In a recent article on Mashable, entitled Entitled billionaire Elon Musk thinks coronavirus panic is ‘dumb’, writer Jack Morse began his post with a hysterical warning that
The world stands transfixed by possible disaster.
You’re wrong, Jack Morse of Mashable, Elan Musk is right, get over yourself!
The whole coronavirus “panic” is manufactured. Verging on conspiracy theory, I am forced to wonder what (if anything) is it being used to cover up! Or trigger. (This isn’t to underestimate the reality of the virus, but point out the ludicrous fear it’s generating; it’s another flu, not the black death! (Yet?!))
Certainly the media and various governments are manipulating it, as indeed are companies like Mashable, in their grasp for viral traffic (and, of course, associated advertising revenue increases).
Without question people ‘in the loop’ are making millions because of it, whether contractor, or consultants, ‘experts’, or other interested parties.
Equally, stores are doing well, as people panic buy items like water (you know, in case the taps stop working) and, for some reason, toilet roll. Meanwhile every supplier and scammer on the planet is scrambling to profit on face masks, and snake oil cures.
Meanwhile, TRILLIONS of dollars are being wiped off the share indexes *PANICS*
(Insert later news that hedge fund managers made billions betting on the market recovering).
Yet, according to the latest reports by WHO, only around 106,000 are infected globally, with around 3,600 deaths – nearly all of whom were in China (2,986 in Hubei), most of whom were old people with pre-existing health conditions, including cancer and heart disease.
The vast majority of deaths were in people aged over 80, with relatively few under 50 dying. Best estimates put the mortality rate around 1%, possibly 2%. Hardly world-ending, is it? (e.g. BBC: Coronavirus death rate: What are the chances of dying? )
Here’s the thing:
For instance, according to the ONS, in the UK there were over 50,000 ‘excess winter deaths’ in the UK in 2018.
According to Health.com, in the US, 12,000 people died from flu between Oct 2019 and the end of January, 2020, “and the number of deaths may be as high as 30,000”. … “The CDC also estimates that up to 31 million Americans have caught the flu this season” …”Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the flu kills 290,000 to 650,000 people per year.”
So, why doesn’t the annual flu outbreak cause this panic?
Why don’t flu outbreaks close schools, factories and events year-in, year-out?
Why don’t they send the FTSE (etc.) into a tailspin every winter?
Many years ago I used to work in the warehouse of what was then a rarity, a ‘hypermarket’, but what now would be a regular-sized store. Anyway, perhaps once a week we’d drag out a one-tonne pallet of sugar, enough to last a large town the full week. Then rumour leaked out that Tate+Lyle were going bust! And that the world was running out of sugar!
Rumour lead to fear.
Fear lead to panic.
And within days we were getting 2 lorries a day: 48 tonnes of sugar a day. And they were selling as fast as we put them out. Do the maths – people, in blind, mindless hysteria – were stockpiling to be sure THEY had enough, and they were buying over 300 times more sugar than they needed! And this was repeated across the country. Selfish much?
Guardian: From the archive, 9 July 1974: Rationing starts as sugar shortage looms
(‘God’ help us when we start to run out of chocolate and other ‘essentials’ for real!)
Let me ask another question.
What do you know about the MERS-CoV?
You must have heard of it, right, it’s a flu-like virus with a 60% mortality rate: young, old, healthy or sick, it doesn’t care. Yes?
Estimates vary between 35% and 70%, but if it became a serious pandemic, it could and probably would kill several billion people.
Yet it’s not new, it has been busy for several years, and affected thousands.
MERC-CoV aka ‘Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus’. Generally caught from camels but, just like Covid-19 (allegedly) sprang from bats, and it’s perhaps one mutation away from being WHO and the CDC’s worst nightmare.
You see anyone panic buying over it?
In the US, the CNC consider it an emerging infectious disease, adding in one article:
MERS-CoV is a zoonotic virus, and dromedary camels are a reservoir host. Bats are a likely original reservoir; coronaviruses similar to MERS-CoV have been identified in bats, but epidemiologic evidence of their role in transmission is lacking. Infection of other livestock species with MERS-CoV is possible; however, attempts to inoculate goats, sheep, and horses with live MERS-CoV did not produce viral shedding, and no epidemiologic evidence has implicated any species other than dromedaries in transmission.
Sporadic zoonotic transmission from dromedaries has resulted in limited human-to-human transmission chains
Coronavirus: Covid-19 (mortality rate circa 1-3%) spread from bats to humans. The world is getting hysterical.
Coronavirus: MER-CoV (mortality rate circa 35% to 70%) spread from bats (possibly) to camels to humans. And, nothing.
True, Covid-19 is FAR more contagious, but MER-CoV is a kissing cousin and could be just one mutation away from potentially wiping out half the planet. You could argue that MER-CoV is mostly only prevalent in countries like Saudi Arabia, but camels (and bats) are rather more widespread; whether native or introduced, they range from Spain to Australia to (allegedly) America. It’s all about the numbers.
Q.E.D., while the coronavirus threat potential is real enough, the coronavirus ‘panic‘ is manufactured for profit, and perhaps other (sinister) ends. At the end of the day, it’s just another nasty flu and it’s being used!
The following are not associated with zoonotic bat viruses:
My krona. (The krona is the official currency of Sweden).
My Corona (beer).
My Corona (Blackpool), posted back in 2008:
Above based on My Sharona, by The Knack (official):
Batman! (What are your superpowers again?)
Morbius. (OK, bats might have been implicated!)
The Corvinus virus (Underworld). (Yep, bats! And such wonderful, ecologically essential creatures in the wild.)
Meanwhile, closer to home, or at least reality, is the 2011 movie, Contagion (based on bird flu, leave the poor bats alone!):
TedX factual video on pandemics: How pandemics spread (2012):