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Talk-show generals

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.


COVID-19 Pandemic Situation Report
as at 4 April 2020

arrow   Actual data from ECDC (EU's European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control), and areppim S-curve 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


World: total deaths  top

World: total deaths
As of 4 April 2020, World : 56,138 total deaths worldwide. The death ratio is of 5.21 percent of the total 1,076,821 reported cases. Further to the disparate quality of the raw data, death rates vary widely from country to country in the selected group. Death rate is the highest for Italy 12.25%, and the lowest in Germany 1.28%. Our projection is obtained by a logistic regression based on the actual numbers provided by ECDC.


World: total infection cases  top

World: total cases
As of 4 April 2020, World : 1,076,821 total cases reported worldwide, and a death toll of 56,138 or 5.21 percent.


China total cases  top

China: total cases
As of 4 April 2020, China : total of 82,527 cases, and a death toll of 3,330 or 4.04 percent.


France total cases  top

France: total cases
As of 4 April 2020, France : total of 59,105 cases, and a death toll of 4,503 or 7.62 percent.


Germany total cases  top

Germany: total cases
As of 4 April 2020, Germany : total of 79,696 cases and a death toll of 1,017 or 1.28 percent.


Iran total cases  top

Iran: total cases
As of 4 April 2020, Iran : total of 50,468 cases and a death toll of 3,160 or 6.26 percent.


Italy total cases  top

Italy: total cases
As of 4 April 2020, Italy : total of 119,827 cases and a death toll of 14,681 or 12.25 percent.


Portugal total cases  top

Portugal: total cases
As of 4 April 2020, Portugal : total of 9,886 cases and a death toll of 246 or 2.49 percent.


Spain total cases  top

Spain: total cases
As of 4 April 2020, Spain : total of 117,710 cases and a death toll of 10,935 or 9.29 percent.


Switzerland total cases  top

Switzerland: total cases
As of 4 April 2020, Switzerland : total of 19,706 cases, a death toll of 607 or 3.08 percent.


United States total cases  top

United States: total cases
As of 4 April 2020, USA : total of 277,965 cases, a death toll of 7,157 or 2.57 percent.


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