Just in the process of making an entry for April 27. Have to catch some vital tasks first but will be back at it shortly. As a warm up for panic reduction, have a look at this morning's Worldometers figures. Perhaps this should boost panic but if it does, it will not be due to Covid figures but rather due to other health hazards'! Staying indoors might also protect you from auto accidents - obviously a major outdoor threat!! Cancer - hmm - really scary but hiding may not be much help there! Even normal seasonal flu should be a bit of a worry. And if you have a cigarette in your mouth - yow! - scoping the number on that issue may kick you into the unlisted 'heart attack' stat! I wonder if the alcohol figure is going to get higher? That might be one of the more pleasant solutions to the current mess!!
WHO expresses concern that Covid allows people who have had it to be re-infected. That sounds rather worrisome but I gather that the statement is based on Chinese experiences where 'victims' fluctuate between testing free of the virus and then testing positive - meanwhile having no visible symptoms other than the test results. It isn't a case of a person being seriously ill, seemingly recovering, and then at a later date (but obviously not too much later, given the disease only being a few months old) getting hit a second time. Given the Swedish approach of not worrying about minor asymptomatic case impact, this apparent lingering of the virus is not a major concern. Lingering vs re-infection, might be a more accurate take. But the WHO impression given to the masses is that there is a major threat with Covid due to this sinister 'hazard'. There seems to be evidence as well that the few people who show this 'lingering' are people with general immunity issues and their system seems unable to totally wipe out the covid virus.
Contrast these Canadian news stories with the Swedish experience. Two different worlds. One world is very similar to how life flowed prior to Covid, basically relaxed and without undue fear. The other world is like listening to a scary fairy tale. Has reality changed or are we witnessing the impact of a mental virus? Notice too the hesitancy that exists in stepping out of the party line and appearing to be an irresponsible ogre. And what would the Swedish view be of the public dollars being lavishly tossed around - would the citizens approve? Would the politicians approve or be embarrassed or marvel that foresight wasn't applied so as to avoid the need? How will the Cdn 'reopening' proceedure be any different than what Sweden has done from the start, apart from having to work with a demoralized citizenry and a seriously damaged economic structure? What about confidence in leadership? That is a good thing to have. Do we have it? Should we have it? Are current actions building or eroding it?
The BBC article below gives the impression that Covid is a major new disease that is serious and is here to stay and the only way to deal with it is to try to control its spread - a major challenge given the level of communicability! The virus is the enemy - there is no concern expressed that it may be an indicator of underlying health issues.
As stated by many, why is Covid being treated so differently than the waves of 'pandemics' in the past? Swine flu (if you can read the small print info) was novel, deadly, and didn't shut the world down. Interestingly, wet markets are under attack as being pandemic generators but, perhaps for economic vested interest reasons, even though pigs have drummed up a huge string of pandemic bad press, there is rarely any unease expressed about them. Perhaps men will eventually be able to (or perhaps have) artificially produce a killer virus for military use but it seems that anything that humans can generate with low tech methods never seems to rate as a civilization killer. At least not on its own. As mentioned earlier, a disease like the Black Death did a number but the success was built on widespread filth. Given the miserable disease triggering reputation of pigs, how much objective research has gone into probing whether they may not only be a trigger but perhaps an underlying reason that viral agents can get traction in a population?
Alright! As you will realize from the website that you are on, I have a hobby farm and that means baby chicks at this time of year. Bum-blobs are a problem for a few of the little fluff balls and dealing with this was a vital morning task that pulled me off line. Flowing hot water, the bathroom sink, and fingers, do the job - I am thankful I don't have a 30,000 battery barn! Interestingly, I have never developed any health problem from this undertaking. We are not only bombarded with pathogens on all sides but we are also full of all sorts of microbes, many of which are vital to our survival. The immune system is a complicated marvel! We have cattle and milk a cow, so chicken poop, cow manure, and bull shit are std faire. Farmers tend to be less squeamish than sterilized urban folk! Now back to covid.
One way to illustrate how the covid experience is unfolding is to look at a variety of current news articles and point out recurring patterns and different spins depending on who the article is aimed at. A common issue, that is important to note, is for there to be a blending of 'disease' with 'reaction to the disease' rather than splitting the two issues apart. A huge issue is whether a narrow or a broad view is being taken and whether a short term or long term view is being taken. Underlying concepts such as the 'virus is the problem' vs 'what is the problem that allows the virus to thrive' will have a major impact on the thrust of an article. And often, individuals who are being interviewed are spinning their responses to fit the attitude of the herd that they know will be hearing about their comments. Politics is a reality. And mainstream reporters are usually herd animals and tend to be suspicious of mavericks and black sheep!
Consider the BBC.com morning headlines. Boris is clearly not in Sweden and these headlines indicate he is more focused than Donald Trump! And what about those Yankee Yahoo protesters?
It would seem that the British reporter is not impressed with the American rebels! You can check the article yourself by hitting the button. Another screen shot from the same article appears lower on the page.
Consider the thoughts being expressed in the screen shot from the BBC article text (below). How does an objective observer sort out the various viewpoints. One lady feels that decisions have been data driven. Likely she would have an argument with Anders Tegnell with regard to what data is applicable. Is she and others focused so closely on immediate 'medical data' that wider, eventual, public health factors are being ignored?
Is there any qualification that South Dakota had very few cases up until a huge pork processing plant became infected and created a dramatic hot spot?
The front line nurse has a viewpoint that has to be considered in balance with a broader view. The broader view is "is the seriousness of covid being overestimated AND what is the eventual health, social, and economic impact of leaning TOO heavily on social distancing. I will feature some further Swedish info in a moment which supports what has already been illustrated. The Swedes were concerned about an overload on the health system and took many steps to prevent an infection spike but they were careful not to focus so much on that goal that they created worse problems elsewhere.
The US protests may well be poorly thought out and politically motivated but there may well, also, be an appreciation for the frightful impact of a complete lockdown. One trick ponies tend to be eventual losers but the Swedes were not one trick ponies. They appear to have wisely sized up available data, appreciated that they were being hit with an unfortunate disease - but not the end of the world, looked for a balanced way to move forward, ignored the panic response all around them, and staked out a position - with a provision for feedback and further adaptive moves.
A common article, radio, and TV tactic is to always end comments with a 'death count' be is 2 or 1000. "Too many people have died - this could have been avoided" is a common expression. An approach that might help to clarify the spin would be to ask "Which would you prefer; 10,000 deaths or 3,000,000 deaths?" A response might be "Every life is precious - I don't want to see anyone die!" Now if we have a truly bad disease and REALITY is who is doing the talking and asking the question the next statement in the conversation might be "Look, you have only been given two choices and the default for kicking out an incorrect answer is that the 3,000,000 are going to die. Sorry that you didn't listen very carefully." It would seem that the Swedes, unlike just about everyone else, actually listened to REALITY, appreciated that a hit of some size was inevitable, and have been able to take an action that will likely minimize social chaos and far more associated deaths. Now, whether their wisdom will be swept away by the folly of others is yet to be seen. They are concerned about their elderly and their compromised and their health workers, and they are not into shortsighted and basically flawed shot term actions.
Have a look at a couple of articles out of the April 2 Western Producer and think about the spin angle of the articles and some of the details. The photo below is of a young Saskatchewan man who picked up covid while at university in the US. The photo appeared on the front page and the horror of covid is accentuated in harmony with several other front page headlines. Are we dealing with a major issue or what?!
The headline on the article itself also would seem to give the impression that a serious situation is at hand.
Now look at some of the details. Brock's description of his sickness doesn't sound significantly different than regular flu and notice how he seemed surprised that it wasn't far worse - where did he get the impression that it would be? Also, why was Brock so concerned about the actions of his friends who apparently were not even touched and "weren't taking the virus seriously". And why does Brock tend to trash them for being asymptomatic criminals - would Anders Tegnell agree with his outlook on that matter? And finally, if everyone lacks immunity to covid and the disease is as wildly contagious as it appears to be, what hope is there that 'isolating' in the same house can possibly be worthwhile? Where does that concept originate and does it smack of exaggeration, and just a bit, of tactics like 'blood letting'?
Now, let's look at a second article, also from the April 2 Western Producer. The author hits on a farmer he knows who claimed that covid is an anti-Trump hoax. Having set up a strawman who is easy to kick around, he uses the 'death' card to silence such foolishness AND then goes on to list all the havoc that covid has precipitated - and there is plenty of it. The spin is the integration of the disease with the response. The chaos hasn't been caused because the work force has died nor vital systems have sputtered due to the loss of key men or due to the energy expended digging mass graves. The trigger of the chaos is intense fear and extreme social distancing and lockdowns. The polarized USA does not function like more unified Sweden. Most readers see the Hammer Force headline and might read the article and likely overlook the clumping of disease and response and come away with an even deeper belief that covid is the biggest disease happening in the history of the earth.
I doubt that the author is being dishonest. He is simply on the same channel as a huge segment, as in almost all, of the world's population. But he needs to see the spin that he has bought into. He should case out Swedish wisdom and not be party to advancing the mental pandemic!
An angle that I find irritating is the dogmatic view that 'the virus is the enemy and come hell or high water, we will stand bravely and eliminate it!' Note the April 27 BBC news headline that seems to trumpet that message with seeming proof of success.
It will be interesting to see how New Zealand fares. Notice that a major personal lockdown is still in effect. The problem is not being confronted. The confrontation is being delayed and it can be argued that it is being delayed out of fear and ignorance. Was there an overload on medical services? What sort of economic crevice is being rapidly formed that the nation will be up against having to get over? What is being done to the relationships between New Zealanders? Is Ms Ardern providing leadership that will help the world deal with covid or is she, in effect, supporting the continuation of a doomed policy? Is it possible that the general health of NZers is fairly good and that the lockdown actually is of marginal covid impact value vs having a clear devastation value socially and economically? Should 'isolators' be seen as heroes or deluded cowards?
The National Post has a current article that is aimed at the Canadian audience with the headline "Sweden to shut bars and restaurants that ignore coronavirus restrictions". The impression is that those upstart Swedes are finally getting in line with us Canadians. Terms like 'hardest hit city' and 'ignoring social distancing rules' and 'have to take this seriously' and of course 'more than 1100 people have died' are sprinkled among statements that show there is a gap between the approaches of the two nations. Check it out via the hit button.
The April 26 National Public Radio article (below and I assume European based) is extensive and illustrates the broad and responsive approach the Swedes have taken, and are taking. It was written at the same time as the Cdn National Post article and contains a lot of the same material but comparing the two productions illustrates a significantly different mind set on the part of the writer or editor. I do wonder if some of the political quotes have been carefully worded by the speakers in order to support political considerations - but that is to be expected and one can often read between the lines. I have little doubt that the Swedish authorities realized that there would be deaths and that seniors would be at high risk but they realized a lockdown would ultimately prove to be far more devastating. They went for the hard nosed, long view approach and likely will eventually be proven to have made the best of the sad situation. The NPR article doesn't sugar coat the problem and shows that the Swedish government doesn't down play the seriousness either, but there is an open minded, determined, positive attitude displayed that seems to be lacking in most directions that one looks. The Swedes act as if the world has been here a long time and will likely be here tomorrow as well. Covid isn't the disease that will transform the world into a nightmare setting. Good on the Swedes for setting an admirable example of leadership! Now the impact of the general response elsewhere?? - - - That aspect would seem to contain the possibility of delayed excitement!
April 29 update appears on the next page - see advance button below.