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August 10th 2020
Published: August 10th 2020
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Zapiro is being fed with a huge amount of daily "material" by our errant politicians
“Man, do not pride yourselves on your superiority to the animals, for they are without sin, while you, with all your greatness, you defile the earth wherever you appear and leave an ignoble trail behind you…and that is true, alas, for almost every one of us!” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Russian novelist and philosopher in the 1820’s)

There is a classic saying one hears from time to time; “don’t mess with Mother nature”, and it sort of resonates for a short while before our minds leap forward not really wanting to confront what we have done to our planet and sadly, continue to do. The scorecard in terms of our impact on the physical environment is mind boggling and includes; overpopulation, pollution, burning fossil fuels and deforestation all of which in their own unique way have triggered climate change, soil erosion, poor air quality, melting of polar ice caps, undrinkable water, losses of entire species across the animal and plant kingdoms. Bottom line, we have stuffed it up big time and it will take a miracle of monumental proportions to stem the tide of our habitat destruction. Whilst this has been unravelling for decades, humans somehow continue to see logic and
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Laugh or cry?
sense in trying to understand what happens when animal viruses interact with humans and so scientists and the like spend interminable amounts of time and money doing “research” in the belief that this will advance our species and deal with any pesky little virus that does leap across the divide. Does this qualify as “messing with nature”? The indisputable fact is that we find ourselves as a species in 2020, living in a global pandemic on a scale never seen before, wondering where and how this all started. At this point, some eight months later, we have no idea of its true origins other than a stark reminder that it originated from some form of experimentation involving animals, humans and laboratories. The scary thing about Covid-19 is that any “breakthroughs” in understanding its spread or impact one week are then turned on their head a week later as it twists and turns defying any logical progression. For example, many countries experiencing a resurgence or second wave are discovering too late that the virus is back. Increasingly there is a realisation that the number of untested people who are infected without even knowing or showing symptoms is far greater than initially
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Coronapreuner episode ONE
thought. Australia, thought they were “out the bush” and then Melbourne gets smacked with huge infections and a rigid lock down is now in place. Italy has recently reported that, based on a survey done in Lombardy, their original epicentre, 30 percent of people with antibodies were asymptomatic and therefore potentially spreading the disease without even knowing. This has resulted in scientists around the world desperately trying to find ways of detecting its resurgence at an earlier stage. One method is sewage surveillance (a good time not to be a scientist specialising in this field) which means testing waste water flushed away by humans. This worked in Holland where coronavirus detected in sewage preceded an increase in infections. And then get this, mother nature may even step in, as the ultra-sensitive sense of smell that dogs possess is being harnessed to potentially sniff out the virus. Doggy trials underway in Europe. There are also “pandemic drones” being outfitted with sensors and vision systems to spot people with tell-tale signs of respiratory infections within crowds. These are just some of the desperate measures being pursued in many countries as lockdowns are not really working and there is no vaccine in sight.
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Coronapreuner episode TWO
A sensible conclusion at this point in time, which will need to be revised next week, is that there are more questions than answers and the one take away thought is that nothing should ever come as a surprise in the future.

On the other hand, we have an econodemic of major significance as global economies lurch from one crisis riddled week to the next. In America the major stock indexes march steadily upwards to the drum beat that the “worst is over” and a lot of the euphoria defies gravity. Not claiming to be an economist but, millions of people have lost their jobs, company bankruptcies are rising at an alarming rate, entire industries very survival is threatened (airlines, travel and leisure), economies are contracting and in recession. And then to cap it all, “quantitative easing” which rose out of the ashes of the 2008 financial crisis, has now been replaced by a thing called “stimulus packages” which is a quaint term describing how Central Banks are pumping huge amounts of new money minted out of thin air into their economies to ease the pain of Covid-19’s impact. Perspective is always needed so consider this; the American Government
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PANDA graph....does lock down WORK?
has “printed” more new dollars in a recent 30-day span than they had done in the two centuries following its founding. If this dollar printing machine produced a dollar per second, it would take 32 years to print a billion and 31,000 years to print a trillion. By the end of their “stimulus package” plan almost 7 trillion dollars will have been pumped into the US economy. This is uncharted territory and much like Covid-19, there is no certainty as to what the final impact will be, but messing with an economy on this scale can only have an unhappy ending. The airline industry is on life support and it is estimated that air travel in June was down by 96 percent versus a year ago. Planes are being mothballed in huge numbers and the knock-on effect is massive; fewer parts for planes and other products and services in their unique supply chain and it is the connective link to so many other sectors e.g. tourism, luxury goods, financial services and many others. Confusion reigns for the aspirant traveller as some countries are effectively “shut down”, questions abound about the safety of flying and the prevalence of the virus on
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PANDA graph...where is the doomsday garbage verbalised by the "Command Council"?
board and then the Brits go trundling off to Spain and happily share their virus with the locals before being chased back to the UK. This did not advance the airlines cause at all!

The whole “Work from Home” phenomenon is becoming increasingly better understood. Studies reveal that on average people’s work days are close to an hour longer, the number of online meetings is up 13 percent and people are sending 40 percent more emails to colleagues. Studies continue on the impact on productivity, morale, culture, costs and other factors. There is absolutely no doubt that the lines between work and home/leisure have become blurred as people juggle with family commitments and the stress of economic recession. On the upside, hours spent in traffic commuting to or from work are now being put to productive use.

Here in sunny South Africa we lurch from week to week amid a toxic cocktail of bizarre decision making and the antics of our own unique crop of “Covidpreuners”, a species of politician unique to this country who are a shameful disgrace to all of humanity. The actions of our Government in dealing with Covid-19 remain bizarre and one needs to look to PANDA, which is a group of actuaries, economists, data scientists, statisticians, medical doctors, lawyers, engineers and businesspeople that states its objective as “working together to question and replace bad science with good science”. There are some very clever people in this working group. Their comprehensive, globally based studies conclude that lock downs do not reduce the pace at which the virus spreads. The virus will do what the virus will do, whether or not the populace has been locked down or not. This applies in South Africa too. The graph included overlays the lockdown levels over the growth in positive cases, showing no change in the rate as lockdown was eased. If lockdown worked, we should have experienced a growth in positive tests and deaths as we went from Level 5 to 4 to 3. Wherever one looks, one sees the same curve, and that curve doesn’t depend a jot on whether there is a lockdown in place or not. The real problem is that Government simply does not want to look (is there understanding?) at retrospective modelling which PANDA has mapped into the graph included projecting deaths ahead. They have this to say; South Africa is on track to be the worst performing nation in the world in terms of age-based mortality, which will place its policy responses under a giant international microscope. Those who think that South Africa needs more deaths in order to justify the destructive lockdown have perhaps not realised the impact of adding deaths to the tally. Having implemented one of the harshest and longest lockdowns in the world, being the worst-performing country would remove all doubt that lockdown was a terrible policy to apply in South Africa and that it should have been scrapped as soon as it became evident that it was causing more loss of life than Covid-19 and when it became clear that the healthcare system was as prepared as it ever would be. This is now clearly evident with a 60 percent increase this year to date in terms of non Covid-19 deaths such as complications resulting from limited or no access to scheduled treatment for other life-threatening diseases such as TB, HIV and others. The mind boggles!

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Alfred Einstein

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10th August 2020

Ah, Tim...as articulate and thought provoking as ever! Thank you 😊. I think back to our discussion before the lockdown - about who should take responsibility for what. Governments, individual citizens, the vulnerable? It was all supposition, conjecture, hearsay, projections, alternate reasons, and and and.... And it seems that there is still supposition, conjecture, hearsay, .... and and and. Who can say who was right? Who has it right going forward? One thing, however, seems to be definite - we have been shaken up and life will never be quite the same again! 😔😊
10th August 2020

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Thanks for feedback Megs. As always, much appreciated. The one indisputable fact emerging is the global epidemic in terms of the qualities of politicians. Somehow a system needs to be found whereby only honest, decent, hard working people are appointed who understand what it means to serve their populace. In our lifetime...never!
10th August 2020

As always an interesting read
Keep them coming
10th August 2020

As always an interesting read
Keep them coming
10th August 2020

Covid-19
Thanks Brett. Never a straight line with Covid-19
11th August 2020

thank you a very well thought out read

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