Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Coronavirus: a little league table


Yesterday I wrote to a friend whom I first met when we both worked as teachers in Papua New Guinea. He is now a Roman Catholic priest and works in the Solomon Islands.  He does not have  access to the internet and his copies of the Manchester Guardian Weekly arrive in bundles, often months late, so along with personal chit-chat I like to give him up-to-date information.

Here's what I found about the incidence of the coronavirus in the various countries in which we are both interested, have friends, or worked.

As at 4thAugust, 2020:

Country       Total deaths           Death per million of population

 UK                 46 000                680

Italy               35 000                 582

USA            160 000                 480

France         30 296                  46

Ireland            1 763                 350

Germany          9 232               110

India              40 000                 28

Australia            232                   9

New Zealand      22                    4.4

Malawi             123                     6

PNG                       2                  0.2


Your can check up to date the figures here,


https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?utm_campaign=homeAdvegas1?%22%20%5Cl%20%22countries

 and add more countries in which you may be interested.


The crucial figure is surely deaths per million of population, and in a quick glance  down the list of all the countries in the world (except for some reason the Solomon Islands) I spotted only San Marino (1 283) and Belgium  (850) with higher figures per head than the UK's, which   are even worse than those for the US.

In fairness we could argue that the deaths per head in the European countries  and US are all of the same order, though the UK's figures are double those  of Ireland and six time those of Germany.  And, of course, things will change.  Tragically the virus is now spreading rapidly though India,  Australia is currently experiencing a rapid increase in infections if not yet deaths and heaven help them if the disease catches on in Malawi, PNG, or other very poor countries.

Of course, population size is not the only factor, and I'm sure the government is earnestly exploring other influences ready for the enquiry.  Population density, age distribution, concentrations of BAME people who seem to be more susceptible to the virus than others, will all affect he figures.

But the  current figures brutally expose as lies the specific statements from Mr Johnson that we are "word beaters" and  the implications by other ministers that we have so far been "successful" and must not spoil this "success" by paying less attention than we should to the government's guidelines.

Why aren't these figures splashed daily across the media? 

In the 1980s the Greater London Council, under the leadership of Ken Livingstone, displayed in lights  on their magnificent headquarters directly opposite  the Houses of Parliament the daily total of people unemployed as a result of Mrs Thatcher's* misguided economic policies. 

Someone should do something similar to convince the British People (Johnson loves that phrase) of the truth the government tries to obscure with its bluster..

The one consolation is that the eyes of the American people seem to be opening to the inadequacy of Donald Trump.  I hope it will not be too long before a similar awakening takes place here.


* In an extraordinary fit of anti-democratic pique Mrs Thatcher  retaliated by abolishing  the GLC along with the rest of the Metropolitan County Councils, including our own West Yorkshire.



 


13 comments:

  1. Why aren't these figures splashed daily across the media?

    Um, they are? Even though 'worldometers' has been thoroughly discredited as a source of comparable data, the British media never misses a chance to put the boot into the UK. See also the splash stories about the excess deaths figure, which is a bit more credible and also has the UK not doing well (eg: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53592881 ).

    As Orwell pointed out, there's nothing a British intellectual loves so much as to denigrate their own country and praise any others.

    On another note:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53648077

    It seems like the rebound in demand for air travel that I predicted when the kurfuffle is over is happening already. I recommend buying shares in whichever aviation companies you think will survive; it's going to be really good for a few years.

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    Replies
    1. 1. I'm flattered to be classed with the intellectuals, but I just want to be regarded a one who tries to see his country objectively and expose the boastful pretensions of the government.
      2. I looked at the BBC news clip. It gives a lot of interesting detail.I have not argued that a more realistic impressionism is never given: just that it doesn't get "splashed " enough, and certainly doesn't get much of an airing in the Tory supporting tabloids.
      3. I have not argued that the demand for air travel wouldn't rebound, that it shouldn't and if it does the government should take steps to ration supply.

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    2. I have not argued that a more realistic impressionism is never given: just that it doesn't get "splashed " enough, and certainly doesn't get much of an airing in the Tory supporting tabloids.

      I don't read tabloid newspapers so I don't know what's in them; I'm kind of surprised to discover your scour the Sun and the Mail cover to cover every day so you know exactly what they cover and what they don't, but I bow to your greater knowledge on this matter.

      However, I would note that even the biggest tabloid newspaper has a circulation that is tiny compared to the reach of the BBC: people (other than a vanishingly small minority) simply don't get their news from newspapers any more, they get it from the TV. So given that the fact that the BBC always splashes the most negative view of the UK that it can find is surely more relevant than what's in tomorrow's chip wrappers?

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