World of Wonders, World of Virus

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.

3 Luisen, 1 Apollonia

The wind still attacks this house fiercely. The doors to my living room and my bathroom rattle, and it is remarkably cold outside. A sharp set back from the nice days we enjoyed, the yellow press calls it “Schwedenschelle” (Swedish slap ?) – who invents these silly names, think “Russenpeitsche” (Russian whip) ? Will the next Eastern cold front be called “Finnenfaust”, Finnish fist ?
When it is too unfriendly outside, and besides permission to go out is restricted anyway, we at least can read about interesting places & persons.
You may remember the portrait of marchesa Luisa CASATI (Ger., Eng.) (1881-1957) I mentioned some posts ago. I am glad to have found this illustrated article about her life on Rocaille, a place worth to be explored, I think. Author and editor is the art historian signora Annalisa P. CIGNITTI.
CASATI was the subject of an exhibition in Venice (article with pictures), and donna CIGNITTI also wrote about the Villa San Michele on Capri where la marchesa lived 1919/1920. There she left an inscription on the wall : “Oser. Vouloir. Savoir. Se-taire”.
“Wagen, wollen, wissen. Schweigen.”
Interestingly this motto can also be found on the wall of Madame Louise EBELs blue room (article) in Paris. Madame EBEL, also an art historian, wrote a book about these scandalous 19th century women Geneviève LANTELME (Eng., Fr.), Henriette MAILLAT, Berthe de COURRIÈRE (Eng., Fr.), la baronne DESLANDES (Eng., Fr.), Mina (= Wilhelmina Apollonia) SCHRADER, and Gisèle d’ESTOC (about).
I have to confess that all but one of these names were unknown to me. And ironically the only one who rung a little bell in the back of my hazy mazy head, SCHRADER, belongs to the person in this list I could find the least about. There is a picture of her in the collection of anarchists’ portraits by Alphonse BERTILLON (collection; about, scroll down).
According to this demoiselle SCHRADER de NYZOT (NYSOLD ? NYSOLI ?) (born 22nd of October 1874) was arrested in Paris when 19 years old, and photographed. I vaguely remember, but have no clue why, that she belongs to the sphere of RODIN – ? Around 1900 she seemingly plans to publish two books, one about La Recherche de Dieu, the other about Les Sources de l’Èlectricité. Maybe, in the end, GOd is electric ?
Sadly I can not fully use The Dictionary of Artists’ Models, edited by Jill Berk JIMINEZ (Chicago London 2001) online from home. And the library is closed, of course, indefinitely.
Meanwhile it’s dark.
The wind is still there, howling. Trusty.
Schwedenschelle. Russenpeitsche.

One Needs Good Shoes

The new year started well around here, and as it is customary at the beginning of a new counting circle there was a Neujahrsspaziergang, a New Year’s walk.
Here follows an image to give you an impression of the area I’m in. Actually it is not Suebia, but Wuerttemberg. The picture was taken this afternoon.

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Yom Kippur 5780

This is a sad day.
In Sachsen-Anhalt (Ger., Eng.) (24% of the parliament‘s seats held by the new nazi party) an armed attack on the synagogue of the city Halle (Ger., Eng.) took place. Actually two dead persons are verified. As I heared in the news this afternoon by a witness, one woman was just walking down the street when she was killed, one man was shot in a kebab shop next to the synagogue.
It is not clear how many attackers are involved, first news said four men in military gear with helmets carried out the attempted assassination. One man seemingly put explosives in front of the synagogue’s door, but there seems to have been no explosion. Also he was not able too shoot into the sacred room through the door or windows. He carried an automated weapon and a shotgun. Eighty to hundred people had gathered to celebrate the Day of Atonement (Ger., Eng.). It is not clear how many attackers are on the lam.
The GBA took over. Thankfully. Because it is sad fact that parts of the Eastern German authorities can not be trusted.
IF it really is what it seems to be, a military style attack on the Jewish community, we face a totally new dimension here.
I wanted to write about Boris the steampunk, and this sick pocket dictator in the White House, but who cares for these sad jokes when people are attacked in a synagogue. In Germany. In this rotten bog called Saxony. Where else ?