Day two of social distancing. The family and I decided to drive to the coast. I thought we might look for fossils. My sons decided to reenact Ewok battles in the undergrowth. I described the strata of the Glamorgan coast, my current wife went to examine a traffic cone and my sons ran off to throw stones at a boy (correct spelling). Nevermind toilet paper riots, this is going to be a long few weeks.
I’m always worried when the usually reliable Steve Bannon refers to Coronavirus as President Trump’s ” Churchill” moment. This maybe another effort to ‘ flood the zone with shit’ , as Steve describes as spreading alternative views to confuse our opponents but why does everything have to be in reference to World War Two. For four of the six war years, Churchill’s forces did not even face the bulk of the Nazi forces in mainland Europe. If shutting down our economies, perhaps for good in some cases, we need to be sure that the time is being used wisely. Was the ban on flights from China to the USA wise? It may have slowed the contagion but was the time used to mass produce respirators and prepare for mass testing?
Health scares and panics do not have to be countered with more hysteria. Indeed, the Flu pandemic of 1918 is actually called ” Spanish Flu” because news was suppressed in the belligerent states but not in neutral Spain. My two sons are blissfully unaffected by the national anxiety in Britain at the moment. Those with a knowledge of History will remember that the all consuming AIDS virus, which actually did pose a threat to the very existence of mankind, was countered by a massive public education programme. Foot and Mouth disease came and went, as did Bird Flu. Mad cow disease was predicted to kill up to half a million, in really two hundred people were lost.
Fortunately SARS in 2003 and Swine flu in 2009 failed to wipe out civilisation as we know it. Please don’t think I am trying to trivialise the threat we currently face but we need to have an economy to get back to once all this is over. Statistics of deaths per day are setting social media on fire but surely someone can point out to the Twittersphere flu cases alone accounted for over twenty eight thousand extra deaths in 2014/15. On average, the Department of Health and Social Care estimate an average of seventeen thousand “extra deaths”. Indeed, cardiovascular disease accounted for thirty one thousand, three hundred and seven deaths in 2013 in the U.K.. ( readers please note, the sillouette below is not mine!)
The loss of life directly attributable to Coronavirus is worrying but another 2008 economic melt-down may be worse in terms of lives and livelihoods lost. China and the USA refloated the world economy last time. The E.U.and China are in no shape to act to save the world economy. Will President Trump be fooled again into propping up the banks and forgetting his base?
Great to hear from all our usual friends and followers. On a personal note, I’m avoiding doom laden sites offering bunker mentality. Already Facebook warriors are pontificating on their imminent demise whilst demanding their ticket refunding for Salute! For those who know me personally, if there is anything you need and I can help you with, just let me know. If I can get past the masked police, guarding the Spar, I’ll be there. To my friends wider afield , be safe and try to keep calm.