Coronavirus: The True Extent
Effects, major failures and emotions you may be feeling; the article that major media outlets refused to publish
Moral condemnation and populist thinking from social media, mainstream media and policy with ‘stay at home’ will likely cause many more indirect deaths. We now see this dangerous trend in almost every major news headlines where we as people act like sheep, led by public figures looking to say what they ‘think’ is ‘right’. This is bigger than just COVID-19. The dangerous state of the world today is that policy gets affected by what appears to be ‘popular opinion’ which is not always correct. The intense and huge public pressure Sweden came up against is an example of external forces attempting to manipulate policy. As the dust slowly begins to settle, it is evident that Sweden got it right, and did not bow to pressure. Their economy is not ruined and the subsequent indirect deaths will be greatly reduced. Obviously the above statement is open to much discussion, and I’ve tried to keep much of the analytical analysis away from this article for the sake of simplicity and challenging opinion. However, despite Sweden having a higher inflection and death rate than its Nordic neighbours, the Swedish economy actually grew in Q1. A simplistic life expectancy overlay can be made with economic growth, mainly better healthcare and scientific research. In 1950 the global life expectancy was just 48 years old. Today it is 72.
As an important caveat, no one wants to see any lives lost, ever. If lives can be saved at any cost then they should. The very point I pertain to though is that putting unlimited resources into one problem (coronavirus) is and has taken away vital resources and funding for other diseases, and potential deaths. Not just for a few months, but for years. For those who have lost relatives it is deeply tragic, but unfortunately that is a consequence of life. As harsh as this may indeed sound, we die eventually. All of us. Obviously no one wants to see anyone die if it can be prevented, but this does open up the discussion above again. One conscious decision and direction of resources takes away from another. Getting in a car each day poses a risk to 3,500 people that lose their lives each and every day in road accidents – but that doesn’t mean we ban cars altogether. It is also important to remember that every single policy has a consequence and that is what I am going to try and explain so that we can understand the major failings. I have personally witnessed death, right in front of me on a major scale, from war torn conflicts to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Seeing hundreds of thousands of innocent people dying in what is preventable does change your perspective on how you view issues around the world, that are now exacerbated for many due to coronavirus policy. This is what is important to understand when you, yourself, may be just fine staying at home and thinking you are saving lives. Directly, yes, this is a virus, that is undeniable. Staying at home will directly save lives, but indirectly, will kill many, many more.
In 2020, social media platforms have seemingly managed to churn out more expert virologists, epidemiologists and apparent scientific experts than the world has ever seen before. It’s important to say that my views have never contested the science and I have looked at this from a statistical and economic point of view which I am qualified in. An economic perspective does not mean stock markets, but in fact, what many seemed to have quickly overlooked, is the fact that a strong economy funds healthcare and science. It is naive to look at one without the other, and the relatively low death rate in Germany, for example, is a testament to how strong economies increase life expectancy and better health care.
Since the very start of lockdowns attempting to combat the spread of Covid-19 I have been very much against those lockdowns. This was a highly unpopular opinion with people that could not think for themselves at the start. I’m the world we currently live in, no one wants to ‘say the wrong thing.’ It is easier to say after an event “oh, that was awful, or that was wrong” but who is challenging facts at the very time? The brace that do risk being lambasted across social and traditional media.
“We’re all in this together” – complete mis-sold media bullshit from the start
We’re not all in this together. We are never in anything together, except of course unless an asteroid hits earth, but at this point, I wouldn’t totally discredit a trending hashtag #prayforanasteroid.
Every demographic, race and parts of a population, even depending on zip code, have different issues and privileges. For major press outlets such as CNN to push ‘we’re all in this together’ so early on just demonstrates how out-of-touch the media and policy is with the issues that many people face. You’re seriously asking those most vulnerable in society who live paycheck-to-paycheck to carve up their lives, feed their families off pitiful stimulus checks that may never actually arrive, and then hold hands and hum around the non-existent fireplace? “This too shall pass” – that’s very easy to say whilst you keep your job, your privilege and people are queuing at food banks. Again, it is not right to say ‘this is just a virus’, but the world made the biggest mistake by putting everything on pause to ‘claim’ to stop the spread of something they knew very little about. A virus that politicians based policy off from the most doomsday scientific predictions. That is simply so stupid I’m struggling to find the right words to describe it beyond fucking moronic.
Imperial College London released a doomsday scenario report that led to a great deal of policy. This turned out to be not even close to the actual trend that coronavirus took. It is important to remember that most of us aren’t scientists, but scientists are rarely economists and vice versa. To further add to this, politicians are rarely neither, and by implementing policy that simply looks right now, needs to have accountability when it is so wrong on a global level, and I will further explain why.
Deathly out-of-touch celebrity endorsements. Uneducated ‘Influencers’ needed to just stay quiet
The book of Eli. Keep the ‘peasants’ in check. We are those peasants, and now the weakest of us will be exposed for many years. In January 2020 you had a widespread opinion that people don’t trust governments but come March 2020, we are all seemingly happy to upend our lives, lose as much as 1 billion jobs around the world, and stay at home. Why? Because we have now been told and convinced that WE are the problem. Every one of us could kill someone else with this virus. The reality of this, if you look at the statistics, is that the damage was already done before lockdowns started. Complacency meant the virus spread on communities, and cases were perhaps as many as 12x what was reported. So then by locking the world down, the problems have been exacerbated in a grand scale.
And why did we go along with this? Well, because it was popular opinion, without understanding the statistics of the actual science behind it. Anyone wondering yet why there isn’t a huge spike of Covid-19 cases with the mass-gathering protests around the world? That’s because the virus is largely redundant amongst large parts of the population now. No one looked closely enough at the real statistics. The % increase in cases each day on no more than a handful of days globally actually INCREASED. Think about that for a second and challenge what you’ve been told. If you have 800 cases on one day, 1000 the next day, and then 1,222 the following day, this is what the media are and have been telling you:
“Day 2: Coronavirus cases rise by 200
Day 3: coronavirus cases rise by 222”
And when you think about it, that’s exactly what the media has had us consuming. Constant click-bait, doomsday headlines every day to make us panic, and listen strictly to lockdown instructions, because of course, we are the potential problem.
Now, look at the actual statistics of those numbers:
“Day 2: Coronavirus cases increase by 25%
Day 3: coronavirus cases increase by only 22% today”
It’s a virus people. That’s what happens. But, and this is the important but that scientists did not seemingly consider, on no more than a few days did the % increase in ITSELF increase. What this means is that the virus was never spreading at an exponential rate. But you would never see this in the media. Certainly not social media which has very few brain cells combined of people that can think outside of what is the populist movement.
Again, to reiterate, it is tragic for those we have lost, however, not every life can be saved and that is something I have seen first hand all too much. This is a contentious point, however, as many as 98% of the deaths in Italy had pre-existing health conditions and many would not have survived into 2021. You have to ask the very harsh question of do you prolong a life for 6 months, or incarcerate many millions more into poverty and early death instead?
Well, of course, in 2020 it’s the former because people are only looking at the small window picture. The government rhetoric is to appear to save a life today, and deal with the destruction to the economy afterwards. That, is something people in a position of privilege say, and those that are not educated. Isn’t it therefore ironic that stock markets are at the year’s highs, meanwhile hundreds of millions have lost jobs and hundreds of thousands have died. Never has Wall Street and Main Street been so separated. The stock market is not a reflection of the economy and meanwhile all we have heard about in terms of stimulus support is mostly for quantitive easing packages of governments buying bonds. I would deeply like to know how that helps us individually and those who have lost their livelihoods. I’ll wait for that answer.
The U.S. is one of the weakest positioned major economies for this. Many people live paycheck to paycheck. In India, many people live day-to-day! What happens when the world locks down? How do people feed their families? Oh of course, that wouldn’t bother many people because it’s not something they have to deal with. The social media content that YOU see, are out of touch celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres posting from her mansion about how she’s in prison on lockdown. I myself got into several arguments with some celebrity figures who are not going to be any worse off from this because the popular movement was stay at home and save lives. Without even a second to think of the millions more that will die.
When the celebrities started posting this, the influenecrs followed, like little sheep. Most lacking the knowledge or tools to understand what this meant for people that are weakest in society.
In my opinion, if you were so adamant about the stay at home rhetoric then you should not once be raising issue with the lack of opportunities you will now see over the next few years as the damage becomes more apparent from lockdown.
2020 is people shaming others for what they think is right and popular, yet with little understanding
Without the constant moral condemnation and media pressure, we would have likely not even got to the point of lockdown. As more statistics and numbers emerge, people are beginning to understand the direct and more importantly, yet harder to ascertain, the indirect negative effects of lockdowns. CNN, your average ‘influencer’ and politicians do not understand the effects of lockdown. It’s fair to say no one does, but what we saw was the weakest in societies livelihoods being gambled on a global draconian policy that no one understood, without looking at the simple statistics.
What governments couldn’t afford, in a world where the liberal media have the pitchforks out for people’s’ heads, was where they risked not doing enough. You have an army of people on social media that simply don’t understand what they are talking about, are a doomsday worst-case scenario report from a scientist who has sat in their basement for years predicting the next deadly virus, and then governments are forced to listen as the virus spreads, just on the off chance that said scientist is right. Meanwhile, all other diseases, effects and indirect deaths are seemingly not considered. This then becomes the ‘popular movement.’
Let’s consider another contentious point. You had all these nurses in Italy posting pictures to social media with marks on their faces from wearing face masks too long. In an apparent attempt to warn the rest of the world of the virus.
Now, we’re these people looking for attention? Why would they make this all about them? And not victims of the virus. Unfortunately, that is your job. And not everyone can be saved. Again, as harsh as that sounds, this is the reality of life. I understand that with this particular strain of virus that may have made some nurses and doctors feel helpless. The fatality rates when people went into Intensive Care were relatively very high. So skip to the part where you have medical professionals telling the government to shut everything down because they have ‘never seen anything so bad.’ Of course, the populist media opinion is going to support this over politicians and the economy.
However, I personally have seen this element of helplessness. Almost no one cared when I traveled to Yemen with UNICEF. I saw thousands of people starving in front of me. Families needed to make choices of who they fed and who they let die, such is the extent of such a devastating humanitarian crisis that the world seemed to turn away from.
This was an incredibly difficult life lesson for me. No one cares until it’s their problem. Can you say you really cared when Wuhan was closed down? Not really right? Because humans are complacent. Ebola, Hepatitis B and all these diseases that kill many more than Coronavirus has, they are ‘sad and devastating’ but are you willing to turn your life upside down to prevent them like you were told to with Coronavirus? Didn’t think so, because it wasn’t your issue, and most importantly, the media didn’t tel you that YOU were the potential problem unlike with coronavirus.
The harsh reality of me spending time in Yemen, which is a completely preventable tragedy, is not that I am immune to seeing death, not at all, but it has made me accept it and most importantly understand the bigger picture of the world. If you’re sat in your apartment on lockdown thinking you’re saving the world and condemning people for going outside, perhaps you have not been to some parts of India and Africa where people cannot stay at home, otherwise they simply cannot feed their families. If you are that entitled to think everyone can stay at home and the economy will bounce back, then simply put, you’re naive. When you see medical professionals on the front line in Syria saying how bad the situation is, you likely say “oh that’s tragic” and then move on with your day, because it’s so far from your reality that you can’t relate. Yet, when you see some medic in Italy saying how bad the situation is, you listen. Think about that for a second. The front line medical worker in Syria or Yemen is the one with a much greater deal of worldwide perspective but is not listened to. This means that you and the media cannot conceptualise the relative reality of how bad a situation is compared to other diseases and tragedies in the world.
I want people in the press and media to take accountability. The forced policy actions will now lead to a huge amount of indirect deaths.
So when are all the so-called social media experts going to address the elephant in room? You stay at home brainwashing, is acceptable for 23 hours a day, correct? But then you can go to a grocery store because that’s essential, right? So in many crowded smaller grocery stores particularly in Southern Europe, what do you think happens with a virus when you spend an hour in close quarters? That’s right, it still spreads. So your other 23 hours of lockdown, and employment destruction for those who need it the most, has potentially just gone to waste. Social distancing can work, absolutely, but not lockdown. It’s the vulnerable and elderly who need to be protected, so when they go to the store, because they can get support with a total lockdown, they are even more at risk. Illness and age isolation was almost never on the table, and by staying at home, the elderly were far more exposed.
The deadly effects of lockdown no one is telling you
43 million people unemployed in the USA alone and counting. Think about that for a second. Influenced by ‘influencers’ celebrities and the media – are they going to support the 1 billion global job losses afterwards when they still have a job even though they told you to stay at home? Didn’t think so. Ironic condemnation.
However, let’s look at how as much as 40% of deaths in some areas such as New York have been in elderly care homes. Simple thinking; step 1: “oh look, a virus that spreads, lock everything down we can worry about the effects later.” Step 2: “so the most vulnerable have been locked inside with each other. I wonder what will happen if just one person has the virus.” Can anyone defend this? Statistically it is a fact. Lockdowns in care homes for our most vulnerable citizens have without a doubt led to more deaths. To reiterate, social distancing works, lockdowns don’t. But remember, we’re all in this together right? And all those influencers using the “stay home” tag on their social media have absolutely no idea about the statistics of a virus spreading. In case it wasn’t clear, I am shaking my head writing the above.
I clashed with the mainstream media
So, as many people will know, when this all started I was writing for one of the largest media platforms. To not name them specifically, let’s call them “publication X”.
This was where I began to get a really interesting insight as to how the media worked and how you can only write about their subjective opinions. I took a very different angle to the mainstream media on Coronavirus (note – referring to them as the mainstream media will see toys flying out of prams everywhere). I was posting forward looking and positive articles where I challenged statistics. This was not appreciated and they only allowed you to use 2 sources for statistics. Some could cal that subjective, others may call it censorship.
Perspective has been lost
No right or wrong Way to deal with it but perspective been lost to moral condemnation. Same experts didn’t act quick enough and underestimated. Now overestimate.
Not a proportionate response. By taking one decision you actually are killing many more. But because you can’t see those deaths it doesn’t seem relevant to people. Famine pic, humanitarian crisis is ‘sad’ but doesn’t affect you? You won’t see pictures of each person starving or commuting suicide but you get a news flash of each and every corona death increase.
No one wanted positivity to surface. The media drilled some Churchill-type wartime message into us that we are all in this together, whilst making us condemn anyone that broke lockdown or questioned this. Whilst making us have to accept that many families would be below the poverty line. Standards of living and life expectancies wiped off low-income households for years. It’s a disgrace, for something that clearly now, has not worked.
Positive news being censored
Positive news and alternative science was not being shared by the media the same way that the doom and fear was.
In late May a Sky news headline read: ‘male security guards, chefs and taxi drivers most likely to die from covid 19.’ This was just as people were starting to see some grass roots about getting their lives back together, although, of course the media would ignore those who have been completely uprooted. Seriously though, where do they get these stats from? Are the media now trying to make us scared of movement and eating as well?
Nonsense viral news seemingly appeared everywhere and all walks of life seemed to think they were an expert – I saw a doctor on vice saying US flyovers cost 450k and how the government should use that money for masks. So here we go again with a liberalist media and populist angle. Sure, on the surface you’re going to click that article and on the surface the point he made seems legitimate. But we get told what people want us to hear. So here is the reality of said doctor moaning about this ‘waste of money’. 1) Air Force pilots need the flight hours to keep their license so in various cities it was considered a better use to boost moral of people and flyby than just fly over the ocean. So it’s either, have no protection army Air Force, or face masks. That’s the real question. Not face masks or flyover. 2) The ‘populist’ angle doesn’t even seem to consider mental health. People have been really struggling with depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts during lockdown. There was genuine elation seeing flyovers happen, but of course, when the media wants to pick up one negative angle, that’s the one they will push down your mouth until you eat it.
Then over the last week, we see headlines such as “After the pandemic – 1.7 million viruses have the potential to spread”. What a stupid headline. There’s no nice way to put it. This was again, Sky News. So you are incarcerating people to fear of humans and pathogens forever now? Trying to install a permanent sense of mental heath issues?
So just why is it that we haven’t been seeming more coronavirus recovery stories? Why was there no positivity when the press lambasted Sweden and counties who did not lockdown? Why were 98% of the mild cases and recoveries not reported? Yet almost every single death, young persons passing or sad circumstance reported vigorously? Why does every gun crime not get the same media attention? Why does every child that starves to death in a humanitarian crisis not get their own headline? Every road accident death?
Similar to when I used to write in the mainstream media, only ‘reputable sources’ of data are being used. ‘Reputable’ including the World Health Organisation.
The WHO advise comes from the same people that told the world H1N1 would kill up to 150 million people. That SARS would devastate asia, and that Ebola could kill over 100 million people. None of those were even close.
The Chief of the WHO made a multitude of mistakes in the initial advise and handling of the crisis. He strictly said that international air travel shouldn’t be restricted in February. Hong Kong and Singapore didn’t listen and banned flights from the Hubei hotspot to control the spread. Neither of those two regions went into full lockdown and acted against WHO advise. The same apparent advise that media and many governments around the world seemed to think was gospel. That led to policy decisions which will affect hundreds of millions of people negatively for years. Who is taking accountability now?
Also, on a related, but separate note, where was Bob Geldof during all this? Remember, the guy that put on the horrendously patronising and awful Band Aid gigs for Ebola? Sure, his intentions may be right, but it just shows the celebrity endorsements are so out of touch. Those awful lyrics are not even close to being representative of Africa – “where nothing ever grows”, “no rain…do they know it’s Christmas time at all?” Hey, Bob, fuck off will you. Africa is one of the most fertile, and diverse continents in the world. What would help is empowerment and growth, equal access and opportunities, rather than resource pillaging and charity. Africa remains one of my favourite continents having visited every country there, and this type of victimisation, similar to Ebola which is now seeing another outbreak, simply allows the media to illustrates the continent as victims. It is beyond damaging.
Have you noticed all the other people dying in the world? Will you now?
Did you know that 90% of dengue fever could be prevented Yemen? Furthermore, did you know that there has been a substantial dengue fever outbreak and spread during the coronavirus global lockdown? Didn’t think so, because all you are being shown is Coronavirus. Until now of course, when predictably it will slowly slip away from media headlines as is already being seen.
As a comparative figure from the CDC, more than 600,000 people die each year from Hepatitis B. The WHO estimates 1.5 million people die each year from Tuberculosis. The United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS estimates that 770,000 people died from AIDS related deaths last year. All of these diseases are substantially higher than the coronavirus death toll. Will you sacrifice your job and stay at home to prevent deaths from these illnesses? That predominantly affect the poorest nations?
Africa has parts of the Continent that are devastated by malaria, which is one of the biggest killers of people in the world. It’s also worth noting that it is possible to eradicate malaria. The British have done it, but it comes at a cost. One that seemingly hasn’t been worth paying for the world’s poorest. Think about that for a second. Over 400,000 people a year die from a preventable disease, with 90% in Africa, but the world won’t launch trillion dollar stimulus packages for that will they?
Do you only notice the problem when it is relevant to you? Imagine (hypothetically) that humans could contract malaria from other humans. To be clear, this isn’t possible, it is spread by mosquitos. Would Africa then become more relevant to the rest of the world? More relevant to you? Would action be taken to control the spread from Africa? Money be invested to eradicate the disease because it suddenly becomes your, and a Global problem? I would you suddenly care like you did about Coronavirus.
The facts from countries that did not lockdown are undeniable
So the WHO chief who stated there was no need for travel restrictions on Feb 3, had his advise dismissed by Singapore and Hong Kong whom already limited China travel. Hong Kong particularly had learned from SARS. People immediately socially distanced. Crowded venues were restricted, and no lockdown was enforced. Life adapted, but people’s livelihoods were not completely cut off. In South Korea and Taiwan, they were smart enough to not fully lockdown, but enforce contact tracing alongside a great deal of testing. Whereas in almost every other country, governments just closed the country down. To hell with the poorest and most vulnerable they said. And now, as things start to open back up, those people that need support the most will likely be forgotten. So if you were one of those who criticised people for NEEDING to go out, and HAVING to make a living to feed their families and put food on the table, you should in my opinion feel ashamed. Because what you did was jump on the back of a populist bandwagon of ‘stay home’ through your privileged entitlement, without educating yourself on the true consequences of those actions. We are not all in this together, and we never will be so long as this modus operandi continues.
Moral condemnation has got to stop
There is no right or wrong way to deal with this crisis but perspective has been lost to moral condemnation. The same experts didn’t act quick enough and underestimated the spread of the virus, and now the ones overestimating and swaying policy to ensure that indirect effects will be far greater.
A blanket, widespread lockdown is not a proportionate response. By taking one decision you actually are killing many more people.
If you want to consider the real effects then look at the complete divergence of stock markets to the real economy. Wall Street and Main Street have never been so far apart. As stock markets today touch back on the year’s highs in the US, 43 million Americans remain unemployed. Big business has been bailed out, the stock markets are booming, yet the engine room of the economy is in tatters. Reliant on government support, millions of workers now needing to use food banks. Does this seem like the successful recovery that stock markets would have you believe?
So while you’ve been watching Netflix, learning how to cook and having zoom ‘meetings’ what’s really been going on in the world with the chaos?
In general, if you have nothing of value to contribute than just being a sheep, it may be best to simply listen and educate yourself
Celebrities should be embarrassed – stigmatising hashtags to make people that need to go and work feel ashamed and even bullied. It is fine for people to work in supermarkets and deliver food as that keeps YOU alive but what about people keeping families alive? People that need to work day to day to survive.
A study in the Great Recession showed that cancer-linked deaths increased by 500,000 due to the recession. What do you think other illnesses and deaths look like after Coronavirus? People that weren’t able to receive diagnosis. All because one of the many issues in the world took complete and total priority over all other issues.
If you were able to stay at home and come out the other side then that is great. Perhaps now you can ensure that the hundreds of millions of people that got knocked down around the world are in your position of privilege too.