There has been a lot of hype over the new Corona virus pandemic and certainly the media was playing a big role in all this, but governments around the world did they part too, as an unseen mass hysteria has been created. It was end of February, I traveled back from a business meeting in Dublin to London and the local Newspaper cover page only had five words written in huge letters covering the whole page “The killer virus is here!” At that day, the first infected person in Ireland was confirmed. I caught a cold and got sick when I came home, and with all the panic going on, it was decided right away that I should self-isolate and stay at home. Just a few days later that week, all traveling was stopped by our management as a precaution. So far so good, two weeks went bye, I recovered, didn’t had the typical Corona infection symptoms, no fever at all, but therefore a running nose and heavy sneezing which are more typical for a regular cold… at least so they say. Meanwhile, as a result of the apocalyptic media coverage, companies had closed down their offices and restricted travel worldwide, some airlines have faced bankruptcy, schools and universities are closing down and people have bunker-ed up at home preparing for an apocalyptic event, leaving supermarkets with empty shelves behind. Stupid people even started stealing breathing masks and hand sanitizer in hospitals, leaving those who really need this kind of protection exposed to sever threats. Then the government declared the lock down and it really got the taste and feel of the end of the world as we know it. But let’s ask ourselves now, is this really the end?
How dangerous is the Corona virus really?
For the media industry it clearly is the “Event of the year” it seams. It’s like there are no other news anymore at all, blowing this up to an apocalyptic scale. It is hard to tell anymore what news are fake and what are facts, you have some scientists saying one thing, other ones claiming this is all global conspiracy, and we the people are left in between, insecure and frightened, not knowing who to trust anymore. So let us bring some light in the dark, and just to make it clear, I neither wanna support or deny any of the many theories out there. I think at this point we don’t really care if the source was a BBQ bat or if it’s manmade, has it been released on purpose by the Chinese, the USA, was it a lab accident or gods will? All we need to know now is how bad is this getting and are we all going to die? I have found this data being published in different places and the intent is to give a realistic and overview of the severity of this worldwide pandemic. I will also name and link the sources, so anyone can decide for themselves if it really is time to panic, shut everything down and flee in the mountains to survive, or to simply sit it out on the couch watching Netflix?
It was at that time when I was sitting sick at home, when I started to do some research. At first I simply wanted to convince my wife that I am not going to die from a bloody cold, but when I started looking for reliable data, it was actually all becoming more and more intriguing. It turned out that only rarely you could find reliable facts, numbers or any links to the sources of the information associated with news articles that started to sound like the unavoidable end of humanity. There were statistics released that you can monitor in real time, for example on www.bing.com/covid, which felt so surreal, like it’s some kind of strategy game. Whenever they announced someone died, you could rarely hear what age this person was, or if he/she suffered from any other sever illness before. It really started to be interesting when the first accusations were released that the numbers being presented are not realistic, not only in a sense that the number of infected people is probably tenfold than what they say, there is not even a proper way to confirm the infection as test were only available in limited quantities. Then I found out that they actually pronounce everyone who dies a victim of the COVID-19 virus, just by confirming from a blood sample that they had the virus in the blood. In other words, if you got hit by a bus and you had the virus in your blood, you would automatically become an official COVID-19 victim! That sounded really wrong and would explain why the mortality rate in Italy suddenly became so high. Well I guess strange practice in Italy that is, then I heard that in Germany the renowned “Robert Koch Institute” advised pathologists not to do any autopsies of the deceased, as it was to risky. How does this make sense? In such times of uncertainty, is it not important to know what is killing us and how? The contradiction in all of this made me curious so I started to do some digging…
How deadly is the new virus?
Well let’s see, as of today 5th April 2020, 6pm British Standard time, the virus has as per official statistics killed a total of 64.500 people worldwide. We are now 4 months into the pandemic as the outbreak officially started in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Currently we are still looking forward to the peak of this pandemic that should hit us within the next 10 days or so, therefore it is expected for those numbers to continue to grow significantly. In some media you could hear that this is allegedly the worst pandemic outbreak in history of mankind, but is it really? I mean of course people die, some die from the virus itself, but what to think of the fact that they simply count everyone who dies in this statistic, is this maybe the reason why Italy has so far the greatest death toll globally? Even if the numbers were right, and I am sure they will be corrected in the aftermath, how does this compare to other similar diseases?
The common Influenza or seasonal flue kills around 650.000 people every year! That despite being very well known for decades, having all kind of cures and vaccine available. Please let that sink in here for moment, those are statistics, meaning this numbers are verified, not speculations. Before all this hysteria, did we walk around with masks and hand sanitizer in the winter season because of the risk to get the flue? Did we stop all international flights, closed down borders and declared quarantine under marshal law? NO we did not, in fact that happened never before. Now it was mentioned before that this is apparently the worst pandemic in human history, which is of course also not true. I mean have we forgotten the Spanish Flue that had a death toll of around 50 million people a hundred years ago between 1918-1920? What about he Plague which was also called the black death, wiped out 200 million people between 1347 and 1351, returning several times over a period of 300 years! The Great Plague of 1665 was the last and one of the worst of the centuries-long outbreaks, killing 100,000 Londoners in just seven months! And there have been more like the Smallpox, or Cholera, just to name a few more that prove that statement simply wrong.
In fact it is very wrong if you look at the following, the Imperial College published on 21th March in the Lancet a Report on the estimate on the severity of the Corona virus based on real numbers and the only autopsies that were done in Wuhan after the outbreak. The presented numbers clearly suggest that the mortality risk is very present for people over the age of 69 and people with respiratory illness and weakened immunity systems due to other life threatening health conditions, but the same applies for example to the flue. The age group between 40-49 has already only a 0.595% infection-fatality ratio dropping significantly the younger people are. Now this is not me trying to imply that this disease is not killing people, it certainly does and yes there might be cases that also fall out of this statistics, like young nurses, doctors or bus drivers, a child somewhere, however in the cases of health care and other public service workers who are dealing full time with many infected, probably working long hours under extreme circumstances and might be continuously exposed to the virus, adding to this weakness and exhaustion, that could certainly be an explanation. As there probably is for any other case, some kind of other per-existing condition that might have even not been diagnosed, like a weak immune system, but we simply don’t know, because they are not doing any autopsies, remember? Being asked the question, “Lothar Wieler – President of the Robert Koch Institue” confirmed that the average age of diseased is 81 years, that actually supports the below findings in the report from Wuhan. It would be cruel to say that it’s not dangerous then because it only kills old and weak people, but it certainly is worth knowing that the average life expectation in Germany is 80 years. Also just as a reminder, the flue affects this particular group also the most. And then there is also this interesting read here, where “Public Health England” published this statement regarding the COVID-19 virus, classifying it as at NOT being considered a high consequence infectious disease!
IMPORTANT NOTE! I also want to make sure I don’t get misunderstood here, by no means was it my intention to disrespect anyone, all the public service workers that work so hard during this times deserve our deepest respect, also to all the people who have lost loved ones during this pandemic, my deepest sympathies, we all feel your loss. The final conclusion here is that this virus regardless the fact that it certainly is dangerous and it kills people, seems not to have the potential of being a super virus that will wipe out humanity.
The end of life as we know it?
I will stop here, as being said it is not my intention to support or oppose any conspiracy theories, even if there is something bigger behind all this, we wouldn’t be able to prove it until it all unfolds. So let’s therefore rather stick to what we do know and how this will affect us. Assuming that this virus hopefully is not the one everyone was awaiting in fear, that will wipe out half of humanity, life will soon continue but probably not as we were used to it. I know, I know, I have just tried to convince you that this whole virus outbreak is not as bad as the media and governments like us to believe and now I do say that this is the end of life as we know it? Well, both appears to be true I am afraid. Governments all over the world have taken steps to contain the pandemic, being justified or not, and this will have consequences to an extend that no one of us might be thinking about yet. I am no expert in finances and global economics, but I guess it is simple math that shutting down the world for a few months, will have a significant impact on the economy. Again, some already predict that this will be the worst economic crisis we have seen in history, and this time I do believe them. I don’t know if someone did all this deliberately, but it is a fact that what will come next will be very ugly indeed. There are for once, uncountable small businesses like restaurants, cafe’s, bars that will face bankruptcy worldwide. It will certainly also affect big companies and corporations but they will get some help to be saved. Still, people are insecure, they won’t make any investments, buying cars, furniture, electronics, going on holidays, traveling, flying… All this industries, and I can’t possibly list it all, are going to suffer serious consequences from this. This will result in unseen numbers of unemployment everywhere! Some of us are unfortunate and have already lost their jobs during this early phase of the pandemic, but many more will follow. On a larger scale it might be also whole countries that will not survive this crisis financially, as for example many European countries like Italy, Spain, Greece, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria just to name a few, were struggling for years financially even far before that crisis hit them. Just as I was finishing this article up, I found a post about as many as 50.000 of my fellow Croatians apparently already plan to return to their home country from other EU countries like Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK where they have lost their jobs. I am pretty sure that in other countries like Poland and Romania it will be similar. How will these countries be able to deal with so many additional people at once and how will they recover? Will Europe save them or is this eventually the breaking point, where the European Union will finally fall apart? I guess we will have to sit this one out too, as we don’t have many options anyways, but one should know what is coming as it is going to affect us all.
Will we loose our freedom?
Why I raise this question? Well, I do believe that our freedom is at stake currently and we might not be able to do anything about it. The whole Brexit thing is an excellent example, Brits were given two options and they voted for leaving the EU, maybe not all of them, but a majority did, meaning you had your fair choice. But if you look at what happened past 9/11 where the US government introduced and passed a new legislation on how to deal with terrorism, no one asked the public what they think about all this. The same scenario we see already happening right now, some EU countries have started to track mobile phones of infected citizens to prevent them from breaking quarantine, some have introduced laws that vaccination can be forced upon their citizens. It has also been talked for a longer while already that cash payments will soon become history and there are quite some differences even between EU countries. I travel a lot for work, and whilst I don’t recall when I left my house in the UK with cash in my pocket, regardless if I only go to grab a coffee somewhere, in Germany for example you will stay hungry if you don’t have cash on you. Now the pros and cons of paying everything with credit cards might be something we could discuss about, but I can see why a government would like to have total insight and control of all financial transactions. Although I personally don’t have anything to hide, I am not a big fan of the idea that someone needs to know and monitor where and when I had beer with someone. It’s like Orwell’s darkest fantasies are slowly becoming our new reality and wasn’t that something we once associated with hardcore communism under the Soviet Union and other totalitarian systems like the ones in the east German Republic DDR, in Romania under Ceausescu or even in Nazi Germany under Hitler? An absolutely scary thought and I have deliberately not mentioned any of those theories about a “New World Order”, global government and what ever dark scenario comes to your mind. I find it personally scary enough that Facebook knows what my wife and I talked about this morning at breakfast.
So, where does all this lead us? One would hope that we get out of this stronger and more united, that the good in people we prevail, we will help each other and share, help those who are in need and rebuild our lives as they were before. In an ideal world we might have even learned a lesson or two from this and might not repeat the same mistakes from the past. Let’s only mention a few of the good things we have witnessed, the clear water and Dolphins in Venice, or the recovery of the Ozone Hole due to us humans being locked in only for a few weeks. The takeaway from this would be that if we could come together and globally agree to some simple co-ordinated actions, we could probably achieve amazing changes for the better and heal the world. What hinders us to do so? Ignorance, selfishness and greed, I guess you could say that these are exactly the three things that have so negatively impacted the world over centuries. There are people so rich, that they could end hunger in the world just by themselves and yet no one ever does. Even us small people, what have we learned about ourselves? People were fighting over toilet paper in Supermarkets, stockpiling food that you couldn’t find a single item on the shelves in some stores and now whilst we are in lock down, some post pictures with the view from their window whilst others flood public parks despite the government and police asking them not to do so. And what about those licking handles in public transport or spitting on food in the stores? That is the sad reality, this is what we are, we care only about ourselves. Now what does that mean in a worst case scenario? If this crisis goes on and the predictions of an unseen economic crisis become true, I guess you can expect that that will bring out the worst in people too. With potential shortage of food, high unemployment and all kind of restrictions that might follow, panic and despair will spread, violence and crime will rise dramatically with the government not being able to control it with the current means. I guess we all know where this leads too…
Some of you might think now, that I am very negative about all this, well to be honest I actually hope this time that I am so wrong! I am not a believer but at this point I would even say a prayer, “please god prove me wrong and make us all heal again”. The point of all this would be that you hear about all possibilities that are out there, in my profession we evaluate the risk upfront and try to mitigate the potential impact by taking action and putting up preventive measures. To be able to do so, you need to know what your options are and you therefore play out and simulate every possible outcome, including the worst case scenario. So, that is what I have done here, not with the intention to scare you, but rather to give you heads up on what the outcome of all this might be in the very near future, and it might be somewhat different then what people expect it to be. Since I personally don’t expect my prayers to be answered, I will stick to a good old warriors rule: “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst”.