Lock-down or hope for the best?

Lock-down or hope for the best?

The Coronavirus in Russia: where is Vladimir Putin?

It is really funny but I think President Putin has been struck by the Coronavirus and is now in intensive care. It seems to be the only explanation as so far he is the only world leader who hasn’t appeared on TV with a single message to the nation regarding the Coronavirus.  

Vladimir PutinYou won’t believe it but it is true: as I write this blog, Russia’s leader is still hiding from public. 

Could you imagine a US President or a British PM being absent in time of a world or a national crisis?

Here’s why: Recently Putin proposed amendments to the Constitution that would ‘zero down’ (if I’m correct in back translation) his previous terms as President and he’s going to be eligible to be elected twice after 2024, when his current, fourth term as President, ends. 

On April 22 Vlad set the nationwide vote to approve his desire to rule Russia forever. We understand that it might be cancelled as all public events exceeding the number of 50 people have already been banned in the country. Logically, you have to cancel this major event, too. Politically, he is not in a position to postpone it as the economic situation here is worsening fast and too many people loudly saying it is a classic coup de etat, South American style. This is why the guy is hiding from public as he has nothing to say: he can’t say that the virus danger is nothing to worry about. At the same time, if he says it is dangerous then how could he let people go to the polling stations? 

I understand that becoming a Tsar is the #1 thing to him compared to the danger of the virus in his country. This is happening right at the moment when Donald Trump or Boris Johnson are everyday on TV informing their nations on steps they take to fight the virus. 

This is the funny side of the story: we’re all worried about Vlad fighting for his life in the ICU. Ok, what is going on in Russia now? 

All major public events exceeding gathering of 50 persons are banned or re-scheduled. The schools are now ordered non-mandatory attendance but still not completely closed. Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin is actively working on the crisis, informing public on the developments. 

Medical TeamI think that the threat is exaggerated to some degree. It is far from the most dangerous disease in human history, though it looks like one for people over 80 with 14.3 per cent mortality rate at this age. I understand that the quarantine measures are being taken to avoid the influx of 70+ patients into hospitals that would break down the healthcare system. Probably the softer British approach (i.e. mitigation) is more efficient but you can’t say it at this stage. 

The point I’m making is that in Russia people are not too worried about the Coronavirus: it is obviously underestimated. Soon the virus will hit the elderly creating havoc in the health system, and spreading panic all over the country. Yes, people are buying up toilet paper and food, and the shelves are emptying but there’s no panic so far. According to the official stats, only 93 people in Russia as of March 17 have been diagnosed with the virus. On the other hand, independent experts say that about 1,500 people have already died from the virus being wrongly diagnosed. 

To my family and me, it is now more economic rather than medical issue: plans are being ruined and the Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergeyuncertainty is the worst…

Still, we’re living in a unique time nobody could predict a couple of months ago. The world is changing dramatically and when the crisis is over, hopefully by mid-summer, it will never be the same. 

 

 

HAS THE UK GOT IT RIGHT AND EVERYONE ELSE GOT IT WRONG?

Most countries are now following the “lock-down” model as I write this – not good old United Kingdom, where Boris seems to be suggesting doing very little – you know, let nature take away the weakest and see what happens. Yes, he’s following medical advice, apparently, and while he suggests that people in

the UK don’t go to pubs and clubs and restaurants, and congregate amongst other people, he’s not actually doing anything to stop anyone. The schools remain open, and the rationale there seems to be if the kids from a background of poverty want to eat, you have to let them go to school. What has my place of birth come to?

The current advice of washing hands thoroughly using soap and water, and other absolutely basic hygienic actions, should be superfluous. Why on earth do any of us, in 2020, need to be told about basic hygiene? What’s wrong with us? I read an article the other day that Turkey remains relatively unscathed by the Coronavirus because its people already have very clean habits –washing hands as soon as entering the house, washing hands both before and after meals, and washing before prayers five times a day…….

New Royal Papworth Hospital
New Royal Papworth Hospital

My other frustration, no, pure anger, is directed firmly at the panic-buying morons who have made sure

that it’s almost impossible to find loo-rolls and sanitisers anywhere. Surely, all that achieves is stopping others from being hygienic! Just how crazy is that?

The UK itself has a lot to answer for, and I’m not talking about the lack of isolation. As my big brother Henry mentioned to me the other day, (he’s more learned than me, and most other people come to that), the place has developed into a services industry environment, and given up so much manufacturing. So, no ability to produce a vaccine when one is invented; the Chinese seriously funded the research but the UK government hasn’t, so the Chinese will get the vaccine initially and the UK wont.

Similarly, there’s no longer any facility to manufacture ventilators at the required rate – the nearest big factories are in the EU, and it’s been indicated that there will be no export outside the EU until internal demand has been satisfied; so tough luck, UK, you seem to be at the back of the queue! 

We simply do not have the basic resources to protect those brilliant front-line medical staff, which in itself is scandalous, and we have far fewer intensive care beds than comparable countries, far fewer hospital beds in general. The non-medical bean-counter idiots that tend to run our health services see an empty bed as a wasted resource, so when we get an emergency, such as a pandemic, guess what, the UK is screwed!

NIH LogoNon-qualified individuals giving advice on social media is another bugbear of mine. Shut the fuck up, please. Fake news and indeed fear is as contagious as the virus.

I am happy to admit that I have turned from a “What’s all the fuss about?” just a few weeks ago, to now accepting that all of us are indeed facing potentially a massive problem that could well completely change the way we all live in the future.

The goal, surely, is to minimise spread of the virus, so that health resources are available to those who need them most. None of us should be the person that takes up medical time and space that someone Roger Baraelse needs much more urgently.

How do we do it? There are many experts in the field, and politicians making the decisions, that get paid shedloads of money to get it right. Let’s hope for the sake of humanity, they succeed.

 

 

Corona, an unfortunate name for a beer

This is my third time writing this first paragraph. Each time I start, it ends up being all about The Donald. That’s not right and not what I want to chat about but here we are… 

America has closed it’s borders to International Flights. And even though the virus is inside the country, domestic air travel remains. Once all the spices are in the pot you don’t need to add more, simply stir.

Everybody has had the flu. Yeah, it kinda’ sucks but only for a couple of days. I was wondering: if folks under, say age forty only have flu symptoms, then why are they also staying home? It seems if you need herd immunity to protect people over seventy, the way forward is to let people who are not at risk of death or even serious illness to follow their normal routine. 

Couple on BikesFrom what I have read, young children show few symptoms. Almost nothing. So why close schools? I would think that what you need is to isolate folks at risk, regardless of age, and deliver food until a vaccine is available. I’m sure I must be wrong because the smart guys would have done that by now. So yeah, I really don’t understand.

On the other hand, if you wanted to set-out to create a serious recession, this is the fast way. Nobody works, no bills get paid. How many million cars do the banks want back anyway? All of them? I freely admit I don’t know how this is supposed to work or what will happen next.

It may be that the US is following the worst path: not on a serious, Chinese style lockdown but not on the UK style response either. No isolation and no herd immunity. I do hope I’m wrong about that.

If I had to offer a guess about my country’s response it would be that we continue to react after the fact. Photograph of Dean LewisThere will be a serious curfew only after everybody is already sick. Only order the ramp-up of respirator manufacturing after people die. After all, we only made test kits available two months after we knew they would be needed. This is lame. Maybe I do understand after all… 

 

 


I’m going to add a paragraph after I finished this article because this really weighs on me: Why the hell is the US Government trying to buy exclusive rights to that German company’s potential vaccine? You should be offering to buy it and post it on the Internet. If you somehow manage to pull this off you should go to The Hague for Crimes Against Humanity. Thousands will die before Tuesday, November 3rd.

2 Replies to “Lock-down or hope for the best?”

    1. Yeah, I agree Steve. Just in the hours after I wrote my article, we see US Hospitals flooded with young people. They insist on not following guidelines and continue to mix with others. Even though few of them will die, enough are requiring medical help to stress the health system. The UK also needs to change course. Perhaps both countries should move to mandatory regulations backed-up by police.