Saturday 21 March 2020

Strategy for a deadly contagion

Alerted by a comment from MB including an H/T to Guest Who and two responses form Sisyphus.
(Yes, Farrow and Ball is posh paint with names like “Elephant’s breath’.  Posh in a Samantha Cameron kinda way, (ideal for one’s shepherd’s hut) but I think the brand might have already been superseded by other, even posher, more subtly-coloured versions, like the one you can get in Aga shops) 

See! I do read the open threads. Honest. I thought I’d like to expand on the topic of Marina Hyde, who seems to be one of Gabriel Gatehouse’s favourite paint-stripperers.

Venomous Guardian columnist Marina Hyde is no stranger to this blog, and before you say anything else, here is one I baked previously.
"I’m reminded of that phrase “It takes one to know one” because I recognise the habit of using excessively emotive and disparaging language to express 'passion' in the most effective way possible because I do the same thing myself in my own bloggeringly amateurish way.
(I might have said ‘startlingly offensive’ rather than ‘effective’.)
The piece in question today is Ms Hyde’s current torrent of Boris-bashing in the Guardian. Here we have a much better example of ‘it takes one to know one’ because it seems that Marina Hyde is accusing Boris of being a flippant, verbose, lying,…….. journalist. 

Why, she even plagiarises ‘spaffing’. All this without realising that she could easily have been outlining her own characteristics and then complaining about them, the difference being that Boris’s rhetoric is humorous, while, well …… you know.

The point I’m trying to make is that as she goes to town on Boris’s inept, incompetent, ineffectual mishandling of the current crisis, she has not offered a single constructive suggestion. So, does she think that Jeremy Corbyn would have handled the situation any better?

Come on! Negativity, negativity, negativity. How helpful is that, Gabriel Gatehouse?

I don't know if Boris is handling this situation well. After all, everyone seems to agree it's unprecedented. Constructive criticism is one thing, but unadulterated Boris-bashing is simply nasty


  1. Is this pandemic worse than the 2009 flu pandemic which killed 600,000 and which no one remembers - because there were no lockdowns? Not yet for sure. There have been 13,000 deaths so far, after 4 months.

    The news out of Italy is dreadful but no one can explain why Italy is doing so much worse than, say, Greece. Greece has 13 deaths. How to explain such a disparity?

    Italy's death toll is in fact about one third of the world total of 13,000. I am not sure that we've ever seen such a concentration of fatalities in such a small region in previous pandemics.

    I don't think lockdowns are tenable responses to pandemics. Since 2000 we've had SARS, MERS, the H1N1 flu pandemic and Ebola. If we had lockdowned for several months or more for each one our economies would by now be in total meltdown.

    We need to get back to normality. The original herd immunity strategy was the right one.

    "At risk of fatality" patients should be advised to self-isolate and they should be supported in that.

    We need a proper plan for such emergencies in future that can be debated in Parliament. It needs democratic consent.

  2. France 24 tv 1a.m. news: France is also running out of masks - one Dr said, "We have masks which are just sieves."

    Another hospital Dr said that the situation is desperate and that the only solution would be for EVERYONE to stay indoors for two weeks and for the order to be rigidly imposed.

    Apparently France has usually ordered its masks from...China. The Chinese have not been able to fill French orders because of home demand during the epidemic.

    1. Still Fr24 News: Much better coverage of what is going on in the rest of Europe. Has the BBC told us, for example, that in Italy, there is no time for a ceremony: bodies are placed on board army lorries and driven straight to the cemetery? The sight of a convoy of lorries leaving one hospital really brings home the scale of the thing.

  3. I think we do need to keep this in perspective. From the ONS:

    "The provisional number of deaths registered in England and Wales in January 2020 was 56,706; this represents an increase of 9,237 deaths in comparison with the previous month and an increase of 2,796 deaths in comparison with the same month in 2019."

    An increase of 2796 over the same month from the previous year is 93 excess deaths per day - more than we are seeing attirbuted to Covid19 at present (but of course many of those diagnosed with Covid19 would have been suffering fatal respritory disease in any case so it is problematic to ascribe their death to Covid19)).

    The news from Italy is very frightening and it is horrible to think we might go down the same road, but the experience in Italy seems very particular so far. Why is it such a severe outbreak (far, far worse than the original epicentre of China)? Why is it so concentrated in one small geographical region? Why isn't Greece, with 13 deaths as of yesterday suffering a similar fate?

    Our useless media don't address any of these vital questions.

    We need really to be looking at excess mortality compared with a 5 or 10 year average to get a proper picture of what is going on. We could currently be suffering a Covid19 pandemic but still have have reduced excess mortality compared with January of this year. There are no figures available to judge.

  4. Marina Hyde never seems to change or develop does she? The first thing I ever read of hers was a diatribe she wrote about 15 years ago, a verbose sneer piece, pouring scorn on Ellen MacArthur during her solo record attempt around the world. Full of resentful sniping about Ellen's daily broadcasts, her lack of literary merit, the pointlessness of her endeavour, her interest in wildlife such as the albatross and even the name of her yacht, she paraded her superiority at tedious length through literary and cultural references yet despite some affected self-deprecation, here she was herself broadcasting via a national newspaper and moreover broadcasting nothing of use or merit.

  5. How many of the deaths in Italy are of Chinese people, and in the region where they are concentrated?


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