Momento Mori – Unpopular Thoughts on Corona Virus 672


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

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  • Spike

    It looks like if you took all the factors affecting the statistics of this disease — including the unique and unprecedented — it would probably be no more dangerous than the typical yearly flu. The flu is a dangerous disease, and more should perhaps routinely be done in the future to help stop its spread, but in any case what is unfolding now is a frantic mess of which the virus itself is only a minor player.

    China takes its emerging role in world leadership seriously, and it did not want to be seen as being the slightest bit lax in attempting to prevent the spread of a disease that originated within its borders. Appropriate behavior — perhaps — for a country that did not want the condemnation of the world upon its shoulders, but insane anywhere else. And yet we see it being emulated wherever the disease has spread in any numbers. Public health officials and consulted medical experts in academia are terrified of underreacting. Not only would there be a huge human cost, but their heads would be in a noose. So they call for unprecedented measures. And the media has been terrible. Article after article on the wire services — I don’t follow television so I can only imagine what’s happening there — that play up headlines and de-emphasize information that would mitigate panic appear every day.

    • David

      I think Craig is spot on with his main point. I disagree that this flu is no more dangerous than regular flu though. My estimate is something like between two and five times more dangerous. Definitely not twenty to thirty times more dangerous though.

      I also wonder if the panic is deliberate. Our deep state friends are more than capable of managing the narrative in both the MSM and manipulating alternative news sites as well.

      I’m a bit worried by Putin’s move on the oil price though. I hope he hasn’t provoked another war. I could easily see the US attacking Iran or Venzuela to get the oil price back up to keep the shale fields in business :-(.

  • vassos kurolessos

    Have no fear
    When Irn Bru is near.
    It is well documented how Irn Bru apparently helped beat ebola
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/ebola/11369755/Can-Irn-Bru-really-cure-Ebola.html

    there is no reason to think that it won’t be as effective against covid.
    Even if it fails, theres even heavier artillery – the lagavulin
    To beat covid, best consumed as a lagavulin irn bru fizz, to wit, 1/3 lagavulin topped with 2/3 irn bru in an ice filled high ball.

  • Paul Barbara

    Well, I don’t know what anyone’s worried about; everything is under control, quoth Blo Jo:
    ‘Boris Johnson Says UK Ready For Coronavirus, ‘army Could Step In If Things Get Worse’:
    https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/uk-news/boris-johnson-says-uk-ready-for-coronavirus-army-could-step-in.html
    Luckily the army has just received the new-fangled Lysol-tipped bullets.
    But on the other hand (as Chaim Bermant used to say):
    ‘How busy is YOUR hospital? Figures reveal the NHS trusts where more than 99% of overnight beds were FULL this summer (including one in London with NO free space)’:
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7715127/Figures-reveal-NHS-trusts-99-overnight-beds-summer.html
    And that’s in the summer!

  • Gary

    As with anything, we should take all possible precautions. When we do have a vaccine then we should distribute it as we do for the seasonal ‘flu. But I am minded of the extreme worry that we have these days over Measles which, when I was a child, was a normal disease of childhood, no vaccines were given and I had never heard of anyone dying from it (not that I disbelieve that there were rare cases) There were always fewer people dying from Measles than ‘flu and yet we concentrate our fear on Measles. We are so used to listening to our news media that we don’t check the information for ourselves, our estimation of ‘risk’ is way off balance. As you said there was no panic back in 68/69.

    But I think the reason we DON’T panic about seasonal ‘flu is that the media don’t ‘allow’ us to. There’s simply nothing that can be done to stop seasonal ‘flu (vaccines can’t anticipate every strain or mutation) whereas those diseases that CAN be dealt with (eg Measles) are ones where panic will get the populace to act (ie immunise their children)

    So we will continue to panic about the less serious diseases and the ones which WILL kill us are left unmentioned, brooding like the ‘killer’ elephant in the room we dare not mention…

    • Kempe

      Globally measles kills tens of thousands every year and leaves many more blinded. Unlike ‘flu which mutates it is a disease that could eventually be eliminated. The UK had no measles cases at all between 2017 and 2019 when a fall in vaccination rates allowed it to re-appear.

      • glenn_uk

        Measles can also cause heart problems, deafness, lung problems and so on which last a lifetime.

        Who have we got to thank for the fact that diseases such a measles are roaring back? Why, the conspiracy theorists. The anti-Vaxxers in particular. They don’t care to try to understand the science, they are not interested in facts. It’s far more exciting to believe there is a powerful, secretive conspiracy working to (a) take their money, and (b) kill them. It gives a sense of superiority to “know” about this, and to work against it by promoting the horseshit that is anti-Vaxxer ideology.

        Read Ben Elton’s “Blind Faith” sometime. It’s not only highly amusing in places, and a good story, but also a cautionary tale.

        • squirrel

          glenn_uk
          I can actually claim to be a ‘scientist’ myself (well, data scientist) and can assure you have a great and genuine interest in both the facts and science regarding vaccination.

          The facts are that absolutely no-one is dying of measles. In the recent US outbreak, no cases of any harm whatsoever were reported. that doesn’t stop the media portraying it as the black death.

          • squirrel

            In the western world. Conceded, in developing countries with poor living standards, measles is indeed a threat.

          • Kempe

            In 2016 90,000 children died of measles; due to a drop in vaccination rates this rose to 110,000 in 2017. Since a measles vaccine was introduced in the UK in 1968 Public Health England estimates that 20 million measles cases and 4,500 deaths have been averted in the UK. Pre-1968 measles cases ran at around 400,000 a year in the UK. Thanks to vaccination that is down to about 2,000.

          • squirrel

            Kempe the trick here is ignoring the declining mortality rate due to improved living standards. The measles death rate had already plummeted prior to vaccination and that surely would have continued to around zero deaths. Here is a graph of measles mortality http://vaxinfostarthere.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/uk-measles-1838-1978.jpg

            It is instructive to see how measles was portrayed in popular culture prior to the vaccine: it was regarded as a tame childhood illness and no existential threat

          • Kempe

            Your looking only at death rates which declined because of better treatment but how many survivors were left with major disabilities? This graph shows the effect of vaccination on actual CASES.

            https://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/vk/sites/default/files/u77/Measles_cases_1940-1995.jpg

            If better hygiene was responsible for the decline of measles why is it making a comeback? Are people falling back to 19th century standards of hygiene?

            Prior to the vaccine measles was responsible for 20% of childhood deaths whatever you think popular culture says.

            https://www.idsociety.org/public-health/measles/myths-and-facts/

          • squirrel

            Kempe, measles vaccination reduces cases, but the disease is not the lottery that pharma wants everyone to believe. The determinants of health are immune system health and nutritional status. That is why death rates plummeted before the vaccine, and it is also surely the case that morbidity also plummeted.

            If you look at measles references in popular culture around the time it was regarded as a tame childhood illness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDb0ZS3vB9g

            Children today have far more chronic illnesses than decades ago – far more of a concern than infection problems with or without vaccination – and this is because we are monkeying around with immune system disturbing vaccines. Plus one has to look at deaths from whatever cause. The USA has the most aggressive vaccination program and an appalling childhood mortality rate to go with it.

          • glenn_uk

            Squirrel – with the greatest of respect, could you furnish your argument with a few statistics?

            Please don’t refer me to an endless list of youtube videos either – make your case yourself.

            Refer us to actual infant mortality rates, how many deaths occurred due to common diseases and why you think this is actually worse now – with the introduction of vaccines – compared with the time before they existed.

            You’re a data scientist you say – that’s great! Please provide the data, and we can discuss it. We can also discuss how these once vanquished diseases are coming roaring back as a result of the reluctance of people to accept the efficacy of vaccinations, on the basis of pseudo-science and discredited charlatans.

            For a start, look at the big killers. Polio, and smallpox – just as a for instance.

            Do you think all vaccines are some sort of massive scam, or just particular ones?

          • squirrel

            glenn_uk I have debated many people like you before who call for endless statistics and then when given them they are never good enough. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence – if you want to suggest that injecting people with filth is a good thing you can supply the evidence, and I will happily correct it for you as I have done with Kempe.

  • Ian Brown

    I think people get misled by small numbers as they impact large systems. For example, I know many who say “The death rate is only 1-4%. This will be fine” But in a huge population and a large global system isn’t this equivalent to saying “3 degrees C of climate change will be barely noticeable”? If you think about all the people you know, subtract 2 or 3 percent and then imagine another 15-20% fighting for their lives in a hospital. This would be a huge personal and emotional toll as well as intense suffering for the sick and potentially catastrophic overload on the medical system. Focusing exclusively on death figures is fairly autistic in that illness can cause terrible harm to individuals and society without death.

    Here in the US our media is making some noise about COVID-19, but our institutions along with Trump are doing close to nothing to mitigate the spread. They also believe this is a bunch of hype and to protect the market and the productivity of American corporations have largely neglected any kind of preventative response. They rather that the working class, infirm and healthcare workers shoulder the burden. The projection is that in this country we will be short millions of hospital beds and ventilators, and those who develop pneumonia who would survive with ventilators and treatment may die untreated. And readers in the UK should also understand that American victims will also be saddled with heavy treatment costs that may or may not be covered by insurers. What if 10% of Americans required a $20,000 payout from insurance companies all at once? Then you have another large scale insolvency crisis.

  • Hudson H Luce

    Chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, has been found to be effective – “Notably, two compounds remdesivir (EC50 = 0.77 μM; CC50 > 100 μM; SI > 129.87) and chloroquine (EC50 = 1.13 μM; CC50 > 100 μM, SI > 88.50) potently blocked virus infection at low-micromolar concentration and showed high SI (Fig. 1a, b).” https://www.nature.com/articles/s41422-020-0282-0

    “Chloroquine was discovered in 1934 by Hans Andersag.[3][4] It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system.[5] It is available as a generic medication.[1] The wholesale cost in the developing world is about US$0.04.[6] In the United States, it costs about US$5.30 per dose.[1]” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloroquine

    • Kim Sanders-Fisher

      Hudson H Luce – Thanks for sharing a link to this really interesting information on meds that could provide a low cost strategy. This is not only a potential for wealthy industrialized nations, but also for the most vulnerable populations in developing countries. I share the concern of the WHO regarding countries like those in Africa, with poor healthcare infrastructures, as they are always the least able to cope with any type of healthcare challenge. This Tory Government’s morally bankrupt policy of once again ramping up the scavenging of Medical staff from countries that can ill afford to train them will continue to have dire consequences.

      At a time when it has become impossible to trust the news as reported by our MSM or our once revered state broadcaster, the BBC, it is difficult to assess the reality of the situation we now face with COVID 19. Craig is right to point out that this virus kills those who are elderly and whose co-morbidities might take them at any time. However, beside any personal attachment to the elderly, we must also consider the burden that treating large numbers of high-dependency patients will place on our already severely overstretched NHS.

      Elderly patients are highly unlikely to be refused treatment at a critical stage of combating the disease so, to prevent overwhelming the NHS, the real target should focus attention on trying to limit exposure of high risk segments of the population to COVID 19. The most vulnerable elderly people will be retired so showing up for work is not an issue, but they should consider voluntarily limiting other non-essential contact to prevent becoming infected at least until a vaccine is available. Who might be in the at risk group aside from the elderly? Anyone with a compromised respiratory system or with compromised immunity, but the destitute, addicted and homeless are also at risk.

      A sad reality is that the Tory Government agenda has already decimated our NHS, reducing its ability to cope with any increased influx of patients, while at the same time the frail elderly, disabled and destitute have come under concerted attack due to savage austerity cuts that have stripped away our social safety net. Poor management of COVID 19 could help this heartless Conservative Government to cull the very citizens for which they have exhibited such disregard and distain through ruthless Tory policies that appear designed to punish the most vulnerable in society.

      I agree that the Government and the media have done more to stoke alarm plus some advice has been glaringly unrealistic. While hand washing would be an excellent strategy to reduce all infection rates at all times, there is not a sink on every street corner and most stores have sold their last remaining stocks of hand sanitizer. Teaching a thorough, methodical and comprehensive hand washing routine is just as important as the length of time spent splashing about under a tap singing the “Happy Birthday” song! Children should be taught the proper hand washing protocol for regular adherence at all times. While I would not discourage the use of sanitizer gel when soap and water are not available, there are other ways to help reduce risk.

      If you clean the surfaces you touch using anti-bacterial sprays and/or wipes then you can eliminate infectious agents before they reach your hands. This was very briefly mentioned by Dr. Xand on Question Time and I was disappointed that he did not elaborate further on this important piece of information. Packets of disposable wipes, designed to eliminate both bacteria and viruses on surfaces, can be bought for as little as 50p a pack. I have taken to carrying a pack of sanitizing wipes with me in a sealed Ziplock bag and keeping one fresh in a second Ziplock, ready to wipe down a door handle, keyboard or a phone ect.

      There is also a hand-held device for sanitizing surfaces using UV light. “STERILIZER USB Portable UV Light Sterilizer Foldable Travel UV Wand Sanitizer to Kill Germs and Bacteria UV Disinfection Lamp Tool for Travel Hotel…” This is of a size suitable for travel and it plugs into a USB port to charge. They are on sale via the usual online outlets for as little as £23, but it may be hard to get hold of one before the end of the month. As a protective measure, masks are not worth getting as the people who should be wearing them are those already infected. When infected patients wear masks it will limit the distance droplets are propelled in a sudden cough or sneeze.

      While this might sound like I am buying into the media frenzy in reality I am trying to be realistic about my own personal risk. If you live in a high transit area like London, a place close to a city like London from which people regularly commute or a University City there will inevitably be a higher risk. If in addition to that you belong to one of the high risk groups within the population you should consider a voluntary pre-emptive limitation to your contacts and taking all extra precautionary measures when you do venture out until a vaccine is developed. This is not just a personal desire to avoid getting sick; I also feel it is public duty to avoid putting unnecessary strain on our NHS.

      We are very lucky to have our NHS and we must fight tooth and nail to keep access to healthcare universal and free at the point of need. The Tory “Hostile Environment” policy that seeks to exclude certain people from access to care is our weakest link in a full blown Pandemic situation, just as a US “for profit” healthcare system puts all Americans at greater risk. Those we chose not to treat represent a fertile breeding ground for infections that imperil us all. This fact is proven by the resurgence of TB within homeless populations and the emergence of a multi-drug resistant strain of TB. We do not want the US model here in the UK. A poem I wrote encapsulates this risk:

      PANDEMIC AGAINST THE POOR
      Beware of those you do not treat,
      A burden you chose not to meet,
      They suffer alone and die in pain,
      All for Corporate financial gain,
      Infection’s fertile breeding ground,
      This moral judgement wasn’t sound,
      Too late to wonder why it spread,
      So many sick are now all dead!

  • Martin Kirby

    Excellent, Craig, as ever. Vital perspective. I will share this. How fragile the world is. How shallow.
    We are really struggling to keep afloat right now, but when I can I will support you.
    Very sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. We are back and forth to Norfolk from Catalonia and now there is only my mother-in-law from that generation left.
    All good wishes
    Martin

  • michael norton

    Up to 200 North Korean soldiers reportedly killed due to COVID-19 coronavirus, approximately 3,700 under quarantine.

    Italy has seven times as many victims as in Germany or France, yet the death rate in Italy is very much greater, Germany has not reported a single death?

  • michael norton

    Other than the province in which Wuhan is situated,
    no other province in China has anywhere near as many people infected as Italy, South Korea or Iran.
    In Tibet, there is still only one reported case.

    It does seem to suggest the outbreak came from the level four lab in Wuhan.

      • michael norton

        It does to me, there are 67,000 + cases in Hubei Province and about 10,000 in all the all provinces put together.
        So, so far the cases are rather tightly grouped around Wuhan.
        What would be your explanation that does not include the only Level four lab in China, having most of the cases grouped around it.

        Perhaps you think it is people eating bats, they do not just do that in Wuhan.

        • michael norton

          The Wuhan Institute of Virology

          is the only Level Four Lab in China.
          It has been a Level Four Lab since 2015

        • Ian

          Well, of course it will be clustered around where it started, where scientists found it originated from a species jump. That was further reinforced by the lockdown imposed by the Chinese, containing it largely to that region. No internet conspiracies are necessary, although no doubt that won’t stop you.

  • Ilya G Poimandres

    It is pretty killer compared to the flu for the older folks – really the state would be wise to quarantine the over 60s and let the rest work on.

  • The Poet Laura-eate

    If any of these things are clumsy attempts to control the world’s population, can I put in a plea for free worldwide contraception instead please and economic incentives to have fewer children? Prevention is better than cure!
    Nor do I want to see older people wiped out. Quite often they are the only ones left with any common sense.

  • AJ

    Well said, Craig.
    I often think along similar lines whenever healthcare is discussed. There seems to be an assumption we ought to live forever.
    I believe you have added very positively to the discussion.

  • Alain Schenkel

    Of course one should not let go to hysteria and start acting irrational. Of course we are all going to die someday. And true, humanity survived previous influenza pandemias, like the Spanish and Hong Kong ones. It even survived bubonic plague pandemias (about 50% mortality rate at times when no treatment existed)!

    Does that mean however that we should not do everything in our power to save as many lives as possible, including among the elders? I think not. And even if that takes actions that may appear out of the ordinary. There are indeed plenty of rational things (they are well known) we can implement (and have the means to in our modern societies) that are very efficient at slowing down the pandemia, the time for this new strand to become less virulent. And if these actions require to slow down the economy for a few months, so be it ! If these require governments to massively intervene and pour into it some of the huge wealth that has been accumulated by a tiny fraction of our “fellow” humans, so be it ! We may discover along the way that the official narrative “money is not here” we hear so often is a plain lie. We may even (re)discover that other ways of organizing our lifes in society are possible.

    I’m in my early fifties and in good health, so I’m not really at risk (my retirement plan may even benefit from a high mortality rate among elders!). So I do not speak for myself. I speak both from the point of view of reason and solidarity. We must stand together and help each other.

    Be safe, Craig. We need you. You are among the few public figures who give me hope in humanity.

  • Node

    Until recently, we haven’t had the ability to track the spread of an individual virus across the world. Now that we have that ability, we are seeing exactly what we would expect to see – a cascade effect as every infected person infects multiple others. We would see something similar if we tracked any other strain of flu, or even the common cold. Trying to stop the spread is akin to Canute trying to hold back the tide. Panic quarantine measures cause panic and, at best, a slight delay in the rate of spread.

    Perhaps coronavirus is more infectious than the average flu virus. Perhaps it is more virulent. It’s hard to tell from the hyped up self-contradictory MSM reporting. We will know next year when we compare this year’s flu death toll with the average. My guess is a higher than average death toll, but within normal statistical variation

    Or in other words, if we hadn’t been tracking it, coronavirus would have come and gone without notice.

  • Dungroanin

    A few observations on this today.

    First here is a pretty good chronology of the outbreak from patient 1 onwards and the fast work by China, WHO & international scientists.
    https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/03/a-short-note-on-coronavirus-covid-19-by-walrus.html

    (Start date of the jump from the wild looks like October!)

    Second – Italy – wtf has gone on there? Yes it seems clustered and obviously around for months but there is NO explanation in the msm or by the WHO to explain it. Anyone come across one yet? ( i have my personal theory).

    Anyway a fine graph from John Hopkins which shows worldwide cases without China indicates that we are at the exponential rise point as was in Hubei in January- which with their mass response showed the inflexion point in mid feb and now on far side of the transmission and tailing away.

    This means at least another 4-6 weeks of increasing daily cases before our inflexion point which obviously will be slower than Hubei because of a less drastic state response.

    Finally BBC news reports have been referring it as a pandemic, everybody knows it, and in definition it is, ONLY the WHO are REFUSING to label it as such … follow the money.

  • Mary

    Churchill had his ‘darkest hour’. Boris is claiming the same as reported on the BBC News Channel.

    Rather OTT of Boris. The incidence of coronavirus does not equal WW11.

  • Jessica

    You said – “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.”

    I agree. I agree. I agree. Most news is irrelevant and insignificant – news did not previously consume hours of “reporting”….

    Thank you.

    • Jack

      Craig seems to forget that in 1968 the news media was very very sparse compared to the news situation of 2020.
      Today one can inform faster, in 1968 it could take days before something was even reported, if it was reported at all that is!

  • James

    As Ian Morrison, a consultant specializing in future healthcare, who grew up in Scotland, worked in Canada and now lives in California said,
    “The Scots see death as imminent. Canadians see death as inevitable. And Californians see death as optional.”

  • Uzmark

    More worrying than catching this thing would be being pressured into taking a vaccine for it

    • glenn_uk

      Yeah, God forbid! I’m horrified that I took vaccination against Polio when I was a kid. I had no choice! They conned me into taking it!

      I would far prefer to take my chances and get a crippling, weakening and paralysing disease that has been around for thousands of years. And those miserable bastards prevented me from my birthright in getting it too.

      Same with tetanus! Never really got the chance to refuse it. Damn and blast those crooked doctors and scientists!

      A vaccination would be much more worrying, as you say. We all know vaccinations kill about 99% of people, and who wouldn’t want a chance to experience smallpox?

      • Uzmark

        Wow, something got to you and your team of strawmen…if you want the governments’ altruistic pharmaceutical friends to save you that should be your choice… I would rather catch the flu and I don’t want to be pressured into taking any medications, if that is what’s coming

        • glenn_uk

          Sorry, it’s just you anti-vaxxer freaks piss me off. The amount of death and misery you cause through laziness, sensationalism and paranoia ought to be a point of real shame to you. Trouble is, you’re too lazy to bother finding out the extent of it.

          • Uzmark

            I don’t really want to engage with someone that can’t seem to discourse on the subject without melodrama, labels and name calling…but I feel I have to write to refute the label “anti-vaxxer” you want to categorize me with. Surprised you didn’t fit the words “denier” or “conspiracy theorist” in there. I made my point about where all this could lead (amongst many other undesirable places). The points you make about me would aptly fit yourself and your views

  • michael norton

    Three British skiers were hospitalized with coronavirus in Austria after contracting a more aggressive strain of the killer bug

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Who knew little Rory Stewart and Nigel Farage had PhDs in epidemiology? They certainly managed the keep that under their hats ’till now.

    • michael norton

      10,250+ victims of the virus in the countries which share the Alps.
      Second largest hotspot after Hubei Province.

      Italy being put into Lock-Down Mode on Tuesday.

      • michael norton

        The north of Italy – in particular the Lombardy region – is the hotbed of the outbreak,
        and the majority of registered deaths from the virus originate from this region.

        Italy is dealing with the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe, which is on par with the situations in Iran and South Korea – the two other countries outside China affected the most by the epidemic.
        The red zone will be all of Italy, come Tuesday morning.
        https://www.rt.com/news/482688-italy-quarantine-all-country/
        All movements will be restricted.

        • Jack

          Could it be some imported food from China to this italian region that have caused this outbreak?

          • michael norton

            I shouldn’t think it is from imported Chinese food.

            There does not seem to be Bio Level Four Lab in Lombardy, the one doing the research is in the Eternal city.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazzaro_Spallanzani_National_Institute_for_Infectious_Diseases
            During the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak, the Spallanzani Institute was the first research centre in Europe to isolate the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 and upload it to GenBank.
            The team was composed of Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, Francesca Colavita, and Concetta Castilletti.

            More likely to be well off Chinese tourists who seemed symptom free but who were super spreaders.
            I think Chinese people are now the largest group of international tourists in the world.
            They get everywhere.

          • Jack

            Yes tourists is plausible but just why this enormours outbreak in Italy?
            As you say, chinese tourists are everywhere so I would assume the outbreak would be all over europe not just particular northern Italy.

            I read somewhere, perhaps a rumour, in that region there are many chinese guestworkers, regardless there seems to be alot of chinese living in Italy:

            “The community of Chinese people in Italy has grown rapidly in the past ten years. Official statistics indicate there are at least 320,794 Chinese citizens in Italy, although these figures do not account for illegal immigration, former Chinese citizens who have acquired Italian nationality or Italian-born people of Chinese descent.”
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_people_in_Italy

  • Marmite

    If Labour under Corbyn was handling this virus in the disastrous way the Tories are right now, there would be votes of no confidence, news stories everywhere about lack of leadership, and riots in the streets stirred up by a prostituting mainstream media.

    If the Tories know how to do something well, it is cover everything up with lies and false reassurances about an NHS they have sabotaged for ten years straight, and get their press poodles on side, so as to persuade every zombie in the country to keep calm and carry on, as the stupid expression goes.

    What is more astonishing than how fast this virus is spreading is how unfathomably incompetent the Tories have to be before anyone takes notice, before the UK’s muzzled journalists say enough is enough. How many people have to die before they stop putting the stupid bloody economy first?

    This is why Wikileaks and its people are needed so desperately right now.

    • Jack

      Mr C
      Indeed!
      Washing of hands should be a must regardless if there is a epidemic or not, some people hardly wash their hands after doing their business at the WC, I dont get that attitude.

  • michael norton

    Every country in the European Union now has coronaivirus cases, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
    Italy has almost ten thousand cases, with France, Germany and Spain, all having more than a thousand cases.
    Italy is the worse country in terms of deaths, outside China.

  • michael norton

    Supermarket shopping is a pretty fundamental part of a domestic routine, but you might want to hold your horses when it comes to getting a trolley next time, because it turns out they are a HOTBED for germs!

    I have been thinking for some days, do supermarkets clean shopping basket and trolley handles.
    If the person in front of you has got it and spreads it on the shopping basket handle, then you pick that basket up, are you going to get it.
    I have never seen a supermarket cleaning shopping trolley handles.
    https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/body/health/a10260011/supermarket-trolleys-germs-unhygienic-gross/

    • Jack

      Trolleys and also at the cashier where you type your code. Imagine how many fingers that push those buttons every day.
      Like the trolleys, I doubt these are wiped off more than like 1,2 times/a year.

      • glenn_uk

        Generally speaking, I push those buttons with a knuckle instead of the pad of my finger. Same with buttons on lifts, pedestrian crossings and so on.

        Interestingly enough, a study some years back found the most infected articles in the patients’ common room of a hospital was the remote control unit for the TV.

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