Dan O'Heirity

The Mundane Aspects of Our Lives Have Become Absurd in Recent Times

I sat in my garden early this morning, drinking coffee, chain smoking and reviewing the day’s news stories on the Chinese virus. This is the same routine that I follow every morning and in that respect I realize that I have, along with the rest of world, become caught up in this pandemic. I pore over statistical dashboards that tell me the number of confirmed coronavirus cases both globally and in every country and territory around the world. I review the number of fatalities globally and across more than 200 countries and regions and I wonder how many more deaths we will see before this pandemic comes to an end. This morning, my thoughts extended to my work, which is currently conducted from home due to the imposition of social distancing measures. I thought about what I would be doing for the six or so hours that I spend each day in doing the job that I am supposed to do. And then, quite suddenly, I was struck by a profound sense of the absurdity of having any real concern with what my employer, a university, expects from me at this point in time.

Perhaps it would be more exact to say that given that we are living through what can quite fairly be described world changing events, the tasks in which I engage day by day revealed themselves, quite suddenly, to be trivial and utterly absurd. It took a second cup of coffee and another half a dozen cigarettes to further process my morning thoughts. Although I am not going to be able to express myself with the degree of exactitude that normally accompanies my writing, the point that I want to make is that it seems to me that the import and significance of the Chinese virus is completely lost on this current age as we continue to live our lives in terms of the trivialities that defined our days before this pandemic began. I guess that a more straightforward way to state the matter would be to say that we are living through historic, world-changing events and yet, day by day, we are carrying on with our lives without having any real appreciation of just what the present should mean to us.

Thus, the absurdity of our days is given in the illogicality of failing to realize and act upon the fact that the world around us is changing irrevocably. These world changing events, which one cannot fully apprehend or predict in their entirety, may well lead to a new world order in which we, I mean us as individuals, have been significantly displaced from the lives that we currently live. In this respect we are faced not just with the threat of thousands more fatalities from the pandemic but also with a very real threat, for example, in terms of China seeking to extend its power and influence around the world. China might realize its global ambitions through political, economic or technological means but, equally, we might end up seeing armed conflict between China and the US. China has territorial ambitions in the South China Sea and so this might be the region where the US and China go to war.

Coronavirus Facts and Figures From Countries Around the World

I have written on numerous occasions about the necessity of reporting CCP virus figures for the number of confirmed cases and the number of fatalities. The reason for this is that China is trying to re-write the CPP virus narrative and I do not find it hard to imagine a time in the future when China will try to systematically wipe coronavirus data from history. Thus, it is important that these figures be recorded and reported by as many people as possible, just as it is important for writers to do their very best to write the truth about the CCP virus. And there is a truth. This is a CCP virus deliberately released upon the world. As a result there have been millions of confirmed cases of the virus and thousands of deaths worldwide. These are facts and only the most recalcitrant of individuals, likely restricted to loyal communist party members both in China and around the world, would deny that China should be held accountable for the origins and spread of their virus.

According to my preferred data source – which is updated in real time for the number of new cases and new deaths and reset at GMT+0 – there have been 3,840,021 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus worldwide, an increase of 31,639 cases over the previous 24 hour GMT+0 period. The total number of deaths now stands at 265,905 deaths, an increase of 14 deaths over the previous 24 hour GMT+0 period. The relatively low increase in confirmed fatalities is likely due to the time that I am viewing the data. If you look at theses figures along with the increase in number of confirmed cases and fatalities across the last couple of days, then it is certain that we will see at least 5,000,000 confirmed CCP virus cases and at least 500,000 deaths in the not too distant future. I would conjecture that when we reach these figures, we will see a resurgence in anger from countries around the world towards China.

The United States has 1,263,697 confirmed cases, an increase of 605 cases over yesterday. There have been 74,813 deaths in the United States, an increase of 14 deaths over yesterday. Spain registered 3,173 new cases giving a total of 256,855 cases. There have been 214,457 confirmed cases in Italy, with no new confirmed cases since yesterday. Italy registered 29,684 deaths with no new fatalities since yesterday. The UK has 201,101 confirmed cases and 30,076 fatalities with no new cases or fatalities since yesterday. Russia has recorded 177,160 cases, an increase of 11,231 cases over yesterday. There have been 1,625 deaths in Russia representing an increase of 88 fatalities. China continues to provide data that no one believes with 2 new cases giving a total number of cases at 82,255. China registered 0 new deaths bringing the total number of fatalities to 4,633. France, Germany, Turkey, Brazil and Iran have now all reported more confirmed cases than China. Other countries will follow.

Australia Should Admit That the Pandemic is No Worse Than a Normal Flu Season

Australia, the country where I live, continues to be, or at least appears to be, one of the most “successful” countries in the world in combatting the CCP virus. Australia has reported 6,896 cases, an increase of 21 cases over yesterday. There have been 97 fatalities in Australia with no new fatalities reported since yesterday. These figures pale in comparison to figures for seasonal influenza cases and deaths. Using 2019 data which will not have been complicated by Covid-19 cases, in the period up until 22nd September 2019, there were 289,731 notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS). Furthermore, there were 15,060 notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza to the NNDSS during the two week reporting period covered by my data source. Finally, in the period up to 22nd September 2019, there were 705 influenza-associated deaths reported to the NNDSS.

Whilst Australia is doing well, there are a couple of points to make. First the current growth rate of the virus in Australia is 1.6 when it needs to be under 1.0 to control the spread of the virus. That said, the growth rate is given in terms of around 20 new cases each day over the last 5 days or so which, let’s face it, is not a lot of new cases. The second point is that some research has been published, albeit not yet peer reviewed, suggesting that there is a second strain of virus that has emerged in a number of countries around the world including Australia. The research has only recently been published – it is the 8th May 2020 today – and academic opinion seems divided over whether this new strain of the virus is more contagious than the original strain. Opinion also seems to be divided over whether this new strain could lead to a second infection in those people who have already had the first variant of the CCP virus. Finally, there are likely implications for the development of a vaccine as current efforts are focussed on the original CCP virus and are not currently taking the variant into account.

These points can all be contextualized in terms of the fact that as of today May 8th, 2020 the Australian Prime Minister has announced that the lockdown restrictions will be eased in three stages. In Stage One, gatherings or up to 10 people will be permitted, cafes and restaurants will open but no more than 10 people will be allowed to enter at any one time. Retail stores will open and schools and childcare centres will also open. In Stage 2, which is a bit confusing, gatherings of up to 20 people will be permitted, cinemas, galleries and museums will open but only if they conform to the 20 person maximum rule, weddings and funerals and community sports will be permitted up to a total of 20 people, and beauty parlours and tattoo parlours will be allowed to reopen. In Stage 3, gatherings of up to 100 people will be allowed, pubs and clubs will open and will be allowed to have a maximum of 100 people at any one time and interstate travel will be allowed. The Prime Minister has expressed that he would like the three stages to be completed by July with each State in Australia determining exactly when it implements the different stages.

First Published May 8th, 2020

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