Posted by Thersites on  UTC 2020-03-10 10:18

The following graphic appeared in some form or other in most UK media outlets recently:

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Image: CDC and The Guardian. Readers puzzling about the meaning of 'Number of daily cases' should remember that this graphic is from the Grauniad, after all. After you have worked that out you can then wonder why it is 'Days since first case' when there are no units on the x-axis. This graph would be much more interesting if indeed it had a day scale.

Most commentators, it seemed, took this graph at face value, nodded sagely and moved on. However, this graph illustrates exactly what is wrong with the national responses to the spread of COVID-19.

The key to understanding the true meaning of this graph is to ask ourselves what is meant by the word 'intervention'. What is this magical substance 'intervention' that can take a pink (danger!) peak and flatten it into a blue (harmless!) speed bump.

'Intervention' means an extraordinary level of social disruption brought about by administrative fiat. The list of disruptions gets longer and more far-reaching every day: bans of assemblies of more than 5,000 1,000 500, perhaps 50, perhaps 5 people (why not?); travel restrictions and 'self-isolation'; the introduction of a rationing and command economy; empty offices, restaurants, schools and so on – empty everywhere, in fact. Not just other people, but every surface we touch – even food wrappings – could be infectious. Measures must be taken.

These measures are there to protect rattletrap underfunded and maladministered health systems which collapse under the weight of their own inefficiencies each winter. That protection will cost the people a great deal in money and civilised life.

In the last hundred years a number of epidemics have swept through humanity with remarkable regularity. That the powers-that-be are still taken aback by such well-flagged events and left completely unable to cope suggests that it is about time the citizenry called an Uber tumbril or two to take these pestilential administrators to a cruise ship moored offshore with only Pot Noodles to eat. They will be kept on board until public anger abates.

Exaggeration? Those with doubts should look at the current state of Italy, that model of bureaucracy, regulation, social control – and, of course, their inseparable partner, corruption. 'Lockdown', the media are calling it today.

There is no half-way house: once the powers-that-be have ramped up the panic with the aid of their mindless helpers the media, the ultimate result will always be 'lockdown'. The citizen has no legal basis to disagree.

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The media tremble excitedly at Kate's 'recycled' frock, but failed to notice that the kids didn't get the 'don't touch your face' message. Image: MailOnline.

The results of this lockdown, justified as a means of managing healthcare resources, are arguably much worse than the epidemic.

When the warm weather arrives it will kill off the virus better than any handlotion. The irony of hoping for a bit of global warming to protect us from these winter viruses should be lost on no one. We shall then have seven or eight months to work out how to deal with novel infectious diseases and how to shape the resources that are needed for a measured and cost-effective response.

As the powers-that-be, guided by those-who-know, apply their talent for maladministration to the present epidemic, we can sit back and watch this free preview of what is to come in the longer term battle in the Climate Emergency. The two 'emergencies', COVID-19 and Climate Change, are really just the two sides of the same coin: social control in the interest of a really quite totalitarian conception of society. Benito – all yours, baby.

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