5 Replies to “China, Russia, Covid-19 and the EU

  1. It would seem that the Chinese system is far better organised to cope with emergencies like this. The Western approach recommends “self isolation” – a matter that seems to have taken on a sadistic aspect since this advice has now been specifically aimed at those over 70. The West always seems to try and steer clear of community based strategies.

    • Assuredly, we are seeing signs of advanced consumer capitalism, which has taken individualism further than any society in history, on the back foot compared with societies which have not travelled so far nor so fast down that road. See Lindsey German’s excellent piece, replicated here.

      If you were one of the eighty million Americans without any form of health cover, would you report yourself sick now? Not that we Brits are much better placed after decades of NHS underfunding by Tory and Tory-lite governments.

  2. Returning from India on March 2 I was struck dumb, like the odious Jonathan Arnott here:

    The party of 38 were not exactly spring chickens. There were certainly at least two bog standard colds on the way out. A combination of pollution levels, the gruelling travel schedule and old age took its toll and, let’s just say, there was a certain level of concern about being let back into the Country.

    The fat owl of the remove and his fourth form Eton chums who have somehow conned their way into running the Country deserve medieval levels of punishment for a great many things. High up on that list must surely be the criminal negligence of allowing people in transit from all over the world to mingle together with no containment protocols in the middle of a pandemic.

    Yes, I know WHO did not declare a pandemic till last week. However, it beggers belief that the kind of data and statistics contained in the link below were not available. Particularly the case lag between known and actual shown in chart 7 here on zerohedge.

    Protocols should have been in place a month ago. The reason they were not can be found in the cavalier attitude displayed this past week or so about “taking it on the chin” ; “spreading it through the herd” ; and, from a Telegraph self identified journalist, “culling being good for the economy.”

    Tuesday’s press conference told you all you need to know about the incompetence at the controls. Johnson looked even more shifty and out of his depth than usual. Like Norman Wisdom trying to play the Godfather. Looking more like Corporal Jones every day he is the living embodiment of the Peter Principle.

    Even Wayne Rooney is trolling Johnson, along with the football authorities on this. Sticking with sporting matters for a moment it’s worth noting the Cheltenham racing festival, which was allowed to go ahead this week, was cancelled in 2002 due to the foot and mouth outbreak. When livestock is given a greater priority than voters you know you’re in trouble.

    The scariest chart in the above zerohedge article link is that relating to the impact of delying necessary decisions relating to social distancing. There are going to be unnecessary deaths arising from delays already made and delays in decisions not yet implemented.

    Consider. According to the King’s Fund website there are a total of 142,000 beds in the NHS.

    A conservative 1% infection rate of the UK populace would produce, give or take, around 650,000 cases.

    On the basis of around 81% of infections being mild and able to treated at home (from the relevant chart in the above zerohedge article link) that eliminates just under 526,000 of those cases from needing hospital beds.

    Leaving 13.8%/just over 109,000 requiring hospital beds plus a further 4.7%/just over 30,500 requiring intensive care beds.

    With a 1% infection rate amongst the population requiring around 139,000 of those 142,000 beds the maths then has to model those numbers on a time frame rate of change. They are not all going to occur simultaneously.

    However, given the statistics available for modelling we already have available, we do know that the rate is going to be exponential – it’s going to start off relatively low and then rise at an increasingly rapid rate until the spread is contained (assuming that is an objective).

    Of course, the above is based on a 1% infection rate. A higher rate will produce bigger numbers.

    And at this stage, given the timeline of events and other relevant and valuable data in Chart 7 from the above link and the non existent containment protocols at UK ports of entry over the past month, we do know that the official known number of cases will at present be a fraction of the true number of cases already existing.

    Which are not being properly contained in terms of spread through the populace because vital decisions have been and continue to be delayed.

    According to one report Thursday showed an increase of 200 cases up to 798 from 598 – confirming the 33% daily increase demonstrated in this chart.

    If that was the total number of cases on Thursday, Friday would pass the 1,000 mark on that trajectory. By close of play this coming Monday that would be just under 2,500. By close of play next Saturday that would pass the 10,000 cases mark and be roughly where Italy is on that chart which was maybe somewhere between last weekend and the begining of this week.

    Which puts us around two weeks behind Italy if the UK follows the statistical trend elsewhere.

    The data coming out of China shows a 97% survival rate for the 60-70 age group which only drops to 92% for the next age group above. The key problem will be the impact on other systems like health services, supply chains, employment (how do refuse collectors or sewage treatment engineers ‘work from home’?).

    As intimated here in this report from Northern Italy which is maybe just over a week old now.

    If you are having to free up beds and cancel operations that has a knock on effect impact on those having the operation cancelled (and their families) In some cases it will put a further strain on local community and social care services for people who don’t even have a cold. Not to mention the strain and stress impact on front and back office health professionals and their families.

    I’m advised that a local GP practice got closed somewhere in Sheffield earlier last week when someone with symptoms who subsequently tested positive just walked in without phoning ahead. That’s all the patients relying on that surgery having to go somewhere else and putting extra strain on the system because there was clearly no proper containment protocols in place to advise people on the most effective action to take.

    Yes, there is now, a little late in the day, a system in which people can phone up and be sent (using their own transport if they have it) to a testing location which is not, for obvious reasons, being publicly revealed.

    The emphasis of current proposals reveals a worrying mindset. All stick and no Carrot. If pubs and restaurants are to be restricted for opening or even closed altogether many small businesses will go under. Moreover, people should not be receiving plaintiff pleas to sign a petition in their email inboxes calling on the Government to introduce proper sick pay for self employed workers and those on zero hours contracts.

    If we can afford to pay the private health sector for their beds we can afford this without having to beg for it.

    And we have not even considered the knock on effects of the unfolding financial crisis as the long anticipated (at least by those with operational neurones) bursting of the bubble wreaks real havoc.


    Expect Britain to dominate the Darwin Awards for the forseeable future.

    • Expect Britain to dominate the Darwin Awards for the forseeable future.

      The US of A will give “us” stiff competition, Dave!

      • I concur.

        However, I’m quietly confident in our ability.

        Went down to Fox Valley this morning (not my normal day but I needed some treats as I’m running whats now been titled the ‘Sad Cafe’ at our house 20m Tuesdays for select comrades – it got cancelled today for non virus reasons).

        Aldi: Plenty of meat, fruit and Veg; tinned fish; frozen food; biscuits; alcohol; dairy (but low on milk); cleaning products.Low on bread. No tinned products, sauces, eggs and that endangered species the toilet roll.

        Ironically, people with obviously empty lives were queuing up to take pictures of empty shelves with, again ironically, smart phones.

        One fears the long predicted moment when machines became smarter than their owners occurred some time back when we were all asleep chasing the dream.

        For anyone who doesn’t know Iceland are reserving 10:00 am to Midday on Wednesdays for pensioners and vulnerable elderly to get their supplies. Hang on to your bus passes as they going to become a valuable currency.

        Home Bargains: Low on cleaning products, bread, cereal, tinned produce, sauces, crisps and, interestingly given Aldi is two doors away, alcohol, particularly wine (clear bargains to be had there, obviously cheaper than Aldi). Again, plenty of meat, fruit and veg and dairy, apart from milk.

        The key test for the Darwin Awards will be the supply chain disruptions which will most certainly occur as a result of Brexit, particularly under this caste of pantomime dames in charge.

        Will the penny drop at some stage to see similar panic buying from those who voted in droves for such chaos?

        Or will the cognitive dissonance prevail dismissing such eventualities as more ‘project fear?’

        Like I said, I’m quietly confident.

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