I am sorry to bore you dear reader, but that nasty virus has found its way into this blog, too. What is, of course, no wonder. After all a virus’ job is to spread, and it does so, not absolutely unimpressed, but at least a bit irritated, by our helpless efforts to built some obstacles in its way.
The virus sees us humans only as places for multiplying. And it does so until the host’s body feels the need to fight against the virus load, for example with fever, or other reactions that we call symptoms. Only then we realise that we have an unwanted guest. But because the incubation time is up to ten or twelve days, we carry the virus around and easily spread it, by coughing, talking, touching other individuals, or surfaces. The only way to break this circle is the isolation of the virus carrier, or distance between possible carriers. In those societies hit by the virus now, this should be understood by basically all grown up, rational thinking, and responsible humans.
With the notable exception of some parts of Michigan.
(Edit : And elsewhere.)
But this is not what makes me write this chitchat here. I only wonder what these middle-aged, white, male protesters (at least that is the group I saw on photographs) mean with their “freedom” they demand ?
The freedom to catch a potentially deadly virus ? Goodness, that’s the virus’ business, and be assured it will get all of us. The freedom to spread it ? See above. The freedom to be irresponsible, reckless, and plain idiotic ? I guess this is guaranteed by the American Constitution, if a little limited, possibly, but who knows. In a country ruled by the creature who right now besmirches the White House, anything is possible.
No, what makes me wonder is the numbers in Northern America, the United States to be specific. Of course I am “mathematically challenged”, sorry if I bore you while repeating this ; but they can not be accurate. It simply can not be that the US reaches a kind of plateau already. And according to this article here, things are pretty much – excuse me – crap. If you do not want to read this text completely now, allow me to cite a paragraph that summarises it partly :
In that light, America’s 20 percent positivity rate is disquieting. The U.S. did almost 25 times as many tests on April 15 as on March 15, yet both the daily positive rate and the overall positive rate went up in that month. If the U.S. were a jar of 330 million jelly beans, then over the course of the outbreak, the health-care system has reached in with a bigger and bigger scoop. But every day, 20 percent of the beans it pulls out are positive for COVID-19. If the outbreak were indeed under control, then we would expect more testing—that is, a larger scoop—to yield a smaller and smaller proportion of positives. So far, that hasn’t happened.
In layman’s terms : The official numbers do not show that anything slows down. There is seemingly absolutely no implication to assume that the spread of the virus and the illness it causes – that is deadly for a still unknown percentage of patients – slows, levels, or even goes down / declines. This means that any (serious or un-serious) talk about “opening the country” is, right now, baseless rubbish.
One could assume that the US in total is a kind of life experiment. The federal state under this abomination of a “president” failed totally to tackle the pandemic, not least because the “leader” is intellectually unable to understand how a virus-based infection works, and is absolutely resistant to experienced expertise. This nothing new, but under these circumstances it is, sadly, causing deadly consequences. But it is not the vacuum at the top, it is also the ignorance and mistrust of parts of the society towards anything called “state”. I even go as far as to state that those blokes in Michigan abrogate the contract social, the basis of a civilised society. They simply put their own, short-sighted idea of “freedom” or whatever they mean, before the interest of the rest of the society, the well-being if their fellow citizens : They insist on the freedom of spreading a deadly virus.
So they seemingly all believe in so-called herd immunity, or in short : “Let GOd sort them out. The old, the weak, those with pre-existing illnesses – heck yeah, everybody has to go sooner or later, doesn’t he ?! Just nature’s way of thinning the herd. Survival of the fittest, ya’know ?!”
Am I over interpreting ? In parts of Europe, in Germany at least, we see that the rate of those who have survived the infection slowly rises, the number of new infections stabilises or even shrinks, the death rate is stable. But it is a fragile situation, it can turn back to rising infection rates, hence deaths. We were able to keep the hospitals and clinics away from collapse. Italy, Spain, others, were not so lucky. And GOd alone may know how it will develop in the UK.
All this “opening up”, “going back to business” here is slow, and rightly so – let the merchants holler & cry. All the actions taken, sanctions even, worked, in the sense that they helped to slow the spread of the virus. Nothing is here on Earth that can eradicate this virus. We can eradicate the illness it causes by vaccination, perhaps some day the damn thing can not breed anymore in humans – but even then it will take very long until it vanishes, and is then still alive in some high security lab as sample only.
This means that our new “normal” will be a bit different from our old “normal”, and, frankly, I can not imagine what this will involve. I think we will have to learn from Sweden and similar societies with similar approach. But what you can already see right now is that the Swedish society, as a whole, is very different from others, not only in Europe, but of course in an international perspective. The keywords may be trust, consideration, in the end humanistic values : Nothing that counts in Michigan, or any other part of Trump world.