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Kevin Parlon

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This isn't a meant to be a thread about the pandemic itself but whether and how it has made you view the world differently. We're still in the middle of experiencing an event most people will remember for the rest of their lives. Outside of the various imposts on our day to day lives, has anything emerged from the milling about that changes how you see the big picture? For me, #COVID19 is a storm (or rather, a slow-moving train crash) that has ripped away the trappings of gravitas, the sense of "It's OK folks. We know what we're doing." order in which governments necessarily clad themselves. A sense of just how close the bullet we just dodged came, firmly suggesting the limits of the ability of governments to deal with an engulfing crisis. You can almost glimpse this in the exaggerated calm and studied efforts to exude the sense of "We-know-what-we're-doing routines" in government announcements. They really don't. How much worse would it need to get before a storm such as this caused a status-quo smashing breakdown? Not all that much, I would suggest. A higher mortality rate. The news that having had the disease imparts no immunity. Not much at all.

None of which is to say that the current crop of leaders are especially bad, but a realization of how quickly events can get ahead of us and unmoor us from everything we've come to expect of how society works.

Any insight yerselves?

Anyway, happy Friday.
 

Hewson

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Bill Gates said recently, and I have no reason to dispute what he says, that C-19 isn't that bad as viruses go. With an 84-85% recovery rate and a mortality rate of about 4-5% it isn't as bad as what the world will one day have to deal with. Gates predicts a killer virus with a far higher mortality rate, a latter-day Black Plague. How do you suppose we'd cope with a 50%+ mortality rate? Maybe C-19 is just the rehearsal.

Technological innovation and advances in medical science have lulled us into a sense that we're ready for just about anything nature can throw at us. We have cures for diseases that were rampant in the lifetimes of our parents and most people with chronic conditions have access to medicines that control their worst effects. But we'll always be one or two steps behind, however hard we R&D or innovate. C-19 proved this succinctly.

The world — and our lives — are only as secure as 'events' allow it to be. What we think of as 'normality' can be upended before we know what's hit us. It's why appreciation for every day that we can roll out of bed and stand upright to face the day should never be taken for granted. It's why the minor irritations of life are meaningless in the context of our span of years here.

We'll overcome C-19 but I hope it has taught us some lessons about our humble place in the order of things. Because if we don't learn to be humble as a part of nature's grander project then we're simply paving the way for our eventual removal from it.
 

Kevin Parlon

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Bill Gates said recently, and I have no reason to dispute what he says, that C-19 isn't that bad as viruses go.
Indeed it is not. Hence my reference to dodging a bullet. (Your mortality figures are overstated by orders of magnitude BTW). Given how woefully it exposed leadership, it lead me to think that it wouldn't need to be hugely different to lead to an actual breakdown of society. It could just as easily been worse. Another aspect I didn't mention. I always thought that "yeah, vaccines take years, but if we really needed to, we could knock one out it months Manhattan project style." That if faced with imminent global catastrophe we could turn on a dime by applying our intellectual firepower more intensely. Turns out we can't.
 

Emily Davison

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What have I learned:

- that experts haven't a clue
- that gloves are pointless
- that treating amazon packages as though they are a bomb is a waste of time
- that masks are torture
- that life is too short to worry about dying constantly
- that climate change is actually a bigger issue
- that not as many people are dying as they said would die
- that if a government social gatherings can't be more than 50 people you can invite 300 if you divide it into 6 rooms
- that some experts think that we should all lock ourselves up and throw away the key
- that in Ireland in particular elderly with their last year left have been spoken down to and dictated to
- that people over 60 or 70 aren't stupid and know they are in a more at risk category, that they don't need to be ordered to stay at home, and if they decide to not stay at home, fair play to them, even if they die, that's up to them, it's none of the state's business
- that having a big house is important if you have children in a pandemic
- that a garden is even more important than one could ever have realised
- that being cooped up with my husband and children constantly since March is a unique type of torture, and anyone who says different is on drugs to get thru this
- that risk is a thing we have to manage, and we have to realise we have to live with covid and it's risks
- lastly there will be NO MONEY to pay for doctors, nurses, medicines, hospitals if everybody is told to stay at home and shops, restaurants, bars, small companies, teachers, tourism, workers of every type, eventually have no income. Because there is no magic money tree.

A special comment on children, they will pay the price for this if they can't socialise with each other and get back to school. Thankfully most countries seem to realise this.
 

Prester Jim

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Bill Gates said recently, and I have no reason to dispute what he says, that C-19 isn't that bad as viruses go. With an 84-85% recovery rate and a mortality rate of about 4-5% it isn't as bad as what the world will one day have to deal with. Gates predicts a killer virus with a far higher mortality rate, a latter-day Black Plague. How do you suppose we'd cope with a 50%+ mortality rate? Maybe C-19 is just the rehearsal.

Technological innovation and advances in medical science have lulled us into a sense that we're ready for just about anything nature can throw at us. We have cures for diseases that were rampant in the lifetimes of our parents and most people with chronic conditions have access to medicines that control their worst effects. But we'll always be one or two steps behind, however hard we R&D or innovate. C-19 proved this succinctly.

The world — and our lives — are only as secure as 'events' allow it to be. What we think of as 'normality' can be upended before we know what's hit us. It's why appreciation for every day that we can roll out of bed and stand upright to face the day should never be taken for granted. It's why the minor irritations of life are meaningless in the context of our span of years here.

We'll overcome C-19 but I hope it has taught us some lessons about our humble place in the order of things. Because if we don't learn to be humble as a part of nature's grander project then we're simply paving the way for our eventual removal from it.
I think we would have taken it much more seriously in the earliest stages and shut down borders etc. If it was sucha lethal disease and it had the 2 days asymptomatic spreading it would be really bad. Thankfully the latter is not too common.
To be fair, now we would do all of the above. If the MERS level virus (nearly 1 in 3 killed by MERS) had happened first we may have fannied around the way we did this time.
Hopefully lessons have been learned.
 

Prester Jim

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What I learned
People will quickly forget all past uselessness if they are scared ( ahem Simon Harris)
 

Hewson

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Indeed it is not. Hence my reference to dodging a bullet. (Your mortality figures are overstated by orders of magnitude BTW). Given how woefully it exposed leadership, it lead me to think that it wouldn't need to be hugely different to lead to an actual breakdown of society. It could just as easily been worse. Another aspect I didn't mention. I always thought that "yeah, vaccines take years, but if we really needed to, we could knock one out it months Manhattan project style." That if faced with imminent global catastrophe we could turn on a dime by applying our intellectual firepower more intensely. Turns out we can't.

World cases are about 22 million. Deaths 792k. That's about 3.5%, no?
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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I have learned that there is a whole chunk of our adult society which is so infantile to the point that it doesn't seem able to cope with this health issue, without daily Twitter video updates from politicians. That same chunk of society seems also to have little ability to assess risk and perspective. Everything for them is binary - perfect or a nightmare. No nuance, no degrees of challenge.
 

Emily Davison

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World cases are about 22 million. Deaths 792k. That's about 3.5%, no?
Can't discuss that. That is it responsible to shut down everything for that statistic. Because BTW I and my husband are in an at risk group.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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I think we would have taken it much more seriously in the earliest stages and shut down borders etc. If it was sucha lethal disease and it had the 2 days asymptomatic spreading it would be really bad. Thankfully the latter is not too common.
To be fair, now we would do all of the above. If the MERS level virus (nearly 1 in 3 killed by MERS) had happened first we may have fannied around the way we did this time.
Hopefully lessons have been learned.
So, 2020 is the year of hindsight rather than clear vision?
 

Kevin Parlon

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World cases are about 22 million. Deaths 792k. That's about 3.5%, no?
Don't want to steer the thread in the direction of the pandemic itself (there are plenty of such threads) but suffice it to say, the number of people who caught covid is much, much larger than the official "case count".
 

Kevin Parlon

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What have I learned:

- that experts haven't a clue
There's truth to that, but it's not a blanket truth. I think it is that the ability of government to bring expertise to bear is very limited.
 

Kevin Parlon

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I have learned that there is a whole chunk of our adult society which is so infantile to the point that it doesn't seem able to cope with this health issue, without daily Twitter video updates from politicians. That same chunk of society seems also to have little ability to assess risk and perspective. Everything for them is binary - perfect or a nightmare. No nuance, no degrees of challenge.
None of the government responses you've seen have caused you to look again or think about how much more ineffectively they'd have managed something worse? And what that might suggest about precarious everything we see around us really is?
 

petaljam

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The link between heath and poverty. Not that we didn't "know", exactly, but I think people didn't realize.

The common view of equality as a sort of losers' game has been shown up very starkly as a huge mistake- if a deadly virus continues apace in Indian slums or South American favelas, it has the potential to mutate and come back, possibly even worse, to other countries.

Healthcare for everyone, including the poorest in far away countries is actually a lot more important than we realized.
 

Ardillaun

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What have I learned:

- that experts haven't a clue
They have some clue but they can’t instantly know everything about a new disease. Much of the nuance of what they say in research papers is lost in media headlines. Dogmatic statements about masks etc. are more newsy and people do crave certainty at a time like this.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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None of the government responses you've seen have caused you to look again or think about how much more ineffectively they'd have managed something worse? And what that might suggest about precarious everything we see around us really is?
Nah. It didn't take a pandemic for me to learn that crap and exploitative work conditions, awful accommodation, a run-down health service, etc. were bad ideas. Govt has reacted as I expected...an initial surge of enthusiasm, but no real end game.
 

Hewson

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Don't want to steer the thread in the direction of the pandemic itself (there are plenty of such threads) but suffice it to say, the number of people who caught covid is much, much larger than the official "case count".

I don't doubt it. And I agree with Emily's post that authorities, not just here but Europe-wide, have too often treated their citizens in a patronising way. I don't think it's been deliberate because even now we're still learning what this thing is and the motto 'better safe than sorry' naturally comes into play. C-19 is incredibly contagious and treating it as something less serious than it is would be to play Russian roulette with people's lives.

Governments have responsibilities. When they're abdicated you get disasters like Beirut, Bhopal in India or Hurricane Katrina. Not knowing what they didn't know, governments can't be blamed for erring on the side of caution.

If they hadn't, as happened in the States, the vitriol heaped on them would have been historic.
 

Ardillaun

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As a recently retired person, my routine has been less changed than most but I have felt unmoored at times, drifting away from my regular routines, sleep-wake cycles and even my identity. I wonder when I’ll see some of my elderly Irish relatives again, if ever, a wee taste of what emigration used to mean. On the plus side, I finally managed to see the BBC’s War and Peace series on DVD, starring Anthony Hopkins, and it was well worth the wait since I last encountered some of it on the telly in the Seventies. What have I learned? Can’t think of anything beyond the obvious: that I have to focus now on what’s important, like my health and my family, and not let the noise of the day lead me into my preferred mode of procrastination.

More generally, I have been struck by the fragility of the economy and society itself and the way the pandemic incited nationalistic fights over equipment etc. As has been noted, we got off relatively lightly this time and living on a remote island as I do turns out to have some advantages. Let’s hope we take this warning and prepare properly for the Big One.
 

Kevin Parlon

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Governments have responsibilities. When they're abdicated you get disasters like Beirut, Bhopal in India or Hurricane Katrina. Not knowing what they didn't know, governments can't be blamed for erring on the side of caution.

If they hadn't, as happened in the States, the vitriol heaped on them would have been historic.
I'm of the view that we're looking at is not collective "failure" but the actual limits of government in general to cope with storms and how closely society itself came to being upended. I don't think we fully realize how close this bullet came and how close everything we take for granted is to collapse.
 

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