By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
Early in 2001, an international corporation’s chief financial officer conducted a business-continuity appraisal of the entire business. All insurances were reviewed and brought up to date. The pension fund was audited to make sure it could meet its obligations. Health, safety and business-risk assessments of every kind were conducted.
The United States headquarters of the corporation were in a prominent New York skyscraper. The cautious finance officer decided that if one of the many totalitarian regimes worldwide that hate democracy and, therefore, have a particular loathing for the United States were to mount a terrorist attack, the building might be vulnerable. At some cost, he turned in the lease and, notwithstanding some grumbling from the board, moved the entire operation to somewhere less prominent.
The building was No. 1, World Trade Center.
The CFO was my brother-in-law, which is how I know the story. As far as I know, it has not been published before. For confidentiality, I shall not name the corporation, but you have heard of it.
Protecting any business, or any nation, from foreseeable but apparently not immediate risk always comes at a price. The arcane art of business continuity appraisal is to decide which risks are so potentially damaging to the corporation that they must be prepared for regardless of cost. The CFO’s assessment was that the corporation might not recover if it lost its entire United States headquarters staff. So he paid the cost and was proven right to have done so.
For various reasons, China is the source of most of the world’s recent pandemics. Therefore, countries in the region, such as Taiwan and South Korea, have taken elaborate business-continuity steps to make sure that if yet another Chinese pandemic was loosed upon the world they would be able to prevent the loss of life and colossal economic damage that would occur if they were not prepared.
South Korea established the gold-standard procedure: test as widely as possible, isolate all carriers, and vigorously trace all their contacts. The contact-tracing is done not only by making intensive use of cellphone data but also by recruiting an army of volunteer contact-tracers and setting them to work.
The ruling Democratic Party in Seoul has now reaped its just reward for its foresight and competence. In a general election with a record 66% turnout, with all voters wearing masks, keeping well apart from one another and being temperature-tested as they approached the polling stations, the party has won the largest majority ever to be achieved by any party since democratic elections were first introduced on the current model in 1987, a third of a century ago.
Most other nations, and in particular just about all Western nations, were nothing like so well prepared. They failed to realize that the Chinese Communist regime was lying about every aspect of the pandemic; they failed to notice that the World Health Organization, dominated by Communists, was repeating the Chinese lies rather than questioning them; their pandemic-response teams had failed to ensure that they could cope with population-wide testing, isolation of carriers and contact-tracing; and, when they had missed that bus, some of them dithered for weeks before imposing lockdowns, apparently unaware that not merely days but hours count if one wants to minimize the cost of a pandemic, in lives and in treasure.
At what point can lockdowns be lifted? As a rule of thumb, one should not lift a lockdown until the mean compound daily case-growth rate has fallen below 5% (and even that rate, if it were persisted in, would double the number of cases every two weeks).
In today’s graphs, Ireland stands out as going very much in the wrong direction: case growth is accelerating and, averaged over the past week, is now just below 11% a day. At that rate, new cases will double every week: and, since confirmed cases tend to be the more serious cases, deaths will eventually grow that rapidly too.
In many nations, business-continuity specialists are beginning to ask an important question: can the world afford not to sweep away the totalitarian regime in Peking and its poodles in international bodies such as the WHO?
Fig. 1. Mean compound daily growth rates in cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19 for the world excluding China (red) and for several individual nations averaged over the successive seven-day periods ending on all dates from March 28 to April 15, 2020. A link to the high-definition PowerPoint slides is at the end of this posting.
Fig. 2. Mean compound daily growth rates in cumulative COVID-19 deaths for the world excluding China (red) and for several individual nations averaged over the successive seven-day periods ending on all dates from April 4 to April 15, 2020.