areppim: information, pure and simple
What a memorable age! Pushed against the wall by the angry crowds that have been filling the streets from Hong Kong to Santiago, from Paris to Algiers, politicians and their sidekicks on the brink of collapse welcomed the new coronavirus pandemic as a God given gift. With a sigh of relief they fancied that it was time to have a break. The pandemic came just in time.
Language is a good telltale sign. The Clinton, Bush, Sarkozy, Obama, Macron of the world, all of them waged wars, worked havoc upon the earth, wrecked lots of states and organized societies allegedly to promote democracy, human rights and peace. In fact, “promoting peace” is the other way to designate war in the parlance of the political establishment. We should therefore ask ourselves now what do Trump, Macron and other lesser leaders have in mind when they proclaim in earnest that war is declared against the virus, and appeal to their peoples to unite and join in the fight against the common enemy.
What they really mean is the opposite : they seek to persuade on their peoples that it is time to lay down their arms, stop arguing, muzzle their protests, break off the riot, disband the rallies, forget the grudge, go home, open the fridge, fetch a beer, sit down and watch TV. In other words, shut the clap up, get out of the way, just vanish and let us take care of our business as usual.
The war metaphor is a most convenient device to make a dupe of the naive. It works this way. In order to face the menace of the virus, this sneaky enemy coming from a foreign country to threaten the full nation, the leader feels entitled to demand blind obedience, full unity, zero discord, self-sacrifice, readiness to march no questions asked. Moreover, in times of war we have to make do : the state of emergency is deemed to justify the suspension of the constitutional rights with the ensuing string of such repressive measures as the curfew, quarantine, seclusion, tightened surveillance, called residency, censorship, inclusion in a list of unsure characters, etc.
As a free bonus, it drastically precludes any and all arguments about the shallow preparedness of the “war chiefs” as regards the ruinous state of the health care system, the scrapping of hospital units, the scarcity of beds, sanitary materials and instruments, the weariness of health professionals and the abysmal incompetence of the top layers of executives in charge of health care.
For many decades, the elite of politicians, businessmen and mercenary scientists have been bolstering up their promise of eternal life for mankind by means of NBIC (nanotechnologies, bioengineering, information technologies and cognitive sciences) and rejoicing of the civilizational culmination attained thanks to their wisdom.
The gullible felt thrilled with such grand prospects… until the virus came and proved beyond doubt that thousands of lives could have been spared if only we had ample supplies of simple, affordable stuff such as protective gowns, sanitary masks, hand sanitizers, medical testing devices, breathing ventilators and, in the first place, hospital beds, and enough health professionals. All the things that our civilized countries were supposed to be fully equipped with since the mid 1900s. Unfortunately, as everybody knows, including maybe the “war chiefs”, we are a long way off. It is this unpreparedness, and not the shortage of the killing instinct that those individuals want to arise in us, that is accountable for the loss of, as yet, 10,000 lives.
Someone¹ said that “civilization is a disease produced by the practice of building societies with rotten material » Maybe the unfortunate merit of the coronavirus pandemic is to expose the rottenness of the fabric of which our current society is made.
¹ George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, 1903.
Actual data from ECDC (EU's European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control), and areppim projections for selected countries:
World total deaths | World total cases | China total cases | France total cases | Germany total cases | Iran total cases | Italy total cases | Portugal total cases | Spain total cases | Switzerland total cases | United States total cases
As of 21 March 2020: 11,252 total deaths worldwide. The death ratio is of 4.15 percent of the total 27,1364 reported cases. Further to the disparate quality of the raw data, death rates vary widely from country to country, depending upon such factors as the health-care system grade, the promptness of the fight against the disease, the hygiene capabilities, etc. These factors make averages and overall projections unreliable. Our areppim’s projection is obtained by a bi-logistic function based on the actual numbers. The curve suggests a surge of the disease by the end of February triggering a steep rise of the deaths thereupon. Death rate is the highest for Italy 8.57%, followed by Iran 7.29%, Spain 5.02%, and China 4.01%. Germany's rate is a low 0.25%.
As of 21 March 2020: 271,364 total cases reported worldwide. The areppim’s projection is obtained by a bi-logistic function based on the actual number of total cases. The curve clearly shows the surge of the disease by the end of February leading the World Health Organization to recognize the disease as a pandemic on 11 March 2020. By case count, China comes first with 81,416 cases, followed by Italy with 47,021, Spain with 19,980, Iran with 19,644, United States with 19,624, Germany with 18,323 and France with 12,612.
As of 21 March 2020: 81,416 total cases reported in China, of which 3,261 or 4.01 percent died. The areppim’s projection suggests that the pandemic is now under control and the number of cases should have reached the peak.
As of 21 March 2020: 12,612 total cases reported for France, of which 450 or 3.57 percent died. The areppim’s projection suggests that the epidemic in France reached 50 percent of its course.
As of 21 March 2020: 18,323 total cases reported for Germany, of which only 45 or 0.25 percent died. Germany offers an atypical picture: very fast spread of the epidemic, but an extremely low fatality rate. The areppim’s projection suggests that the epidemic reached 50 percent of its course.
As of 21 March 2020: 19,644 total cases reported for Iran, of which 1,433 or a huge 7.29 percent died. Further to the high number of cases, Iran registers the highest ratio of deaths, compounding a very harsh sanitary situation.
As of 21 March 2020: 47,021 total cases reported for Italy, of which 4,032 died, or the highest rate of deaths: 8.57 percent. Italy is going through a very strenuous situation.
As of 21 March 2020: 1,020 total cases reported for Portugal, of which 6 died, a rate of 0.59%.
As of 21 March 2020: 19,980 total cases reported for Spain, of which 1,002 died, a rate of 5.02%. The situation in Spain is extremely serious both as regards the number of cases, close to Iran's, and the death ratio, just below Italy and Iran.
As of 21 March 2020: 4,840 total cases reported for Switzerland, of which 43 died, a rate of 0.89%. In the center of Europe, with Germany, France and Italy as neighbors and an intense flow of cross-border workers, Switzerland faces a tough sanitary challenge.
As of 21 March 2020: 19,624 total cases reported for the United States, and a death toll of 260, or a ratio of 1.32%.