May 172020
 


Gerry Cranham They all fall in the round I call 1963

 

There was this comment at the Automatic Earth yesterday that got me thinking. It was sort of wrapped in a bit of -more- innuendo about health officials not getting the results they were looking for in COVID19 numbers, as if the whole virus event is some goal-seeked conspiracy. You’ll be familiar with it by now.

I said back in the day that measures like lockdowns can’t last long, because people are social animals. You would just have hoped that when they were finally, far too late, decided upon, that countries, states, communities, would have made the best of them. But it’s been, and more importantly will be, an awful mess, other than in a few places.

And I did say that too, that the so-called leadership in the world today is good at declaring a lockdown, albeit too late, but not at anything else, not at timing it, not at executing it, let alone at managing the way out of it in reopening societies. It is all so predictable.

But people have been solidly dug into their trenches now, after 2 months, and they’ve done so much reading, and watching pundits, that they’re no longer looking for news, they’re looking for opinions, ones that match their own darkest notions. We’ve come to the point that if there’s nothing suspicious going on, then that’s mighty suspicious.

 

And there’s plenty of such opinions, and plenty among them that lay the blame for freedoms and livelihoods lost somewhere, anywhere. So yeah, in that sense it’s time to reopen, the mental health sense. But not, unfortunately, in the physical health sense. The virus is still prevalent in most communities and many a community will pay a steep price.

But nobody is aware of it, it seems, because nobody really knows what will happen. They’ve only all heard the clamoring for a return to normal. That there will be no return to normal is something nobody wants to tell them. How many people do you think know there’s never been a vaccine for a coronavirus? How many people know that there is no need for a vaccine?

Everyone’s been told to wait for a vaccine, which suits Big Pharma, which gets billions for something they don’t even need to deliver, just try, and it suits the politicians who can all say there’s nothing they can do to prevent more suffering until the magic pill shows up. They can say they opened up because there was so much pressure on them.

But yes, that comment. It made me think that perhaps people don’t understand viruses very well, and also that it’s a very good lead for a description of how they “function”.

 

Is this a fiercely contagious pathogen or not? If it’s so contagious, then it isn’t particularly lethal. If it’s incredibly lethal, then it isn’t so contagious.

 

First of all, remember a virus doesn’t think or plan or have a strategy, none of that. If conditions are right a virus will multiply. And while doing so, it will mutate. These things happen in virustime, counted in time sequences as infinitesimal as the size of a virus itself. And one in a billion or so a mutation will stick for more than two nanoseconds, because it offers an advantage to the virus.

That’s how it gets to spread from, first, animal hosts within the same species, and then, in very rare circumstances, to other species, like humans. And even then it’s exceedingly rare that a virus could do harm to a human being. The odds of that happening are maybe one in a trillion or something, I doubt anyone could tell you, including virologists.

The virus “wants” one thing: to multiply. Just like any other being, including us. And being both very lethal and very contagious doesn’t help it do that (not that it’s trying). Earlier well-known coronaviruses like SARS and MERS got that balance wrong. Because that’s what it is: a trade off between lethality and contagiousness. Neither can be too high.

SARS is noted by the WHO for a case fatality rate (CFR) of 9.6%. At that percentage, with the lethality and contagiousness it had/has, the virus lacks the time to jump from old host to new host, especially when existing and potential hosts are being isolated. MERS had a 34% CFR, and obviously didn’t prevail long.

MERS never even really left Saudi Arabia (and appears to have never achieved human-to-human transmission). SARS did get to other countries, I remember especially Canada, but that whole epidemic was over in 7 months.

 

You need the right amount of contagiousness combined with the right amount of lethality in order to have a pandemic. Jump from host to host, but not too fast, because in no time every potential host would be infected and develop antibodies (herd immunity). And not too lethal, because not enough “old hosts” would be left to infect enough “new hosts”.

The present SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus appears to have struck a delicate balance. People may say it’s not all that contagious, and it’s not so lethal, but it’s those qualities that enabled it to be a pandemic. One thing it hasn’t achieved yet is becoming endemic, and we would be wise to keep it that way. But the odds that we will have a vaccine before we can do that are slim.

Where to go from here is very opaque. People shout out for the world to be opened, but all they will get is a small part of that world. Mass events, bars, restaurants, subways, planes, and so much more, can no longer function the way they did. As long as the virus is out there, it may be ‘only’ modestly contagious and lethal, but enough that people will be willing to avoid many things that were considered normal before 2020.

That will lead to huge changes in society, enormous amounts of jobs that will not return. If we fail to adapt to those things as badly as we failed in our lockdowns, the changes can only become even larger, even deeper, until there may be little left that we still readily recognize.

There are still very few, if any, countries where everyone is tested for SARS-CoV-2. We will need to test everyone at least once a week, and twice on Sundays. And isolate whoever tests positive. It didn’t need to come to this, but we all screwed up something awful, except for a very small number of countries and societies.

 

Get ready for the next round; there is no other way out. And if we let the virus become endemic, and it returns in waves of every year or so, the testing regimen will have to continue too. Until there is a vaccine, but that may never come. Or we reach herd immunity, but that is merely a fickle concept used mostly for cattle and may never come either. Or only at the cost of millions of lives.

We need to prevent the virus from “finding” new hosts. It is that easy. And there are ways to do it. But they don’t rhyme with “I won’t give up my freedom for your safety”. If that’s the route we take, we’re all going to live in very small and separated worlds. And what does “freedom” mean anymore then?

It’s obviously much easier to join the crowd and claim Bill Gates wants to force vaccinate us all, and the elites want to enslave us; and no doubt there’s a few psychos with crazy dreams. But maybe just maybe this is, or should be, more about us, about what we do, what powers we have, and what we do with those.

If the elites, or whoever else, wants to use the virus to make you their bitch, don’t let them. But do you really believe that letting a virus with just the right mix of lethal and contagious, run wild and undetected in your society, is the way to achieve that? Or might it be better to wear a face mask in public for a bit and get tested, or test yourself, until the virus is gone?

If you choose door number one, don’t you agree that you should blame yourself for that choice, not the so-called elites? Maybe you should take responsibility for your own lives, not blame whatever goes wrong on others. Maybe that’s a higher degree of freedom than saying we can’t do anything about it anyway, so let 50 million people die as long as I am free to go to McDonalds.

And you would be playing into Bill Gates’s hands to boot if you do that, provided you believe that he wants to depopulate the planet. How’s that work, he’s your bogeyman, him and the elites, and therefore you give them what they want? They want to depopulate, so you say sure, let the virus roam, while you could prevent it from doing that?

You might want to look up “freedom” in a dictionary.

 

 

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Thank you.

 

 

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Home Forums Lethal or Contagious

This topic contains 21 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  maryballon 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)
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  • #58902

    Gerry Cranham They all fall in the round I call 1963   There was this comment at the Automatic Earth yesterday that got me thinking. It was sort
    [See the full post at: Lethal or Contagious]

    #58903

    mheyman
    Participant

    “As Long As It’s Out There” … almost as weak a cliché as “If Even One Might Die”? A musician tour in February or March in Spain contracted COVID-19-like symptoms. He self quarantined on return “home”. He was tested. He went through “The Suffering”. He was Negative for COVID-19. He was positive for a mutated 1918 Spanish Flu variant. To the extent that stories like that are true (the musician reports it as true on a personal level), is one ever SAFE?

    #58904

    Maxwell Quest
    Participant

    “Until there is a virus, but that may never come.” –> “Until there is a vaccine, but that may never come.”

    #58908

    kimyo99
    Participant

    ah, the logical fallacy trifecta:

    1) ad hominem attack:

    that they’re no longer looking for news, they’re looking for opinions, ones that match their own darkest notions.

    2) false dichotomy:

    so let 50 million people die as long as I am free to go to McDonalds.

    3) strawman:

    provided you believe that he wants to depopulate the planet

    i want to give the automatic earth part of the check that trump and pelosi sent me. honest i do. i was fortunate enough to attend one of stoneleigh’s speaking engagements. her amazing efforts must be supported.

    but i can’t give money to an organization which constantly attempts to denigrate and diminish curiousity, especially when that curiosity is quite valid.

    falling back on the ‘fat tony’ explanation is how you get another 9/11. letting noam chomsky lull you to sleep is how you get another 9/11: (chomsky = primary example of intellectual yet idiot) William Blum to Noam Chomsky: How Could It NOT Matter Whether 9/11 Was a False-Flag Op?

    “Even if (inside job) were true, which is extremely unlikely, who cares? I mean, it doesn’t have any significance.” (Noam Chomsky on 911 conspiracy part 2, YouTube).

    William Blum, like the rest of us, is puzzled by Chomsky’s apparent inability to understand that exposing the 9/11 inside job would help end the crimes of empire.

    let’s deal with the enemy we actually face. pretending that the enemy is ‘incompetence’ is not just unsupportable, it’s head in the sand territory.

    #58912

    Huskynut
    Participant

    No, no, no and no..
    You’re a real smart guy Ilargi. You must’ve noticed that the a substantial (if not a majority) of your commentariat have spent weeks presenting a wide variety of nuanced arguments, and it seems you’ve just stuck your fingers in your ears and put it all down to partisan shouting instead of listening to the arguments.
    You recall the Wilde (/) quote – “when the facts change, sir I change my opinion – what do you do?”.
    Well that facts have changed, massively, over the past few weeks.
    – The original pandemic modelling from Imperial College has been demonstrated to be outright garbage. Crap code, crap results. Consistently, over several different viruses. That’s not contentious, just fact.
    – The originally spread number of infectivity and case fatality rate have been adjusted substantially down over time.
    – Simple, cheap drugs have such as HCQ have been demonstrated as efficacious and methods such as intubation, which were counterproductive have been dropped. treatment has become more effective.
    – The effectiveness of precautionary measures such as Vit-D have emerged, as correlations are established from case observation. We can more effectively prevent bad results.
    – Correlation between lockdown and virus control based on a wide variety of places has been modelled by reputable virologists (see my vid link from a couple of days ago). The data says lockdowns are not correlated with effective pandemic management
    – Is is absolutely clear that age is the paramount correlation, that old and unhealthy people are at risk, whereas younger and healthy people are at little risk

    None of the above is – or should be – contentious. The cost to lives and of lives (even excluding the pure economic costs) of wide lockdowns has been modelled and is eventuating. And it is huge. Vast. And also uncontended – it’s a fact.

    Even if a vaccine were developed, the idea we’re going to be able to deploy it widely is totally farcical. You can’t argue for the precautionary principle in dealing with a new virus, and not adopt precisely the same precaution to deploying a brand new vaccine, developed in haste. Therefore, a vaccine is not a possible/viable solution.

    And it’s absolutely clear we can’t incurred the social, economic, emotional and moral costs of arbitrarily confining people to their houses on the basis of thoroughly discredited initial assumptions.

    Again, nothing in that should be contentious – it just requires a starting point of admitting “hey perhaps we were wrong”.

    #58914

    Huskynut
    Participant

    “It’s obviously much easier to join the crowd and claim Bill Gates wants to force vaccinate us all, and the elites want to enslave us; and no doubt there’s a few psychos with crazy dreams. But maybe just maybe this is, or should be, more about us, about what we do, what powers we have, and what we do with those.”
    the more salient point isn’t whether Bill Gates is a psycho wants to force vaccinate us. It’s the clear correlation between institutions his organisation has invested in, and poor quality advice. Imperial College, WHO. As with pharmaceutical companies and medical research, or agro-giants and science – big money has always and will always corrupt outcomes.
    We know for a fact that Monsanto and Bayer have been utterly distorting agro research via incentives and punishment. Ditto for the drug companies. How naive do we need to be to think that the Gates Foundation throwing billions into research grants, media/promotion and drugs/vaccine deployment is not going to have precisely the same effects and for the same reasons? Because we think Bill is a nice guy? Let’s not look into his corporate track record.. nah, he’s found Jesus and is a reformed guy now..
    It’s not paranoia to make those connections, it’s simple economics – incentives, disincentives, perverse outcomes. That’s the essence of what TAE traffics in, right? If it didn’t come out that way, it’d be a monumental first in the history of modern capitalism.

    #58915

    VietnamVet
    Participant

    350,000 infected and the death of 22,619 in NY State mostly in the City and Long Island are not nothing. The severe cases are ghastly and there are reports of significant aftereffects including deaths from an overreacting immune system. Patients are dying in the hospitals are all by themselves, face down. The lucky ones are unconscious. The NY city health department calculated that there were (up to May 2nd) 5,293 excess deaths that might have been directly or indirectly attributable to the pandemic. Nearly 30,000 dying in three months in New York State is not a blip. The NY hospital system was severely strained downstate treating patients.

    This is a direct result of the failure of city, state and federal, government to do its primary job; protect its citizens. If the Mayor, Governor and President, who allowed this pandemic to happen, are reelected, it is proof positive that the USA is not a constitutional democracy.

    If there is a conspiracy, it is not a secret one. “Greed is good” was said by Michael Douglas playing Wall Street’s Gordon Gekko in 1987. “Government is bad.” is the result. There is no profit in preparing for a once in a century pandemic. President Trump simply does not understand what has been said here about the Wuhan coronavirus since January 2020.

    Corporation managers and oligarchs set up supra-national global trade pacts like NAFTA, WTO and the European Union to remove democratic government control over trade in order to make more profit. They simply do not care about the public good.

    In the Pandemic, the only way to make money is to have a patentable treatment or vaccine. Corporate Democrats and Republicans will not fund a federal public health system to test, contact trace, and isolate the infected. As a result, the pandemic will wax and wane, mutate and kill even more wherever the state public health response is inadequate. The extent and spread of the virus will remain unknown. A million could die in the USA, if reopening the states removes all mitigation. Taxing the rich to save lives will never happen until democracy is restored. Until then, everyone is on their own.

    #58918

    John Day
    Participant

    This is “Political Discourse”, as much as is openly carrying your firearms to the state capitol, or rushing the beach without a mask.

    Ilargi, you stand accused of making Bill Gates urge to fix things his way into a straw-man-reductio-ad-absurdum.
    How do you plead before the commentariat, Sir?

    I’ll stop now (slightly too late?)

    I seek some sort of relief from my own cognitive dissonance, some hope that we have a chance in this historical battle in the final decline of resources and fuel, before the peak and decline of global population.
    I think the smarter and better served elites, certainly like Mr Gates, have been briefed on The Limits To Growth (see here: http://www.johndayblog.com/2017/09/worse-than-i-think.html )

    They do have the upper hand, but they have a weakness, which is seeing all of the potential futures with themselves in control of a hierarchy, which narrows down their ability to look at reasonable scenarios for adaptation and coping, scenarios that serve our species and other species more even-handedly.
    We are at our cooperative best in groups under 150, fairly optimum under a dozen, i think, but we need a big boss in groups over 150 (Dunbar’s Number), somebody with the power of life and death (“You’re Fired!”).
    The elites can only picture situations where they are the big boss, and that’s not first-principles for our kind of animals.
    How am I reducing my cognitive dissonance, when these guys have bad analytical tools but the power of life and death?
    I am heartened to think that this global pandemic, weaponized lab virus ran out under mommy-Warbucks skirts last May or June, instead of being carefully released with a big war-gamed attack plan, covering all the scenarios.
    I feel like we have a chance if this is all just thrown together on the fly, and maybe this stupid decision making is really coming from those bad analytical tools I just alluded to, and we can personally do a lot better, because we have so many more avenues of consideration open to us, and we don’t already have a billion-dollar-bolt-hole we have to go to as planned…
    We are a highly social species that collaborates pretty well when the chips are down, and you can’t necessarily BUY that functionality.

    #58920

    Kimo
    Participant

    <p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>My daughter just solved the COVID: “test everyone for Covid with a fake test and tell them they are all positive and they have to isolate for 2 weeks.” It is genius.</p>— Joshua Gans (@joshgans) May 17, 2020

    <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

    #58921

    lasttwo
    Participant
    #58922

    WES
    Participant

    For my part, I am wearing a N95 mask and gloves, when I leave the house. I can do that.

    There is nothing I can do about what others do. That is not within my control.

    So I will continue to do that which is mine to control.

    #58923

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    As a friend of mine said, and I agree: it’s a failure of the commons…

    #58925

    Huskynut
    Participant

    @vietnamvet
    350,000 infected and the death of 22,619 in NY State mostly in the City and Long Island are not nothing. The severe cases are ghastly and there are reports of significant aftereffects including deaths from an overreacting immune system.
    Damn straight they’re not nothing. But a couple of salient points which means we can’t extrapolate from NY to other places:
    – population density of NYC is of the order of 15,000 people/square mile – several times that of other cities, let alone provincial areas. And Covid infection/deaths are certainly correlated with population density
    – Cuomo defends the practice of discharging Covid-positive patients from medical care into rest care homes. He says the homes have no ability to say no. What do you figure happens when you make it compulsory for the populations most at risk to accept known positive patients.. it’s totally, absolutely batshit insane. Cuomo is either psychopathic or (excuse the phrase) clinically retarded. And it parallels the Covid bailouts closely – the poor with negligible power are expect to comply and cower “in place”. The wealthy get to make abominable decisions that cost lives with no visible consequence.
    How can the solution to this be for the proles to comply with directives from the powerful?

    #58926

    lessof
    Participant

    I believe there was a common sense approach to protecting the vulnerable from infection, but because of the MSM induced panic, which most of the commentators are not doctors, even more importantly, it’s always the same doctors, has heightened my suspicions. Dr Fauci may be a gifted physician, but he’s not in those emergency rooms and on those med/surg floors in New York and other hot spots across the country. I have seen on youtube, doctors and nurses on the front lines videos get censored, but Bill Gates and Dr. Fauci, who appear the have some type of business relationship are allowed to control the narrative. I am beginning to think that this isn’t about the virus at all, most of the people dying had pre existing conditions that made them vulnerable to infection of any kind already. I also hear that they’re classifying deaths as coronavirus, without verification because the hospitals need the money to support their overhead due to the fact that the more lucrative elective and life saving surgeries and treatments have been suspended to limit the spread of the virus. There may be, (MAY BE) one or two overwhelmed hospitals in a hot spot, but the rest of them are laying off health workers for lack of patients, I know that happened in my area of the country. There are too many aspects of this response that does not make sense from a medical aspect. There are cheaper, less disruptive ways of approaching this crisis, so if Bill Gates is supposed to be some kind of “expert” on pandemics, why are there developing countries (particularly in Africa) kicking the WHO out of their countries. The response to defeating, I’m sorry, controlling the virus (it has always been here and will always be here) has resulted in more than 30 MILLION UNEMPLOYED healthy people, countless destroyed businesses large and small, pretty much fiscally wrecked governments all over the world. I’m Sure Bill Gates and Dr. Fauci have a solution for that too, I mean look at how good a job they have done so far.

    #58927

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    lessof

    Thanks for that very well written, spot on (IMO) post.
    I’ve been struggling to basically speak to your very points.
    We’ve been had, but that’s not enough; there are far more things going on; mis-information, propaganda, and an agenda beyond the CV-19.
    The big tell? The rich will benefit; while the poor are decimated into serfs; slaves to whatever their masters demand…

    #58946

    Boogaloo
    Participant

    Huskynut, while I agree that we are in a much better position now compared to where we were in January, based on what we have learned, I think you have overplayed your hand.

    “The original pandemic modelling from Imperial College has been demonstrated to be outright garbage.”

    Fine. So what numbers would a proper model have generated? Remember, the Imperial College purported to model what would have happened if there were no NPIs. So if the Imperial College model is wrong, whatdo you say the true numbers would have been if the UK government had done absolutely nothing (and no, don’t give me Sweden, because limited measures was not the point of the model).

    “The originally spread number of infectivity and case fatality rate have been adjusted substantially down over time.”

    To what? What is the true R0 without any NPIs? How do you answer those who say the R0 is lower precisely because of the NPIs?

    “Simple, cheap drugs have such as HCQ have been demonstrated as efficacious and methods such as intubation, which were counterproductive have been dropped. treatment has become more effective.”

    Fair point. In my mind, this is why we had the NPIs. To give us more time.

    “The effectiveness of precautionary measures such as Vit-D have emerged, as correlations are established from case observation. We can more effectively prevent bad results.”

    Again, fair point.

    “Correlation between lockdown and virus control based on a wide variety of places has been modelled by reputable virologists (see my vid link from a couple of days ago). The data says lockdowns are not correlated with effective pandemic management,”

    This makes no sense at all. For a contagious disease, limiting human interactions reduces the spread. Period. You may criticize how a lockdown is implemented, and you can doubt whether the lockdown is actually followed, and you may question whether the benefits outweigh the risks, but you cannot criticize that a well conceived and properly implemented lockdown slows the spread.

    “Is is absolutely clear that age is the paramount correlation, that old and unhealthy people are at risk, whereas younger and healthy people are at little risk.”

    If you are looking at the case fatality rate when you refer to risk, then yes, but that is not new information. I would add that we have just begun to understand the pathology of the disease, and there is still little understanding of long term risks

    Stepping back and looking at the big picture, this is primarily an economics blog, not a public health blog. And a blog that challenges the economics orthodoxy. How many doctors and public health experts worldwide advise lowering restrictions? As far as I can tell, most of the demands to reopen the economy are coming from people who are making economic or political arguments, not arguments based on public health. So though we have made some progress and the needle has moved since January, I am not convinced that this is a black and white issue, and I think it is inappropriate for the commentariat to demand that the host change his position.

    #58947

    Boogaloo
    Participant

    kimyo,

    I am not sure about these logical fallacies. Is it really an ad hominem attack to question the motives of the person you are criticizing, as distinguished from attacking the identity of the person? I don’t think so. Is it a false dichotomy to compare 50 million deaths to going to McDonalds? There was an element of hyperbole in the comparison, but the real tradeoff is increased cases vs unrestricted movement of persons, is it not? Is it really a strawman argument if prefaced with a proviso? I would say that it is not.

    #58948

    mheyman
    Participant

    According to the Saturday reports, deaths attributed to C19 as a percent of state populations, CT had 0.13%, NY and NJ 0.12% (rounded). Next on the list down were MA 0.08% and KY 0.06%. The median is around 0.01%. CA 0.01%, TX 0.005%, IL 0.03%, FL 0.01%, CO 0.02%, DC 0.05%. US Nationally 0.03%. This was/is a much more serious problem for our largest megalopolis than “The Rest of Us”. I suspect the picture is even more stark analyzed by County. I draw no conclusions, political, medical, racial, or economic. I’lll let history try explain it … or obfuscate it.

    Nature or human meddling are the likely parent of the virus. Unless someone confesses, human tinkering will likely never be proven. Theories, “scientific” or not, remain theories. Given the historic record of viral epidemics and the medical industry’s inability to eradicate the common cold, this mutation will become another disease the biosphere will coddle for its own reasons.

    #58949

    lessof
    Participant

    V Arnold, Thank you for your reply. When it all comes down to it, I believe as adults, we have a DUTY to ask questions. I need to disclose that I am a nurse. The reason I didn’t disclose that earlier, is because of the behavior of people to surrender judgement to the “experts”, I’m not an expert. I haven’t always been a nurse, but since I now have some insight to some of the inner workings of the medical profession, I want to let people know that it is like any other vocation, there are good and bad people in the field. We have caring compassionate people in the field, and greedy, incompetent bastards like every other field. Because we put the field of medicine on a pedestal in our society, we feel we are inadequate to ASK VALID QUESTIONS on approaches to health problems such as this one. I think that behavior comes from this hero worship of “expertise” that is so prevalent in our societies, not thinking about examining alternatives to problems, not realizing that there are scores of doctors and researchers WHO HAVE JUST AS MUCH EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE that may take an entirely different approach to this problem, or even if this is a problem at all. You just don’t see or hear from these people, they’re censored, or they’re afraid to speak out, I would be afraid to speak out too if I owed $3-500,000 to get through medical school, that’s how they keep them in line. I would love to See Bill Gates and Dr. Fauci in front of a televised question and answer session with an audience of front line doctors, experienced front line nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and medical examiners, from all over the world. Most would either be too afraid to appear, or if they did appear, I think it would devolve into a riot.

    #58950

    lasttwo
    Participant

    I think it was a great post Raul. The reason some countries and some areas are having more difficulty is they have people who are more selfish. They care more about their petty squabbles, egos and entitlements than their fellow man. In our society Kimos daughter got it right. Its a virus. maybe man made maybe intentional does not matter it is a virus that no rational person would want to spread. Yet we could not just hit the pause button for two weeks. what a commentary on our society.

    #58954

    Get rid of the virus? How?

    #58955

    maryballon
    Participant

    It alarms me that the new taboo about distancing and fearfulness is coming at a time when solidarity and group strength will be important for the functioning of our new way of being.

    The present taboo is that we must fear other people. They are the source of a mysterious illness that is killing people around the globe in enormous numbers. No one is immune and there is no treatment against this threat.

    We are seeing two contradictory responses the virus. At one and the same time, globally, we have adopted a taboo that separates us. In addition this is done in the sense that we are caring for each other, a form of service to the larger whole.

    Fear and service.

    But there is still one taboo that is still too dangerous to talk about. In my opinion what the new virus has done is to expose a deeply held belief system that we must not challenge. One of the tenets of this system is that profits will be maximized by paying the absolute minimum amount of money to get work done by people. In North America this means importing young women from other countries to staff nursing homes, their young men to work in fields and meat processing plants, and efficiently locking up criminals in high density jails and young people in super sized efficient schools.

    This belief system is, I think, called neo-liberalism.

    This is such a taboo subject that the doctors and epidemiologists and modellers did not see and anticipate how a shared economic belief would enable a pandemic.

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