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Published: June 11th 2020
Covid-19“If one corrects a mistake doing the right thing, things become better. If one corrects a mistake doing the wrong thing, things become wronger. It is better to do the right thing wrong than doing the wrong thing right…” – Russell Ackhoff’s f-laws (born 1920, he was a pioneer in the field of operations research, systems thinking and management science).
Graphs telling a story.
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Here we are into month eight of the Covid-19 pandemic, not forgetting it reared its ugly little multi-spiked head in Wuhan, China in November 2019. Ironically, we know as much about this virus today as was the case then. Very little! There is no vaccine and no cure yet despite the very best brains and pharmaceutical giants literally throwing the medical science laboratory and bank vault at the problem. Why does it not seem to affect young people under the age of 18-19? Why have the dramatic early projections on infections and deaths not materialised? What purpose is served by the huge testing process other than to invoke contact tracing and subsequent isolation when a person is found to be infected? The number of people tested globally is a fraction of the total infectable population. South Africa, by way of
Another graphical story...
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example, has conducted 920,064 tests to date out of a population of 55 million with 45,973 confirmed cases of infection. What does this prove? More than 50 percent have recovered and many of the remainder are likely recovering. What will never be known is; how many untested people have contracted the virus, experienced mild or no symptoms and then recovered? Lots of questions, few answers.
Let’s imagine for a second that five years hence one is sitting around a camp fire, under a brilliant star lit African sky. Ideally one would be soaking up the moment, listening to the night sounds and reflecting on another wonderful day in the African bush. And then, gazing into the mesmerising flames of the fire, someone says: “Geez, what happened to the World five years ago with that coronavirus thing?” There would be a flood of different thoughts and emotions swirling in the minds of those sitting there but, assuming I was confronted with this question, I would narrow it down to a few key words. Firstly, fear, panic and confusion
, would sum up the human emotions many would have experienced and those three words underpinned so much of what happened once the
SA Age profile for Covid-19
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virus made its threatening presence known. Secondly, politicians, medical and scientific experts and the media
, became the key role players in determining the bewildering, frenzied cocktail of decisions and events that unfolded and reshaped the World as we knew it. In no time, we not only had a pandemic
but added an econodemic
This may appear too simplistic a bush camp fire summary of “that event” five years ago and there is little merit in dwelling on politicians, who fuelled by panic and the rampaging media, made some incredible mistakes. Just maybe by the time of that campfire moment, many countries across the globe would have had massive post Covid-19 enquiries into the manner in which their respective Governments handled or mishandled what they imposed on their citizens and the resultant carnage way beyond the direct virus impact. Will we have seen Governments being ousted out of power and widespread reshaping of the political landscape?
The media frenzy needs attention as it has led to a crisis of massive misinformation. Ignoring social media for the moment, it is the mainstream media in print, radio, television, documentary and video form which has created this epic
The Don...all that changes by the day is the depth of the crap he sinks into
infodemic. Consider the following statistics based on irrefutable analysis. The total mentions in the media of recent virus pandemics reveals; HIV 69.5 million, SARS 66.3 million, MERS 33.1 million, Ebola 16.2 million
and wait for it, Covid-19, 2.1 billion in just eight months!
Context and perspective are always necessary when confronting raw numbers. In America, since September 2019, 36 million people were infected by influenza with roughly 22,000 dying. Globally, it is estimated that close to 700,000 people die as a result of influenza related respiratory illnesses. Apart from shutting down schools, no other quarantine actions are taken.
Just maybe, the graphs included will cause a huge amount of reflection as this unprecedented lock down wreaks havoc and destruction despite Covid-19 punching way below its projected death rate. The first, Fatality rate of Covid-19 well below 0,1 percent of the population,
is as at 17 May based on data for 46 countries accounting for 94 percent of World deaths. The total deaths have since increased to 406,469 as of today, 8th
June 2020. This represents 0.00739 percent of the 5.5 billion population in the 46 countries. Worldodometer.com reports that there have been 7,109,768 infection cases to date
Trevor Noah must be worried by our endless number of comedians!
of which 3,468,788 have recovered. Here’s the real kicker; of the 3,234,511 currently infected patients, 98 percent have a mild condition
and 2 percent are serious or critical.
The second graph from no less than the WHO, Covid-19’s impact on age groups
, clearly demonstrates what we all know and that is this virus affects mainly older folk. No different here in sunny South Africa as shown in the third graph, SA has the same pattern of Covid deaths per age group.
A fact; people aged 70 and older are 8.5 times more likely to die with Covid-19 than those aged 20-69. So, a key inquiry question may just be; why did Governments around the World decide not to take drastic measures to protect their older populations rather than closing down the economy and educational institutions?
After all, the statistics and increasingly heard voices of epidemiologists and the medical/scientific community, strongly indicate the virus is not as lethal as originally projected. It is argued that even if infections should rise again or a second wave arrives in the Northern Hemisphere winter, is a lock down effective?
We all have our independent views on the media but my take, for what it is worth, is that I believe the media in many cases shapes the narrative to suit an undefined agenda and there is no doubt it has made little effort to extinguish a gentle bush fire and instead turned it into a raging inferno feeding on panic, fear and confusion.
Deep breath and back to the camp fire five years hence. Having flogged the Covid-19 thing, back to other matters at that time. Unbelievably three game reserves north west of Johannesburg had to de-horn their rhino populations owing to no tourists cruising around the park which sparked the poachers into brazenly killing a few rhinos for their horns adding to the thousands slaughtered in prior years. And this is the nauseating part; these horns, sold at $60,000 per kg, find their way to mainly Chinese
buyers who use them for “medicinal purposes.” They could simply chew their finger nails and achieve the same effect.
South Africa had been fingered with imposing the most draconian lock down regulations in the World plus it was one of the few countries to impose a curfew and introduce the military to patrol the streets and arrest any transgressors. In the process, 11 citizens lost their lives at the hands of the police and army including Collins Khosa, attacked and killed in his own yard in Alexandria by the military. A pathetic and insulting attempt was made to “investigate” his death and the Minister of Defence simply brushed it aside exonerating the army from any culpability. And what did South Africans do about it? Nothing! There should have been national outrage on a scale far greater than what was unravelling in the USA at that time when a young Black man was killed by a police officer.
It is at this point, the embers in our camp fire die down and with a tinge of sadness and possibly, shame, we head for that cosy bush tent.
Mistakes were made and just maybe, too much time and effort was spent fixing the wrong things?
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