ? What’s going on, who’s benefiting ? Is it part of the China propaganda ?
    Utter madness.

    • Clark

      The raw middling estimates are 60% of population gets infected overall, 3.4% overall mortality rate, 67 million UK population.

      0.6 x 0.034 x 67,000,000 = 1,366,800

      However, if too many people get ill at the same time, hospitals overload and the mortality rate can exceed 20%:

      0.6 x 0.2 x 67,000,000 = 8,040,000

      That’s what all the fuss is about.

      • Stevie Boy

        Two things:
        – Estimates.
        – Assumption that nothing is done.
        I ain’t gonna worry, please feel free to go into headless chicken mode on my behalf.

        • Mishko

          -How dare you
          -People are dying
          -Weak immune systems are collapsing
          (Is young Greta mature enough not to celebrate these good tidings?)

    • Roger

      You miss the point of the science as we know it. A the current rate, this virus will infect approximately 70-80 percent of the world population. Multiply that by .03 or so and how many millions are dead. This is not the flu.

      • Stevie Boy

        True it’s not the flu, that will kill more each year, and this year, than this strain.
        We all die, the planet is overpopulated, it’s not all bad news !

      • Tom Welsh

        Anyone who speaks about “the science” immediately loses credibility. People who know what they are talking about just say “science”.

        Rather like “a nonsense”, whereas simply “nonsense” is correct.

        As for “At the current rate…”, that is a real red flag. Scientists, and many educated non-scientists, understand that rates tend to change. At the current rate of world population growth (1.05% per annum) there will be about 15.4 billion people in 2090 and 30.8 billion in 2160.

        When I was born I was two feet tall; a year later I was three feet tall. At that rate of change, I would now be 72 feet tall, which would make it very hard to find suitable housing, cars, clothes, etc.

        But at least it would keep me well away from people who babble about “the science” and “the current rate”.

  • Fleur

    Very sensible – and thoughtful – commentary on the latest flu episode Craig. Thanks.

    Your ruminations on the desire for, and even a belief in, the possibility of achieving immortality (or at least a very long life) are also timely, as these drive pivotal sections of the policy making and system creating sectors. Julian Assange has spoken about the belief – prevalent in Silicon Valley – that a world will soon be created where we can ‘upload our brains’ to the cloud, and so live on forever in whatever fantasy world appeals.

    In the meantime, we live in bodies increasingly beset by toxic pollutants from chemical additives in water, BigAg food, polluted air, over prescribed drugs, radiation from our proliferating cellphones & wifi devices, and by stress generated by our loud, over-lit environment and mean, abusive work environments / economic system.Despite this, many people would rather panic over a virus than question the factors making us (and our children and seniors) so susceptible to such viruses.

    I too have a lung condition, and have also experienced several very close brushes with death due to other factors (such as a recent, brutal home invasion). I also have experienced the deaths of many of the people close to me – people of all ages, from a range of factors. I suspect that those experiences make people much less afraid of death, and so much less likely to share the current panic, or to share the very common illusion that we can live forever – if we just spend enough on “research” and have enough superfoods, expensive drugs (and vax). In my view we would all be better off concentrating on making our lives MEAN something while we have them (as Julian has done) than on obsessing over the latest media-driven “threat to security” propaganda – be that about a virus or something else.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Julian Assange has spoken about the belief – prevalent in Silicon Valley – that a world will soon be created where we can ‘upload our brains’ to the cloud, and so live on forever in whatever fantasy world appeals”.

      Judging by the standard of debate and argument on the Web nowadays, there actually are a lot of people whose minds could easily be accommodated in a few gigabytes of RAM.

      • SA

        “so live on forever”
        Have you factored in the fact that the universe may itself end one day?

        • RogerDodger

          Or that someone might turn off the servers. What reason would they have to keep them on?

          • Bayard

            “What reason would they have to keep them on?”
            Money. It will be the C21st equivalent of the C19th threat “if you don’t keep paying us, we will bury somebody else in your ancestor’s plot and use their gravestone for paving”.

        • Tom Welsh

          Please note that the phrase you cite was part of the text I quoted. So your comment would have been more appropriately a reply to Fleur. Although even she referred to it ironically.

          Anyone who wants to read serious SF treatments of those ideas might start with Charles Platt’s “The Silicon Man” (1991), a good adventure story which considers some of the possible implications of living in a virtual world. (Assuming it to be technically possible, which it isn’t and won’t be for a long time – if ever).

          Greg Egan’s “Permutation City” (1994) is a slightly more rigorous account, as befits an author who is a mathematician and programmer.

  • Sue

    This is a vey well written and thought provoking opinion piece. However, in this case, I do believ death and getting in infected, are both avoidable. And because few humans chose to be irresponsible with their choices, we now have a pandemic. People all around the world are on edge. Its not ok that millions of people died in the past pandemics, and if there was enough information back then, those numbers would have been small. Young parents with little children ear death a lot more than older parents, for obvious reasons. So, it’s great if one doesn’t buy into the hysteria, but it’s the opposite if such a person becomes the cause for say, spreading the virus in a school!

    • Magic Robot

      “chose to be irresponsible with their choices, we now have a pandemic.”
      “great if one doesn’t buy into the hysteria, but it’s the opposite if such a person becomes the cause for say, spreading the virus”

      Rely on newspaper, radio and TV warnings; buy into the hysteria; buy masks, wear them at all times in public, wash hands when entering the shops to buy your food, use cards not cash to pay, remain indoors until told otherwise, etc. OR ELSE! – Welcome to the new world of the ‘virus police.’

      • glenn_uk

        @”Magic Robot”:

        Don’t you think you’re being rather irresponsible, aggressively telling everyone there’s nothing to worry about, when it’s quite clear you don’t have the least freaking idea what you’re talking about?

        • Magic Robot

          Okay – ‘there is everything to worry about, you’re all going to die, horribly! Listen to me, Glenn, who although I have not managed to compose even a coherent ramble to the irresponsible Robot’s previous post, containing links to much cleverer folk than that aggressive Robot, beg that you hang on to the MSM’s every word and OBEY them!”

          • glenn_uk

            You say that as a quote, even though I have said absolutely nothing of the kind.

            When you misrepresent and lie right there, where everyone can see, it becomes rather tough to accept you as a credible commentator.

          • Magic Robot

            “I have said absolutely nothing of the kind.”
            Er, yes, you have, and I quote:
            “irresponsible” and “aggressively”, from your post.

            And, you don’t do irony, do you? You may note that the mock ‘quote’ is attributed to ‘Okay’ before it begins. The character naming himself in the ‘quote’, well, you believe that is you? Should we believe, unquestioningly, all the media tell us and chicken little as well, or should we use the internet and find consistency?

        • Mishko

          Should we accept the narrative as it stands? Do we need to?
          I hesitateand am doubtful: the MSM does not serve the interest of the general population.
          A virus and its definition, contagion as a concept:
          The Micro-Space Hoax Do Viruses Even Exist – by Salem Saberhagen (YouTube):

  • Alyson

    The priority is slowing the spread of the disease. In time most of us will get it, whether it is so mild we barely know it, or if we are very badly affected, and in need of medical assistance. The one thing I recall from the Hong Kong flu in 1968 was that when I went home from school ill there were already 3 children out of my class off school. When I came back to school 10 days later there were only 12 children out of 120 in my year actually in school, and a skeleton staff of teachers, teaching all of us together. If all the doctors and nurses are ill at the same time it will be a problem. Doctors are super spreaders because they touch many people, some of whom may already be unwell and vulnerable to the worst outcome, so when they are ill they must be closely monitored. Once they are better they will be invaluable to the rest of us.

  • Weechid

    Thank you Craig, for being a voice of reason. I was just asking if this was any worse than other flu epidemic or if, for some reason, it was being made to seem so. I’ve also been wondering why they gave it another name rather than “flu”. Is it just to make it sound more “scary” because most people don’t understand that flu is more than just a bad cold? As far as I know I am healthy and have very little to fear from this latest flu. I do look after a relative with COPD and I’m concerned for him – in the same way that I’m concerned for him every winter as I know flu could kill him. The hysteria is driving me up the wall so it’s good to see that some are remaining calm. The best of health to you, sir.

    • R. Lewis

      This is NOT a flu and it will harm young people and health workers, even if many will have mild illness. See my comment to Mr Murray.

  • Mark Russell

    I sincerely hope the virus outbreak isn’t as dire as predicted, but like you, peccavi, peccabo, *as we see the catastrophic effects of human beings on the environment, including on other species and the climate*, it makes one wonder if it really is a catastrophe if predictions are accurate or underestimated..

    Nature’s schadenfreude – our comeuppance. If it were to be a natural evolutionary pathogen – but even if proves the stuff of nightmares and the deliberate release of an engineered virus – would it be a “bad thing” if 99% of humanity was culled?

    This feels like the final scenes in “On the Beach” with Gregory Peck. At least they still had loo paper at the end…

  • Jan Pietrasik

    We in the Western imperialist nations don’t like the idea of death but have no qualms about delivering death and disease to weaker nations we sanction, bomb, invade, occupy especially when modern warfare means there is very little risk to ourselves. Millions have died and continue to die across MENA, many of them children in our never ending wars for resources and geopolitical advantage sold as ‘humanitarian intervention.’

    • R. Lewis

      Yes, precisely. We will lose the battle against COVID-19 because Europe and the US will wake up too late. Nairobi has a new 100 bed isolation unit built and ready to go before their first case but this won’t be possible all over the developing world. So once again Europe will export death and economic damage this time through inaction.

  • Dr Ival

    Decay and Renewal

    Empty the self completely;
    Embrace perfect peace.
    The world will rise and move;
    Watch it return to rest.
    All the flourishing things
    Will return to their source.
    This return is peaceful;
    It is the flow of nature,
    An eternal decay and renewal.
    Accepting this brings enlightenment,
    Ignoring this brings misery.
    Who accepts nature’s flow becomes all-cherishing;
    Being all-cherishing he becomes impartial;
    Being impartial he becomes magnanimous;
    Being magnanimous he becomes natural;
    Being natural he becomes one with the Way;
    Being one with the Way he becomes immortal:
    Though his body will decay, the Way will not.
    — Lao Tse, “Tao Te Ching”

  • glenn_uk

    What Refutes Science ;
    – Better science

    What Doesn’t Refute Science :
    – Your feelings
    – Your religion
    – Your favourite politician
    – Your half-baked opinion after watching two YouTube videos

    • glenn_uk

      Perhaps you should head on down to Wuhan, and inform them there’s nothing to worry about – it’s just a common cold.

      Maybe your expertise would be welcomed by the health authorities too. Have you informed them?

      • Ottomanboi

        The common cold may kill too if the virus finds a suitable host.
        Wuhan is a heavily polluted city region.
        Respiratory complications caused by that environment may be significant.
        Have you been to Delhi? Try it! Not pleasant even for those who consider themselves young and healthy.
        I know what i’m talking about, doubt you do.

        • glenn_uk

          Is Northern Italy heavily polluted? Was the Diamond Princess – lots of smog on board, perhaps?

          • glenn_uk

            I went to hospital with a “suspected” broken ankle once. Turns out I was right!

            What’s your point, exactly? That unless someone is confirmed before even being tested they’re faking it?

            Let me see if I have this straight. In Wuhan it’s all down to smog. When there is no smog, it’s just down to malingering, and everything else is all lies – is that your story?

          • Magic Robot


            The point is, that until it IS confirmed, it could be anything: pollution, lung infection, ‘regular flu’.. well anything, but the media plaster it all over the world as if it HAS been confirmed. This surely, is irresponsible.

            I cannot help with your hysteria.

          • glenn_uk

            Sure, MR, but here’s the thing – there ARE confirmed cases. Lots and lots of them, every day.

            I’m sorry that the facts don’t actually fit into your silly conspiracy theory.

          • Tom Welsh

            Befoe asking rhetorical questions, it is a good idea to ascertain the answers.

            “Air Pollution in Italy: Health Hazards to Be Aware Of”

            “Air pollution is a huge problem in Italy. A report in 2018 showed that air quality levels were a red alert for Italy. Way back in early 2011, officials reported that pollution in Italy was reaching crisis levels. What’s particularly troublesome is particle pollution that pervades Italy, and accounts for breathing and heart problems, causing a whopping 9% of deaths of Italians over the age of 30.

            “When you visit Italy, you will see why there is so much smog and fog: heavy traffic in tiny areas. Officials sometimes order drivers to leave the car at home on alternate days to avoid too much pollution in the air.

            “In Northern Italy, including big cities like Milan and Turin, has some of the worst pollution in all of Europe. In December 2017, both cities introduced traffic restrictions to try and reduce the impact of smog and air pollution”.

          • glenn_pt

            Tom : You think pollution accounts for the fact that all these cases in Italy are positive, confirmed victims of coronavirus?

  • Frances Kay

    Thank you, Craig. Your measured words should be heard by a wider readership, but when did good sense ever sell papers? Like you, I had bilateral pulmonary emboli as a result of a spinal cord operation to remove a tumour [that couldn’t be removed]. So I’d say I am in the vulnerable category. Like you, I dearly love my family and friends, and like you, I am in the final years of a life I have enjoyed to the hilt. I hope we both survive this.

  • Rosamund Lewis

    Dear Mr Murray,
    It is a lovely photo, and I admire and even agree with the foundations of your sentiment. Only think of this please. This is NOT the flu (influenza). It is a NEW coronavirus (not one of the four types that cause the common cold). It will kill younger people in smaller numbers, as younger healthier people take longer to die from the specific type of pneumonia that COVID-19 causes, several weeks in fact. By then it may be too late to stop the tsunami of cases in all age groups and block hospital facilities for months to come.
    Also this is NOT the flu because it IS in fact containable. Each and every case poses the necessary challenge of contact-tracing and quarantine. China has turned the tide, and without the action that country took, would have seen several hundreds of thousands of cases at least. Singapore is doing the same. European countries are not, thereby putting all populations around the glob at even greater risk, as they may not have the health care resources we have. As you quietly point out, you may not live to see the damage done.
    There are many knowledgeable science based people who can share the information countries need to respond promptly and thoroughly to ‘save’ not only our parents and grandparents (yes we still love you though sadly my own are already gone) but also our sisters, brothers and children with diabetes, asthma or other conditions. Please follow @WHO for daily detailed updates. Follow me @PeopleDocGeneva for simple messages based on the facts.

  • Ort

    The coverage is prurient, intrusive, unbalanced and designed to cause hysteria.

    Just so. Thanks for this eminently sane perspective.

    Without duplicating your detailed survey, here in the US the news has become “all coronavirus all the time”, although of course the political equivalent of the professional-wrestling elimination tour, aka the 2020 presidential campaign, is still featured when hysteria permits.

    I’ve even gotten unsolicited e-mails from healthcare providers touting their responses to the ostensible crisis. I don’t know what the responses are, because I haven’t read them and feel no compelling need to do so. I realize that Normals, as I call them, are distressed and panicky, and may cling to such dross as if they are life preservers.

    I appreciate that much of the news coverage is presented as altruistic public service. In the US, local mass-media “news” venues thickly lay on this altruistic, parental mode; there is considerable “news you, the consumer, can use” creep. Thus, one sees articles such as “Ten Tips for Not Touching Your Face”, or even “How to make your own ‘hand sanitizer’ at home”– the latter because panic buying have exhausted the supply of manufactured hand sanitizers.

    Perhaps the would-be “cure” isn’t really worse than the disease, but as you note the mass-media publicity is pernicious and debilitating. Thanks again.

  • Ottomanboi

    Shouldn’t that be mEmento mori? mOmento is a common error in our increasingly barbaric western culture. Latin? what’s that for?

  • Hugh Chubb-Tyke

    I’m afraid that there are some seriously deluded individuals commenting on this thread (and elsewhere).

    As I write this, the “official” figures for “closed cases” (i.e. those individuals who have contracted the virus and either survived or died) indicate a death rate of 6% (58,625 recovered, 3,567 died), while those for “active cases” (i.e. where the outcome is still not determined) the death rate could be as high as 16% (37,492 in mild condition, 6,234 in serious/critical condition) (

    If it turns out that someone in early February was periodically releasing the real Chinese infection/death rates ( then they would indicate that this 16% death rate is nearer the mark.

    A 16% death rate is 160 times the ‘flu death rate. Still think that there is nothing to worry about?

    • Tom Welsh

      Those figures do not include the (no doubt large) numbers of people who were infected, may or may not have experienced mild symptoms, but never contacted the authorities or were tested.

      • Hugh Chubb-Tyke

        A confirmed death rate is a confirmed death rate, which is by no means the same as an “official” death rate. The “official” death rate seems to vary between 1% and 3.4% (the latter the now 4-day-old WHO figure). A lot of people seem to think that denying reality makes them more “mature” than those “panicking” (the epithet “panicking” representing an interesting mirroring of the “Brexit effect” whereby those who supported remaining in the globalist EU felt themselves intellectually/morally superior to those desiring an independent country – much like Scottish nationalists, hey, but who would dare call the latter neo-fascist/racist/xenophobic on this blog?).

  • Tom74

    Still, at least the Tories have ended ‘the uncertainty’, everyone is enjoying the fruits of Boris’s Brexit bounce, and we’re ‘all’ living longer.
    Oh, wait…
    The coronavirus looks very like a hyped up ‘black swan’ to hide the political and financial elite’s greed and incompetence.

    • Bayard

      “How can posters here pretend it’s all hype and BS, and some conspiracy to [fill in the blank] ?”
      Just because it isn’t all hype and BS, doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of hype and BS going around. Just look at how many of the news items contain forecasts, estimates, extrapolations, the words might, may and could?

      • Jack


        Why focus on the noise when there are actual cases, actual rising numbers of people infected with the virus?

    • Jack

      And here are the soaring numbers in Italy,
      There is no reason, as you rightly point out, to dismiss this, we are only in the start too so this will likely get real big coming 6-12 months ahead of us.

      The government in the EU seems extremely passive, this this image:
      No EU state have for banned travels altogether to/from Italy (UK have taken some measures on the other hand).
      What is this about? The income of airline companies is more important than curbing a deadly virus?!

  • squirrel

    I remember this all changing.

    The difference was the advent of flu vaccination.

    It’s big business.

  • michael norton

    Iran has confirmed almost 6,000 coronavirus infections and 145 deaths as the number of cases worldwide passed 100,000, officials say.

    I think this will turn in to the defining crisis of our age.
    A tsunami of events are coalescing.
    Coronavirus, lack of representative democracy, the MIC, Global Warming, air pollution and too many people alive at the same time.
    The world economy is currently taking a nose – dive.
    It is my intuition, this is a man-made pandemic.
    The Level four lab in Wuhan is less than 300 metres from the wet market in Wuhan,
    that would be some coincidence.
    There is only one level four lab in China.
    In Tibet there has, so far, only been one victim of coronavirus, yet in he area around Wuhan, there has been reported 80,000 victims.
    As the Americans say, go figure.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Iran has confirmed almost 6,000 coronavirus infections and 145 deaths as the number of cases worldwide passed 100,000, officials say”.

      Meanwhile, 70 times as many have already died of the common flu in the USA alone this winter. Somewinters see many times that number of flu deaths.

  • Ken Garoo

    Over 3400 Americans died (out of > 27,000 hospitalized from >115,000 cases) in the 2009 flu outbreak that began in Mexico/Texas. I do not remember the same level of hysteria and opprobium heaped on the US as the western MSM has heaped on China.

  • Alasdair Macdonald

    It is possible that the Covid-19 hype is to create an atmosphere, whereby the Government can pass ’emergency legislation’ to enable it to curtail human rights for the ostensibly plausible reason that it is needed ‘for the common good’. However, it is likely that such legislation would not contain a time-limitation which would automatically trigger its ending, but once the ‘crisis’ had passed would remain on the statute book and could be used by authorities making a mendacious case that there was an emergency.

    “Memento mori” – this puts the brouhaha into context. Thank you, Mr Murray.

    • glenn_pt

      In all countries where it has shown up, simultaneously, when the same governments won’t agree on the time of day? No. That would be a stupid suggestion, with all due respect.

    • squirrel

      I think such legislation already exists in the USA which is already a police state de jure. This could be a trial run to see how the population reacts or as you say create a necessary mood.

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