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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 6 May 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 Kingdom total cases  | United States total cases  | 


World: total deaths  top

World: total deaths
As of 6 May 2020, World : 256,880 deaths worldwide. The death ratio is of 7.09 percent of the total 3,623,803 reported cases (which represent 0.05 percent of the world population). Further to the disparate quality of the raw data, to the erratic definitions of the statistical units, and to the shady reliability of the sources, death rates vary widely from country to country in the selected group. Death rate is the highest for France 19.20%, and the lowest in Portugal 4.18%. According to a recent analysis completed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, each person infected early in the epidemic in Wuhan may have passed the virus to an average of 5.7 other people. Should this spread rate hold for the rest of the world, about 82 percent of the world population should be immunized to put a stop to the pandemic.
The pandemic has laid bare the dismal unpreparedness of all administrations, and provided a peephole to look into the swollen-heads of some state leaders. The French president Macron, who vaingloriously declared himself a “Jupiterian”, not a “normal” chief of state, and labels himself the “commander in chief of the war” on the coronavirus has successfully placed France in the lead of the covid-19 death ratio: almost 20 percent of the infected French die from the disease. Does it hurt the pompous “war leader”?.
As for the British prime minister Boris Johnson, he should be praised for his illustration of a farcical instance of immanent justice. On March 3rd, he faced the cameras to boast of his contempt for the despicable virus : “you’ll be pleased to know that I was in the hospital yesterday and I shook hands with infected patients, and I won’t stop doing it”. On April 7th, a press release informed that the conceited leader was in an “intensive care unit, fighting against the coronavirus”! He will have plenty of time during his convalescence to savor the peculiar taste of the practical joke destiny played on him.
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 6 May 2020, World : total cases 3,623,803 (0.05 percent of population) reported worldwide, and a death toll of 256,880 or 7.09 percent.


China total cases  top

China: total cases
As of 6 May 2020, China : total of 83,968 cases (0.01 percent of population), and a death toll of 4,637 or 5.52 percent.


France total cases  top

France: total cases
As of 6 May 2020, France : total of 132,967 cases (0.20 percent of population), and a death toll of 25,531 or 19.20 percent.


Germany total cases  top

Germany: total cases
As of 6 May 2020, Germany : total of 164,897 cases (0.20 percent of population), and a death toll of 6,996 or 4.24 percent.


Iran total cases  top

Iran: total cases
As of 6 May 2020, Iran : total of 99,970 cases (0.12 percent of population), and a death toll of 6,340 or 6.34 percent.


Italy total cases  top

Italy: total cases
As of 6 May 2020, Italy : total of 213,013 cases (0.35 percent of population), and a death toll of 29,315 or 13.76 percent.


Portugal total cases  top

Portugal: total cases
As of 6 May 2020, Portugal : total of 25,702 (0.25 percent of population), and a death toll of 1,074 or 4.18 percent.


Spain total cases  top

Spain: total cases
As of 6 May 2020, Spain : total of 219,329 cases (0.47 percent of population), and a death toll of 25,613 or 11.68 percent.


Switzerland total cases  top

Switzerland: total cases
As of 6 May 2020, Switzerland : total of 29,926 cases (0.35 percent of population), a death toll of 1,482 or 4.95 percent.


United Kingdom total cases  top

United Kingdom: total cases
As of 6 May 2020, United Kingdom : total of 194,990 cases (0.29 percent of population), a death toll of 29,427 or 15.09 percent.


United States total cases  top

United States: total cases
As of 6 May 2020, USA : total of 1,204,475 cases (0.36 percent of population), a death toll of 71,078 or 5.90 percent.


arrow   Previous reports available :
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      May :    1 |  2 |  3 |  4 |  5 |