There are just two things I want to say about “covid” this month. The entire topic has been flogged to death by pundits and media. The first concerns the mischievous and deliberate presentation of “facts” by both government and media.
Fact one – the definition of “corona deaths” is any death “recorded within 28 days of a positive test for corona”. Yes – it's true that people dying in road accidents after testing positive will be recorded as “corona deaths”.
Fact two – a study in the USA found that only 6 percent of recorded “corona deaths” were actually caused by the virus; the other 94 percent were caused by other medical complications.
Fact three – the way in which the media and government are reporting the rates of corona infection are highly related to the number of tests carried out rather than any objective measure of the true rate within a population.
Fact four – even where the stated rate of infection is 100 per 100,000 this is just an exciting, intended to scare, way to write an infection rate of just 0.1 percent (1 in a thousand).
Fact five – there is no longer any correlation between infection rates and death or hospitalisation rates because the huge majority of new infections are in younger people who have very few symptoms.
Fact six – at present the UK death rate for corona (even with the ridiculously exaggerated definition) is 1.5 percent of all deaths compared to 14 percent for influenza and pneumonia (covid is 10 times less lethal than ordinary flu!).
The second concerns philosophy and the unhealthy state of human civilisation. We, especially our leaders and governments, have become terrified of “mystery”. Three hundred years of successful “progress” from science and technology have led us to a place where we like to believe that these disciplines can solve all our problems. This is fundamentally why neither business nor government feels it necessary to “declare war on climate change or soil degradation”. There is a tacit assumption that science and technology can fix any problem once it starts to be annoying for the rich and powerful.
The puzzling behaviours of the covid pandemic and the obvious failure of our science and systems to control the disease are, in this context, very scary for governments (and many ordinary people). Here we have mystery and, once again, we see how scary nature can be! This is why governments all over the world are over-reacting in desperate attempts to control what is actually a fairly benign pandemic (things could be much worse). In doing so they have been (and are) quite prepared to trash the economy, destroy jobs and apply previously unthinkable authoritarian controls on a daily basis. This is an extra-ordinary extension of the idea that individuals are not competent to decide what is good for them when this becomes the sole prerogative of governments!
It is only by twisting the facts that the governments can justify their petty dictatorships. This is “project fear” with a vengeance. And when governments find that their hopes for a vaccine cannot be realised we will reach a very interesting and dangerous situation.