Novel #Coronavirus and Climate Change: A Tale of Two Hysterias

Reposted from Forbes

[Note: I received an email from the author that he had sent an earlier version and I’m replacing it with the proper version. 5/14/20 8:15 PM Pacific Time~cr]

[Note 2: Another version WITH links replacing this post 5/15/20 10:45 Pacific Time~cr]

By Tilak Doshi

Up to a few months ago, life was normal. Well, sort of. In that pre-coronavirus normalcy, the reigning narrative was that of mankind facing assured destruction if we did not amend our wasteful – read carbon-intensive — ways. Short of a drastic curtailment in our use of fossil fuels, we would all perish in the not too distant future.

How distant depended on who one listened to. At the radical end of the spectrum — US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, teenage icon Greta Thunberg and the Extermination Rebellion folk among others — gave us a decade or less before we would face the fury of the elements, be they fires, droughts, floods, and other horrors of biblical proportions. The “moderate” position held by the mainstream climate change establishment — ranging from the key multilateral organizations such as the UN’s IPCC to the private sector with oil majors such as Shell and leading environment and social governance (“ESG”)  practitioners like Larry Fink, CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund BlackRock– held that we had to reach the “net-zero” rate of carbon emissions by 2050 lest the world climate “tip over” to Armageddon.

But then, something happened along the way. Up popped a particularly contagious virus, first in its birthplace in Wuhan, China, and then spreading across the world. In a mere couple of months, the novel coronavirus began to wreak death and economic mayhem, the latter caused primarily by governments panicked into shutting down entire swathes of the economy to “flatten the curve” of infections to avoid health systems from being overwhelmed.

It did not take long after the onset of the global pandemic for people to observe the many parallels between the covid-19 pandemic and climate change. An invisible novel virus of the SARS family now represents an existential threat to humanity. As does CO2, a colourless trace gas constituting 0.04% of the atmosphere which allegedly serves as the control knob of climate change. Lockdowns are to the pandemic what decarbonization is to climate change. Indeed, lockdowns and decarbonization share much in common, from tourism and international travel to shopping and having a good time. It would seem that Greta Thunberg’s dreams have come true, and perhaps that is why CNN announced on Wednesday that it is featuring Greta Thunberg on a coronavirus town-hall panel alongside health experts.

In response to both threats, governments and their policy experts habitually chant the “follow the science”  mantra. In everything from face masks and social distancing (1 or 2 meters, depending on the relevant jurisdiction) to the duration of lockdowns, governments were  “led by the science”.  California governor Gavin Newsom told protestors last month “We are going to do the right thing, not politics, not protests, but by science”. In banning the sale of mulch and vegetable seeds and such-like as non-essential, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed in a New York Times op-ed that “each action has been informed by the best science and epidemiology counsel there is.”

But, beyond being a soundbite and means of obtaining political cover, ‘following the science’ is neither straightforward nor consensual. The diversity of scientific views on covid-19 became quickly apparent in the dramatic flip-flop of the UK government. In the early stages of the spread in infection, Boris Johnson spoke of “herd immunity”, protecting the vulnerable and common sense (à la Sweden’s leading epidemiologist Professor Johan Giesecke) and rejected banning mass gatherings or imposing social distancing rules. Then, an unpublished bombshell March 16th report by Professor  Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, London, warned of 510,000 deaths in the country if the country did not immediately adopt a suppression strategy. On March 23, the UK government reversed course and imposed one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns. For the US, the professor had predicted 2.2 million deaths absent similar government controls, and here too, Ferguson’s alarmism moved the federal government into lockdown mode. 

Unlike climate change models that predict outcomes over a period of decades, however, its takes only days and weeks for epidemiological model forecasts to be falsified by data. Thus, by March 25th, Ferguson’s predicted half a million fatalities in the UK was adjusted downward to “unlikely to exceed 20,000”, a reduction by a factor of 25. This drastic reduction was credited to the UK’s lockdown which, however, was imposed only 2 days previously, before any social distancing measures could possibly have had enough time to work.

For those engaged in the fraught debates over climate change over the past few decades, the use of  alarmist models to guide policy has been a familiar point of contention. Much as Ferguson’s model drove governments to impose Covid-19 lockdowns affecting nearly 3 billion people on the planet, Professor Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” model was used by the IPCC, mass media and politicians to push the man-made global warming (now called climate change) hysteria over the past two decades.

As politicians abdicate policy formulation to opaque expertise in highly specialized fields such as  epidemiology or climate science, a process of groupthink emerges as scientists generate ‘significant’ results which reinforce confirmation bias, affirm “scientific consensus” and marginalize sceptics.  

In a recent interview, Lord Sumption – a former Supreme Court Justice in the UK – had this to say in lambasting the country’s collective hysteria: “Hysteria is infectious. We are working ourselves up into a lather in which we exaggerate the threat and stop asking ourselves whether the cure may be worse than the disease.”

Rather than allocating resources and efforts towards protecting the vulnerable old and infirm while  allowing the rest of the population to carry on with their livelihoods with individuals taking responsibility for safe socializing, most governments have opted to experiment with top-down economy-crushing lockdowns. And rather than mitigating real environmental threats such as the use of traditional biomass for cooking indoors that is a major cause of mortality in the developing world or the trade in wild animals,  the climate change establishment advocates decarbonisation (read deindustrialization) to save us from extreme scenarios of global warming. Taking the wheels off of entire economies on the basis of wildly exaggerated models is not the way to go.

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Curious George
May 14, 2020 2:10 pm

Preliminary Precaution Principle at work. Wake up, or perish.

Charles Higley
Reply to  Curious George
May 14, 2020 5:32 pm

“An invisible novel virus of the SARS family now represents an existential threat to humanity as does CO2, a colourless trace gas constituting 0.04% of the atmosphere which allegedly serves as the control knob of climate change. ”

Absolute BS. This is a virus that is effectively part of the flu season and much weaker than the normal flu. Yawn. Let me know when we have a real, deadly virus. The elderly and inform are at risk every year during the flu season—like that is news to us? Really? The present virus is so weak it simply puts people already critically ill over the top.

And CO2 is an even lesser threat than any flu season virus. It is PLANT FOOD and is greening the planet. All claims that it warms the planet have zero science to back them up. In fact, as a radiative gas, CO2 and water vapor serve to cool the atmosphere after the sun goes down. During the day neither gas can warm anything, as they are saturated and absorbing and emitting at the same time and thus are a wash for warming anything.

Drawing parallels between two things that are basically different and also things we cannot control, infectious viruses and the climate is a joke and just an attempt to mislead the public.

Phil Rae
Reply to  Charles Higley
May 14, 2020 10:50 pm

Charles………I think you probably didn’t read the article before sounding off!

Tilak Doshi was using irony and drawing parallels between the “existential threat mantra” posed by corona virus and CAGW – both nonsense and Tilak demonstrates that well in his article!

Tilak has contributed several articles to WUWT and they are all eminently sensible!

Reply to  Phil Rae
May 15, 2020 9:12 am

Even the irony is absolute BS. Entertaining the proposition in ridicule gives it too much credence. (^_^)

Reply to  Phil Rae
May 15, 2020 11:06 am

Phil – thank you for stating the irony that seems to escape that reader.

Reply to  Charles Higley
May 24, 2020 4:16 am

excellent, my thoughts entirely. What is wrong with people these days, have they all been brainwashed? Can people not think for themselves any longer?

Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  Curious George
May 15, 2020 5:06 am

Can some one (Brit) please explain this video:

Reply to  Carbon Bigfoot
May 15, 2020 7:40 am

Ever seen Alien Autopsy?
This 5G-mast autopsy.

May 14, 2020 2:13 pm

“wheels off?”

Reply to  Enginer01
May 15, 2020 2:50 am

A lot like pulling the wings off a butterfly; they never recover.

old white guy
Reply to  Hivemind
May 15, 2020 5:16 am

upvote Hivemind.

John Tillman
May 14, 2020 2:21 pm

Shades of Warren G. Harding!

Even in the US, “normalcy” isn’t normal.

May 14, 2020 2:42 pm

A virus that was only dangerous to the old and already ill and of no danger to the general population. There, fixed it.

Nick Schroeder
May 14, 2020 2:50 pm

Covid-19 did not “wreak” death any more than 0.04% of the atmosphere heats stuff up.

A dozen at most countries and US states with way too many, way too old, way too sick, way too packed together for way too long was ripe for culling by a more aggressive than usual flu bug.

No way?
Yes way!!

Easy pickings for the Grim Reaper who will not be denied.

And even those countries are now on the downhill side of a curve that was second order and not never exponential hockey sticked.

Wim Röst
May 14, 2020 2:53 pm

This is going to be the [near] future: massatesting. To control an outbreak of just 6 persons in Wuhan China decided to test all 11 million inhabitants of Wuhan within 10 days! All positively tested people can be / will be isolated and the virus will find in Wuhan a dead-end street.

I am sure that China will repeat mass testing in other regions, where necessary. What China is able to do can be done by Europe and US as well. It is just a matter of organization. Start preparing now and during the summer everyone can be tested within a very short period. People and the economy will soon be safe again.

Spend some billions, save some trillions.
“The Chinese city of Wuhan is drawing up plans to test its entire population of 11 million people for Covid-19, state media report. The plan appears to be in its early stages, with all districts in Wuhan told to submit details as to how testing could be done within 10 days. It comes after Wuhan, where the virus first emerged, recorded six new cases over the weekend.”

May 14, 2020 2:57 pm

I have been unsettled by all the settled science that has been told. Now I pine for an earlier time when models referred to things like could actually see in a lingerie catalogue.

May 14, 2020 3:33 pm

…so what does everyone think about their one world government 30 day trial?

Reply to  Latitude
May 14, 2020 3:54 pm

Pretty funny when a global crisis results in the collapse of globalism. Borders closed. Every country makes its own rules. Every state makes its own rules. Every county or city makes its own rules.

When the climate change crowd and the anti-capitalism crowd wanted us to go back to earlier times, I don’t think they imagined it would be feudalism.

Reply to  Toto
May 14, 2020 4:37 pm

“I don’t think they imagined it would be feudalism.”

That may be true among the throngs of useful idiots. But among those in the know that has always been one of the intended “unintentional consequences.”

Reply to  KT66
May 14, 2020 4:43 pm

Feudalism is great! If you are on top.

Reply to  Latitude
May 14, 2020 3:55 pm

It was by no means FREE trial.

Reply to  Latitude
May 15, 2020 5:01 am

🙂 amazing how many will be cancelling the subscriptions I reckon

May 14, 2020 4:06 pm

Please, let us stop the virus hysteria now. Except for the elderly and infirm (to which category I belong), everyone should go back to work or school. Let’s not send those who are still recovering back into nursing homes or retirement homes. Also, in regard to wearing cloth masks, let’s stop pretending they do any good. Most people do not wear them properly, thoroughly clean them, or keep their hands off them. People become overconfident of their usefulness and people tend to stand closer to someone speaking through them as the sound is somewhat muffled.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  JON SALMI
May 14, 2020 5:22 pm

“nursing homes”

Otherwise known as a place where people can get, well, ‘nursing’.

By literal definition the people admitted to these places are not pillars of health, they are being NURSED.

And yet when a virus gets into one and people start dying there are gasps of surprise.

Goes to show I guess, you don’t have to know how things work to become a politician, just know how to get elected.

Sausages and Laws. And yes, I have trouble sleeping.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Craig from Oz
May 14, 2020 6:31 pm

That is why I make my own sausages.
Still working on making my own laws although our ninny prime minister here in canada gives a model for it.
Ignore the laws you don’t like, use the emergency to create new ones on the fly with no oversight

Reply to  Craig from Oz
May 15, 2020 4:10 am

And yet here in US we have 3 Democrat governors who ordered infected patients be placed in nursing homes filled with people at highest risk from said infection, and they are now proclaiming it is not their fault that thousands of at high risk elderly people have died after they ordered infected patients into nursing homes. One of them actually thinks he is going to run for President in November. Can’t make this sh*t up, no one would buy it as a TV show script.

Reply to  JON SALMI
May 14, 2020 5:49 pm

Masks may provide some benefit, but they also potentially can cause harm by reducing oxygen intake and increasing blood CO2 saturation, which can make the blood acidic. Coronavirus needs a slightly acidic pH to penetrate cells, so wearing a mask could make a person more likely to be infected.

Reply to  JON SALMI
May 14, 2020 8:34 pm

Everyone is a bridge to the vulnerable. The fact is, we do a terrible job of controlling this disease compared to, say, Taiwan, Malaysia or Vietnam. The answer is to do what they do, not sacrifice people.

Reply to  JON SALMI
May 15, 2020 12:53 am

Trouble is, in the UK we’ve already got public sector unions, (naturally), banging on about not co-operating with attempts to return to work. They, of course, as public sector employees are still getting full pay and benefits. so much for ‘we’re all in this together’…

May 14, 2020 4:08 pm

A few months of COVID killed people.

325 years of global warming, since the 1690’s, harmed no one.

Big difference.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Richard Greene
May 14, 2020 6:34 pm

I don’t know about that. Everyone alive in 1690 is now dead. Using alarmist rhetoric, they must have all died from global warming. It’s as valid an argument that this virus is exceptionally dangerous.

Basically this virus has done little more (by itself) than shorten a few lives, and seemingly only as much as the flu does every year.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
May 15, 2020 8:39 am

Flu deaths are grossly overstated, by the use of models and blaming far too many pneumonia deaths on the flu.

COVID 19 IS MUCH MORE DEADLY … although over 99.95 of Americans did not die from COVID so far.

Beyond deaths are at least 20 percent of infections that cause suffering — one patient I know reported three weeks of the worst flu she could imagine — she is a retired emergency room doctor.

.95 of Americans

May 14, 2020 4:12 pm

“Much as Ferguson’s model drove governments to impose Covid-19 lockdowns affecting nearly 3 billion people on the planet, Professor Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” model was used by the IPCC, mass media and politicians to push the man-made global warming (now called climate change) hysteria over the past two decades.”

Interesting, but a weirdly Anglo-centric view. Most governments in the Asian/Pacific region nearest China stopped the virus dead in its tracks by testing, tracking and tracing they began before Ferguson said anything! I wonder how many of them have even heard of Ferguson even now.

Reply to  JOHN T. SHEA
May 14, 2020 8:42 pm

Perfect point. Most countries in Asia handled this well, as did others such as New Zealand, Austria, Norway, the Czech Republic, Greece, and Germany. Some were poor, including Italy, Spain, parts of the US, UK, Russia, Brazil, Belgium, Sweden and Mexico.

Competence vs. Incompetence.

Phil Rae
Reply to  Adam
May 14, 2020 10:57 pm

Get a grip, Adam!

Most of the countries you mentioned are NOT “poor”! The vast majority of the population in countries like the UK, Spain, Italy, US, Belgium, Sweden can’t even imagine what poverty looks like……..and I suspect you can’t either.

Reply to  Phil Rae
May 15, 2020 9:25 am


“worse than is usual, expected, or desirable; of a low or inferior standard or quality.“


May 14, 2020 4:12 pm

Hysteria. Very apt description. Weaponizing hysteria, thats a neat trick and you can bet the left will not let it go without a fight.
May 14, 2020 4:17 pm

Fascists and Progressives have been a mutual admiration society since 1900. Each use hysteria and whatever they claim as “science” to make you a slave to them. That “moderate”Progressive JFK toured Germany in the mid to late 1930s, meeting Hitler and much admired him and his project saying at the time that Hitler would be the most consequential man in history.

Fascists like Gavin Newsome or Inslee are living their fascist dreams.

Reply to
May 14, 2020 10:29 pm

I think you meant FDR.

Mike Ozanne
Reply to  Billy
May 15, 2020 1:02 am

His father was a Nazi appeasing prick into the bargain… (Randolph Churchill : “I thought my daffodils were yellow until I met Joe Kennedy.” )

Johnny Fever
Reply to
May 19, 2020 8:52 am

“Fascists and Progressives…” = same thing – fascists are progressives and progressives are fascists.

May 14, 2020 4:28 pm

There is a core problem here, which is namely the blind trusting of what comes out of a computer model. It seems once data is processed by a complex computer model looked after by scientific people it achieves a ‘nobel’ status which is beyond reproach by mere mortals. How dare you question the result – heretic!

Those of us with a background in computing well know GIGO…

Reply to  ecoGuy
May 15, 2020 3:17 pm

And your alternative to modeling is…? Wait and see? Cast lots? Wishful thinking?

Stephen Skinner
May 14, 2020 4:59 pm

“highly specialized fields such as epidemiology or climate science”
Epidemiology yes, but climate science? That’s the ‘science’ that studies forecasts of averages. How is that a science?

Reply to  Stephen Skinner
May 15, 2020 11:14 am

I agree actually. I don’t this there is such a thing but I used it as short form for the many aspects of the subject ranging from physics, chemistry, meteorology etc. Thank you for pointing it out.

Izaak Walton
May 14, 2020 5:04 pm

This article looks depressingly out of date. It states: “Thus, by March 25th, Ferguson’s predicted half a million fatalities in the UK was adjusted downward to “unlikely to exceed 20,000”. However the latest data shows over
40 000 fatalities in the UK. And with the easing of lockdown restrictions in the UK the number of deaths is going to continue to rise. So it is probably too early to claim that the original prediction was wrong.

Tim Bidie
Reply to  Izaak Walton
May 14, 2020 10:54 pm

Unlikely that the real mortality figure in Britain from Covid 19 will ever be known:

‘Of the 3,912 deaths that occurred in March 2020 involving COVID-19, 3,563 (91%) had at least one pre-existing condition, while 349 (9%) had none. The mean number of pre-existing conditions was 2.7.’

‘We define a pre-existing condition as any health condition mentioned on the death certificate that either came before the coronavirus (COVID-19) or was an independent contributory factor in the death.’

‘There were 3,912 deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) that occurred in March 2020 in England and Wales; of these, 3,372 (86%) had COVID-19 assigned as the underlying cause of death.’ (Ref. above)

In Italy, the corresponding true ‘assigned’ figure, after further research, came down to 12%.

So, 86% or 12%……….and then try and work out the Infection Fatality Rate.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
May 15, 2020 3:57 am

How many of that 40,000 died from heart attacks, car accidents, drug overdoses, brain aneurysms and suicide etc etc?

Reply to  Izaak Walton
May 15, 2020 5:06 am

would be a damn sight LESS casesif the UK govt had shut down OS incoming and quarantined the repats
and shut down chunnel trains n ferries with quarantine for any using them for “anything but transport load/unload
ditto most of the other places that STILL havent got hard borders in place

Reply to  Izaak Walton
May 15, 2020 3:16 pm

A similar comment. It’s absurd to claim that either the original prediction, or the revision issued two days later, was wrong just because the revision was issued “before any social distancing measures could possibly have had enough time to work”. Both predictions were for cumulative deaths many months in the future; the revision took into account the *expected* results of social distancing, and was therefore not based on two days’ worth of data.

Tilak K Doshi
Reply to  Izaak Walton
May 17, 2020 6:26 am

A good natural experiment would be checking the model prediction against data for Sweden which essentially did not have lockdowns.

May 14, 2020 6:44 pm

Here in Australia the Health System is a big thing politically.

The Labour Party almost won a election a few years ago by stating that the in power Liberal Party ( Conservative) was going to priveatise National Health.

Whilst not true in that case, it was fertile ground as previous Liberal politicians had suggested it as policy.

So when the virus arrived, and the “Models” said how many deaths could be expected, the present Liberal Government Panicked, fearing that come the next election that Labour would get elected.

The lockdown is way over the top, and made even sillier that despite being told to keep our distance , the trains passengers are as usual packed close together.

This is not science so much as good old fashioned politics.

And at 93 I could expect to not survive this one.


Reply to  Michael
May 15, 2020 1:18 am

correlation is not causation.

Statistical correlation with age does not mean age makes you vulnerable. It is the actual health issues which also correlate with age and non health issues like whether you live at home or in a “care home” being deliberately infected by your government.

Stay safe.

Ian Coleman
May 14, 2020 8:41 pm

Unfortunately, governments have committed to the mass lockdowns, and so have most of the professional media. No way is anyone every going to be allowed to say out loud without evoking condemnation that the lockdowns were a mistake.

When you suspect crooked reporting, look for the missing information. That’s how activist journalists lie: they leave out information that might skew the message away from the one they want to present. In the coverage of COVID-19, the information that is being downplayed is that the plot of mortality vs. age of COVID-19 is roughly parallel to the general population plot of mortality vs age for all causes of death. COVID-19 is not like AIDS, for example, whose victims are young. COVID-19 is a lot like heart disease, which is rare in the young but increasingly common in aged cohorts. But of course, we get these weak, silly statements that older people are more vulnerable to death from COVID-19 than the young. Well yeah. Just like older people are more vulnerable to death from heart disease than the young. Like, a lot more vulnerable.

A huge portion of the COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes. What is the average life expectancy of a resident of a nursing home from first admittance until death? Two years? It can’t be more than that, surely. Deaths in nursing homes are a daily occurrence that alarmed no one until recently. Somehow, when an very old man dies of COVID-19, this is an existential calamity in a way that death from heart disease or cancer is not.

Of course, when a young person succumbs to COVID-19, that is the story that the media runs with. In Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where I live, there was a report of a woman of 20 who died from COVID-19. But that was the sum total of what was reported. Well come on. That woman’s death was so anomalous that the only reasonable response to it would have been an in-depth investigation of it, but no investigation was ever made or, if it was, its results were never made public. I suspect that the claim of death by COVID-19 was a phony: The woman committed suicide by poisoning, and her parents decided to claim that she had died from COVID-19 instead. That suspicion, way out there as it certainly is, is actually more probable than the claim that she died of COVID-19. But we’ll never know, since apparently it is forbidden to ask about the details of her death, even if the people who want to know are government epidemiologists.

Reply to  Ian Coleman
May 15, 2020 9:27 am

The media is the virus.

Andy Espersen
May 14, 2020 10:39 pm

In neither climate nor virus hysteria should we follow “science” – because with the word science here we actually only mean scientific opinions or theories. Science is not science until proven – period.

No, let us just follow old-fashioned, enlightened, rational and humane ethics. Lock-downs are wrong, not because they don’t work but because such legislation is ethically repugnant Its economic and humane consequences are horrendous. Lock-downs are wrong because they are obviously inequitable – basically terribly unfair in its effects on people. If you (like all politicians, for example) have roomy homes, secure income and plenty of assets, you can positively enjoy such industrial lock-downs. I wonder, just wonder, whether such legislation would be enacted if each and every legislator knew with certainty that as its consequence he/she would be personally insolvent and queuing up for charity food parcels.

Legislation must be fair, equitable and ethical. Otherwise it must not be enacted – no matter how effective it is.

And we are doing it just to protect this pathetic, cowardly, spoilt generation from catching a virus – and not even a very dangerous one. But we little creatures have always run the risk of dying prematurely from accidents, wars, famines or illnesses. What has changed??

Phil Rae
Reply to  Andy Espersen
May 14, 2020 11:03 pm


The single biggest (indeed ONLY) cause of death is………..LIFE!

It’s 100% fatal in the long run!

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Andy Espersen
May 14, 2020 11:52 pm

that is just nonsense. I have a 92 year old neighbour who life along with those of a similar age is
being saved by the current lockdown. Young people are doing this to save the lives of their grandparents
and the lives of other pensioners. And they are now the ones paying the price in terms of lost jobs and
career prospects yet they are generally doing it willingly and accept that it is justified.

Phil Rae
Reply to  Izaak Walton
May 15, 2020 12:48 am

Not even funny, Izaak!

The generation you speak of is in a state of fear and have no intention of sacrificing ANYTHING! They don’t know what sacrifice is……unless you count posting Instagram’s to show how virtuous they are!

Reply to  Izaak Walton
May 15, 2020 1:10 am

Then why not let the 92 year old voluntarily lock down at home. After all they now have the benefit of online shopping and virtual communication. But here’s a delicious conundrum for you Izaak-

“The suicide rate in Japan fell by 20% in April compared with the same time last year, the biggest drop in five years, despite fears the coronavirus pandemic would cause increased stress and many prevention helplines were either not operating or short-staffed……..

In April, 1,455 people took their lives in Japan, 359 fewer than in April 2019. Suicide has been on a downward trend in Japan since peaking at more than 34,000 cases annually in 2003. Last year saw just over 20,000, and the large drop last month came at a time when there were fears of a fresh spike.”

But note how economic misfortunes increase the number of people topping themselves-
“… economic and work pressures are factors. The year after the 1997 Asian financial crisis saw a record rise of nearly 35%.”

So apart from disrupting elective surgery and people accessing their GP or specialist for advice and diagnosis with a multitude of life threatening afflictions the lockdowns world wide are creating a repeat of the Great Depression with more people in poverty misery and homelessness wanting to top themselves. Either that or they can no longer afford decent food clothing shelter and medical care but bad luck younguns it’s all about the over 70s and top yourself if you can’t handle it presumably. Protecting life at all costs is never simple Izaak and you don’t have a mortgage on compassion.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
May 15, 2020 3:59 am

So you support collapsing the economy and driving millions into poverty. Glad you cleared that up, skippie.

Reply to  2hotel9
May 15, 2020 5:17 am

Well no as Australia has gone the full lockdown at great cost with Jobkeeper subsidies via business to keep workers on the books and upping Jobseeker(dole) payments significantly. However like NZ we have minimal infection numbers and only 98 deaths so far largely centred around the Ruby Princess cruise liner. But here’s the rub for April and what happens when the payments cease or snap back after 6 months?-

Well that’s where those Japan suicide stats make interesting reading. Covid lockdown seems to have reduced the numbers somewhat but what happens when the subsidies end and it’s back to work but there’s no work for many and largely the young casualised sector. Well you only have to look at the 97 Asian Financial Crisis to see that and this is the stuff of the 1930s.

Mortgage holidays commercial and residential rent holidays with helicopter money for 6 months and Oz is the antithesis of Sweden. But the question is which country will prove the wiser in the long run particularly if the globe has to live with Covid19 just like flu.

Reply to  observa
May 15, 2020 6:25 am

Yep, collapsing economy to fight flu is stupid.

Reply to  2hotel9
May 15, 2020 5:42 am

And if an asymptomatic aged care nurse can’t get it right what chance the broader community as the various States begin to come out of lockdown-
Sweden or Oz?

May 14, 2020 11:43 pm

Just a slight quibble. CO2 in the atmosphere is 400 parts per million. My admittedly slightly rusty math skills make that 0.004%

[Sorry but 400/1000000*100 = 0.04%. Not even up to the level of rusty . . . mod]

Reply to  Stonyground
May 15, 2020 11:15 am

Thank you for pointing out the error. I stand corrected.

R Taylor
Reply to  Tilak
May 15, 2020 2:00 pm

Tilak, as the moderator says, you were correct with 0.04 %.

Tilak K Doshi
Reply to  R Taylor
May 17, 2020 6:32 am

I just went back to doing it on excel, just to 100% (pun intended) prove to myself, and yes, thank you moderator i was right the first time around. I retract my correction.

May 15, 2020 1:08 am

Surprising that I have not seen much mention of Singapore , a densely crowded city of about 5million which has , to date had just 21 deaths . I have never visited it, but it is commonly described in the media as a city with strict control of its habitants’ lives , with their unforced consent , even in the best of times. Do we know the extent of the measures that were undertaken there , because they seem to have been more successful than comparable conurbations in US or UK. Is there a lesson to be learnt?

Phil Rae
Reply to  mikewaite
May 15, 2020 1:59 am

The author of the piece, Tilak Doshi lives there. I should let him answer about the situation there but I can tell you that it is a highly urbanised, densely populated, city state. Some may describe it as a police state but it is done with a light touch and is quite liberal in many ways. There is a significant number of elderly people due to good healthcare and a commercial, but somewhat-subsidised, health system.

Singapore has firsthand experience with SARS-1 and implemented very strict track/trace/isolate procedures at that time, backed up by the state’s considerable “teeth”!

This time, apart from a few isolated cases in the endemic population, the majority of cases have been in immigrant worker “dormitories” where workers from poorer Asian countries (Bangladesh, Myanmar, mainly) who form the backbone of the very active civil construction sector are housed.

The Singapore government has locked these down and quarantined the inhabitants to prevent spread into the general population. Most of these workers are young and fit so it’s likely this accounts for the very low mortality statistics in these dorms, along with Singapore’s first rate medical capabilities.

I’m sure others will have comments but Singapore is a great place to visit – certainly a first-world country in terms of development and lifestyle.

Reply to  Phil Rae
May 15, 2020 4:38 am

Phil, Thank you

Phil Rae
Reply to  mikewaite
May 15, 2020 5:09 am

You’re most welcome, Mike, and I’m sure others will have their own perspectives on the reasons for Singapore’s extremely low death rate from the virus. However, I think the above is the most likely explanation for their success in dealing with the virus.

Tilak K Doshi
Reply to  Phil Rae
May 19, 2020 9:24 am

Phil — you have given an excellent summary and there is little I can add. The blind spot were the foreign worker dorms which are very dense accommodations with common cooking and other facilities. The government has been quickly trying to get a handle on this, and lets see whether the rate of infections go down in comings weeks. There have been some reporting how some much poorer Asian countries have done much better. For instance:

Reply to  mikewaite
May 15, 2020 11:31 pm

They mainly had a problem with migrant workers in crowded dorms but it seems they woke up to fingertip pulse oximeters to help with that-
Like a thermometer with fever an inexpensive fingertip pulse oximeter can check for respiratory problems with any possible lung infection including the silent killer pneumonia so guess what your family household should have?

Reply to  observa
May 16, 2020 12:06 am

The doc’s a bit slow with the delivery but he covers it pretty well-

May 15, 2020 6:18 am

Rip Van W. here. Are the leeches ready for my scheduled “best-science” bloodletting?

R Taylor
May 15, 2020 6:28 am

The times must be a-changin’ for Forbes to let such opinion see the light of day. It is a pleasure to see, and to read. Perhaps climate and CoViD hysterias are reaching the limits that we can afford.

Tilak K Doshi
Reply to  R Taylor
May 19, 2020 9:29 am

The high priest of the climate change church, Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann, tweeted to Forbes, complaining that such “unscientific” articles as mine should not be published, and that they are “culpable”.

Here is the link:

Here is the quote: “Hey @Forbes: This sort of dangerous antiscience-driven disinformation kills people. You bear culpability.”

May 15, 2020 8:13 am
May 15, 2020 9:35 am

In response to both threats, governments and their policy experts habitually chant the “follow the science” mantra.

For good reason & part of the long-term strategy. Science education is so poor now that less and less people have the knowledge to understand/analyze it, and subsequently be possibly critical of it. And the so-called “scientists” brought forward are apparatchiks of the governing elites (ex. Michael Mann).

Reply to  beng135
May 15, 2020 6:19 pm

The whole education thing is a mostly waste of time. Young people have some sound intuitions. Then they get schooled at school and become brain dead. I see zero evidence that massive spending in the school system has not destroyed the intuition of most people. Like a rape of the mind.

Which might explain why these never Trumper are so hateful: they realize intuitively their intuition has been raped and are angry to know they are victims.

May 15, 2020 1:21 pm

I am one of the people who read many daily posts. I like the amount of update is like in: although here they distribute it better and it is fantastic.

Brendan H
May 15, 2020 2:41 pm

Tilak Doshi: ‘Thus, by March 25th, Ferguson’s predicted half a million fatalities in the UK was adjusted downward to “unlikely to exceed 20,000”, a reduction by a factor of 25.’

The 20,000 figure was one of Ferguson’s original predictions, in the Imperial College report dated 16 March. That report predicted, among other things, a ‘do nothing’ scenario of 550,000 deaths for the UK, and 20,000 when certain measures were put in place. See Table 4 of the Imperial report:

Therefore, the fatalities figure cannot have been ‘adjusted downward’ by 25 March, when it was already part of a set of predictions in a report dated 16 March.

‘This drastic reduction was credited to the UK’s lockdown which, however, was imposed only 2 days previously, before any social distancing measures could possibly have had enough time to work.’

As per the above, the 20,000 figure was an earlier prediction. Whether the prediction was made two days before lockdown or two days after is immaterial. That’s because a prediction is a claim about some future event or events, not a report on what has in fact happened.

Tilak K Doshi
Reply to  Brendan H
May 19, 2020 9:33 am

Thank you for pointing out that it was part of the original prediction. So, now the question is how did the prediction perform against a natural experiment such as Sweden?

May 15, 2020 3:53 pm

Greta can see the virus. She’s an expert for a reason

Roger Knights
May 17, 2020 9:53 am

Evidence grows that Coronavirus was man-made: the bat virus it “evolved” from appears to be faked

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