How did we get it so wrong?
"The only means to fight the plague is honesty." Albert Camus, The Plague (1947)
"It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled." Not Mark Twain
Perhaps it was not just the lack of information, but maybe the worldwide reaction was due to some deeply evolved response to disease and fears of contagion reactions. We might question whether our media and leaders thoughts were the results of rational reasoning, or whether they might have been shaped by an ancient response that evolved millennia before the discovery of germ theory.
There is growing evidence that the original WHO death estimate of 3.4% based on official Chinese numbers was wrong by a factor of 10 to 25x.
Initially the experts and politicians wanted extreme measures like lockdowns or stay in place to "flatten the curve" then to "save lives". Then there have been estimates of how many more lives would have been saved by closing the economy a week earlier.
Now that they are realising the effect and cost of lockdowns, freedoms are being restored, and nothing has changed. The virus is still around, except that masks are being worn.
Initially the experts like the WHO and the CDC said don't wear masks, the virus is not airborne, and touching your face to fiddle with the mask is a big no-no. Recently wearing masks is not only recommended but compulsory in many countries, and the WHO and the CDC have now updated their advice to a maybe its OK to wear a mask.
Do our leaders really think that we are all dumb enough to not realise that the original restrictions were impractical and futile.
This article, not yet peer reviewed claims "Full lockdown policies in Western Europe countries have no evident impacts on the COVID-19 epidemic." Full article.
Deadlier than Covid? Medics sound alarm as lockdown suicides SOAR in US
April 2020. The first to be blamed will be the WHO. Apparently the WHO claim that at no time did they recommend lockdowns, so are not responsible for the wholesale destruction.
However their commending of the Chinese for their "aggressive disease containment effort" seems pretty clear support of containment or lockdown or staying in place.
Every life is valuable, and none should ever be wasted. However when it comes to a choice between losing some, even many of our old, our sick, and unfortunately also our overweight, choices have to be made.
The choice was to try and save a limited number of the old and/or sick, and destroy our economies, or to lose a relatively few lives compared to the lives lost to vehicle accidents, TB, Aids, and even flu by merely just introducing a few inconvenient restrictions like masks , shields, hand washing and distancing.
Our leaders, and you choose the life saving because it sounded so noble, but you damaged our society, maybe for a generation, precipitated the worst economic downturn in history.
They still don't get it
'Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, warned Tuesday of unnecessary "suffering and death" if states open their economies too early during the COVID-19 pandemic. Source Washington Times.
Don't proponents of lockdowns realise that in their hope to save every possible life they are destroying the society that supports those lives?
They are destroying businesses, factories, services, reducing the ability of our societies to afford health services as well as support for the poor. There is not much chance to "Make America Great Again" when its factories are going broke.
We are beginning to see the results of our stupidity.
WHEN DLAMINI-ZUMA MET MAZZOTTI
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, - NDZ - Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, seemingly, has had an influence on the prohibition of cigarettes. President Ramaphosa said last week that our ciggies would be available during Level 4. Without warning, ex wife of infamous President Zuma announced that this would no longer be the case, citing "2,000 submissions" which opposed lifting the ban - a number far smaller than that of pro-smoking South Africans, who perhaps didn't realise they were being hoodwinked.
Dlamini-Zuma, has created a massive problem for herself. In 2017, she was accused of working closely with corrupt cigarette manufacturer Adriano Mazzotti, who had previously admitted his company Carnilinx were complicit in fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. Carnilinx specialises in selling cigarette singles. They were also responsible for selling tobacco in an illegal manner. The pair's relationship was then detailed by Jacques Pauw.
The author of The President's Keepers alleges that NDZ still accepted campaign donations and merchandising deals from the fraudulent outfit during her bid for the presidency at Nasrec - despite knowing how Mazzotti and his cronies unashamedly broke the law. The Sunday Times was also able to prove that the minister and the tobacco kingpin became very cosy with each other.
DLAMINI-ZUMA'S LINKS TO ILLEGAL CIGARETTE TRADE RESURFACE
Dlamini-Zuma has had meetings with Mazzotti. She states they only held discussions once, but Pauw claims that their relationship was much more jovial than that, and wrote that two would often meet to discuss business. Chillingly, the book even hints that Dlamini-Zuma would eventually 'reward' Mazzotti once she was in a position of power:
"While monitoring the offices of Carnilinx, agents saw Dlamini-Zuma enter the premises, where Mazzotti presented clothing for her political campaign. NDZ has brushed off any warnings about her dealings with Mazzotti, claiming he 'has not been convicted of anything'."
"As we understand it, Mazzotti and Carnilinx pumped serious money into their relationship with Dlamini-Zuma, and they would want something in return in the future. With her [in a position of power], Mazzotti would expect his business interests to blossom." Source. Other Source.
For years we have seen pictures, especially of Asians wearing masks whenever there was contagion.
Masks prevent disease spreading. But why was there no early worldwide call for the compulsory wearing of masks in public instead of lockdowns?
Almost certainly that given a choice most would have overwhelmingly voted for masks. The compulsory wearing masks have only become popular after lockdown.
"China has rolled out perhaps the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history." Source Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Page 16
This strategy has been adopted by most countries except Sweden and a few others, none of whom had lots of infections.
The China plan may have been suitable in a state-controlled Communist society, but disastrous in a free enterprise society.
The China detractors are already accusing China of delayed and limited information sharing, such as the ages and known pre-existing medical conditions of the dead that could have helped the world understand the virus and prepare better.
The paranoid and the conspiracy believers are looking for evidence of virus manufacture, but there is no reasonable basis for this idea.
Western leaders might be wondering whether the plague was an unofficial attempt to damage their economies.
The easy acceptance of tracking technologies
"Australia now has its long-awaited COVID-19 trace tracking smartphone app, COVIDSafe."
On Sunday 26 April, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was been pushing its use as a national service, adding that Australians "need the COVIDSafe app as part of the plan to save lives and save livelihoods".
"The more people who download this important public health app, the safer they and their family will be, the safer their community will be and the sooner we can safely lift restrictions and get back to business and do the things we love," he said.
Technicians warn "Australia's COVIDSafe contact tracing story is full of holes and we should worry" Source ZDNet UK.
It's dangerous because much of the official messaging is about being "safe" and "protecting" you. It's misleading because there's no evidence that a so-called "contact tracing" app will be a net benefit.
Someone should've checked that up front.
The COVIDSafe strategy is technological hubris.
It is blind faith that an app can replace, or at least substantially enhance, the urgent labour-intensive detective work of contact tracing.
"We worry that contact tracing apps will serve as vehicles for abuse and disinformation, while providing a false sense of security."
COVIDSafe doesn't do what contact tracers do.
That won't pick up potential infection paths such as random unrelated people buying a takeaway muffin from the same cafe across several days, taking moments to do so.
It won't notice you sliding your hand along a dirty handrail. "Because most exposures flagged by the apps will not lead to infection, many users will be instructed to self-quarantine even when they have not been infected".
Even the name of the app, COVIDSafe, implies that it will in fact make you safe. It won't. It can't.
There's a reason the HIV/AIDS public health community has spent more than three decades talking about "safer sex" not "safe sex".
China?s Virus Apps May Outlast the Outbreak, Stirring Privacy Fears. 'People in China sign up for the virus-tracking system by submitting their personal information, recent travel and health status in one of a swath of apps. The software uses this and other data to assign a color code ? green, yellow or red ? that indicates whether the holder is an infection risk. Workers posted outside subways, offices and malls stop anyone without a green code from entering.' NY Times 27 May 2020.
Justified by the need to track COVID-19 carriers, the public has mostly has meekly accepted powers that were previously unacceptable, powers that will never be withdrawn.
Never again could it possible to have a secret meeting, unless you switch off or travel without your phone.
Eventually could this need to be tracked will lead to a future with a chip implanted in everyone so that your location will always be known?
SciFi as usual was way ahead.
There have reports around the world of heavy handed actions by the police and army to control restriction orders, not related to the above images.
It is incredible that we as yet have no conclusive research on to what degree airborne droplet nuclei aerosols are the cause of infection.
With this information we might know to what extent masks can prevent contagion and where to concentrate our protection strategies.
High SARS-CoV-2 Attack Rate Following Exposure at a Choir Practice - Skagit County, Washington, March 2020 where transmission was likely facilitated by close proximity (within 6 feet) during practice and augmented by the act of singing. These transmissions were spread by a combination of droplets via fomite transmission - via an object, possibly aerosols and even sharing food. One news report claims that the droplets could stay in the air for 14 minutes, but nowhere in the CDC report is this claim, nor any claim as to the degree aerosols played in this transmission. I wish that news reports would just report what was said and not add other possibly false news in their reports.
It has been known for over 100 years since the Spanish Flu that sunshine and the open air are one of the best remedies for disease. Coronavirus and the Sun: a Lesson from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.
Almost every mother knows the healthy benefits of playing outside, yet in Australia people were allowed to walk in the parks, but not stop and rest!
In South Africa no-one is allowed outside to walk or exercise except between 6 am and 9 am!
In California there were protests when the beaches were closed in one area but not another!
There is currently some suspicion of Chinese reports, but a recent report shows that only one in over 7300 coronavirus cases was transmitted outdoors. So why did the 'experts' not speak up when frightened authorities closed beaches and recreation areas in the USA, Australia and South Africa and other countries?
Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive. Maybe It Shouldn't Be
The usual diagnostic tests may simply be too sensitive and too slow to contain the spread of the virus.
The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample. The greater the viral load, the more likely the patient is to be contagious.
27 April 2020. Video Link. Although the hypothesis of this video is almost certainly correct, the calculations and assumptions used to draw their conclusions are incorrect.
The Doctors have realized that something did not make sense, and have tried to prove their hypothesis the wrong way. At about 3 minutes Dr Erickson says that they have tested 5213, with 6.5% or 340 positives, while in the State of California there were 280,900 tests. With 12% or 33,865 were positives. He then extends this to say that 12% of California was positive.
If the tests had been random, he is correct, but those tested would have been the more likely to have come in contact or shown symptoms of the disease, making the positive tests % higher than if random tests. Against this, the positives were those that had COVID-19 at the time, not last week or last month. This reasoning makes the tests as a guide for the occurrence of the disease in the population barely relevant. If the tests had been for antibodies to the virus, then we could have valid data.
At 5.40 minutes he says that you have a 0.03 % chance of dying from CO-19. Well if divide 1237 deaths by 39.5 million the % of deaths of the Californian population is 0.003% or about one in 32,000.
Whatever way he gets his figures, the principle that he is trying to prove, namely that the government response to the minimal risk of death is illogical.
Deciding on the best government policies and to make an educated judgment by individuals and organisations also needs information, of which there is a paucity. We require answers to the below questions.
It is unbelievable that there is such limited information available to decision-makers, especially medical professionals who cannot decide on treatment options without statistics.
This is something that the World Health Organisation should have done, and should be doing urgently, not only for COVID-19 but for other contagious diseases.
There will be some loss of privacy, but being alive and partially exposed is a small price for getting the statistics.
Should be no problem since about half the citizens in Australia and other countries have gladly downloaded tracking software.
21 April 2020. Countries like South Africa, Australia, the USA are solving the economic crisis by spending money that they do not have.
Although SA has limited borrowing power, unlike most other Western countries SA has just announced a 500 billion Rand handout. The SA government is paying from partially stripping its workers' pension and unemployment funds, with no plans or chance to repay. Taking funds from these funds means that the money will not be available when the workers want these funds.
Additionally removing these funds from these organisations will cause them to liquidate their shareholdings and government bonds. This loss of funds will negatively affect share prices, as well as making it harder for the government to borrow funds from institutions locally.
Other sources of funds are expected grants from the World Bank with unknown strings, which will reduce the availability of future handouts.
The Reserve bank will almost certainly be effectively printing money, resulting in more cash chasing limited goods, which will cause steadily then quicker inflation, effectively stripping those who have saved of their savings.
All these handouts announced as if it is giving out a bounty to the people for being behaving well. It may not be the problem of this government, but how will we pay the piper?
Algeria's 'President Tebboune, however, turns out to be a tough, capable leader who, unlike many others, realizes that it's dangerous to pile up debt that will have to be paid off by generations yet unborn.
Last week he slashed the government budget by half to avoid mortgaging the nation's future to other nations.
How many other national leaders will have the courage to take the short term heat President Tebboune will face to guarantee that his country will not end up unable to pay its debts when the pandemic ends?
Other African countries can attest to the dangers of borrowing heavily from nations like China, as Beijing uses the current crisis to leverage concessions from nations addicted to its "help."
The leaders of these nations are on their knees begging the world community for charity, grants and loans to help finance unsustainable budgets spending they are afraid to cut.