Match, Meet Gasoline

We're told the latest variant of the Covid-19 virus isn't more deadly except that it is much more transmissible. It's more easily spread. A greater number of people may be infected for each carrier. In a situation in which deaths are weighed against economic impacts that gives rise to a number of dilemmas.

First detected in the UK, the "new and improved" virus is said to have originated in South Africa. Who cares? As we saw yesterday, that didn't stop a lot of British holidaymakers from defying their government's appeals to get in a ski vacation to various Alpine resorts. When the Swiss ordered the Brits into quarantine they stole away into the night. Quelle surprise!

I think Covid-19 Mk. II needs to be taken very seriously. Now those who defiantly choose to reject precautions - masks, social distancing, isolation - become a far greater threat to the public welfare and our healthcare systems and must be dealt with accordingly. 

Then there's what could become Plague Central. Covid Mk. II has reached India. Not exactly the ideal venue for an easily transmissible virus.

Judging by the Times of India, the new virus strain isn't foremost on that country's mind. They're much more focused on a greater threat - China. The lead story in today's paper relates how even Pakistanis are turning their backs on China's Covid vaccine.  It's got one of those "Mikey will eat anything" vibes. The paper accuses China of using access to their vaccine to pressure Third World states into accepting Huawei's 5G technology.

The other big story is about the Chinese military deploying large numbers of missiles, surface to air and surface to surface, along the Chinese-Indian border. China has also deployed the latest S-400 Russian missile systems and its impressive 4.5 generation fighters to the area. India has responded with 1980s vintage Mig-29s. 

It's beginning to sound like a movie - Dr. Strangelove Meets Covid Mk. II. Oh dear.


  1. Meanwhile, while the boys play with dangerous toys and climate change threatens humanity ...

    "WHO warns Covid-19 pandemic is 'not necessarily the big one'"

    "Ryan warned that the next pandemic may be more severe. “This pandemic has been very severe … it has affected every corner of this planet. But this is not necessarily the big one,” he said.

    “This is a wake-up call. We are learning, now, how to do things better: science, logistics, training and governance, how to communicate better. But the planet is fragile.

    “We live in an increasingly complex global society. These threats will continue. If there is one thing we need to take from this pandemic, with all of the tragedy and loss, is we need to get our act together. We need to honour those we’ve lost by getting better at what we do every day.”"
    via The Guardian

    We need to get our act together. (As long as we don't inconvenience British skiers.)

    1. Your comment brings to mind a tangential issue. What concerns me is our resilience or, to be specific, the fragility of our governments, our societies, even ourselves as individuals.

      In the post-war era we have developed into high-functioning idiots. We are groomed to master one function, about all that one person can handle in our fast-paced, high-tech world which leaves us dependent on others for our health, safety and necessaries of life. This dependency creates an enormous vulnerability. It's akin to the "just in time" practice used in commerce that's great, so long as it works, and is a disaster whenever something disrupts it.

      I have watched with concern how even the most powerful nations have struggled to cope with the disruption of Covid-19. The warnings of this sort of threat go back several years. Just as the Clinton team told Bush/Cheney that al Qaeda posed a grave threat to the United States, a warning promptly ignored; the Obama team tried to tell the incoming Trump administration of the threat of some plague and even handed over a detailed playbook for how to use the levers of power to respond. Trump tore up the playbook and dismantled the pandemic response team.

      Governments today have the attitude that "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it" and then, when they arrive at the bridge, wheeze and gasp as they struggle to cross. It's the equivalent of whistling past the graveyard and we're doing it across the board of looming threats.

      Most of these challenges are identified. We can visualize them, or we could if we weren't so fond of those blinders. Ours is a failure: governmental, societal, individual for which we may pay dearly. Sometimes I think I've got just two things going for me - one, I'm old; two, I still shoot tight groups at the range (or I did until the virus closed that down).

    2. Hey ... very much along the lines of this discussion is a new book I've just started ...

      The Ministry for the Future
      by Kim Stanley Robinson

      From the visionary, New York Times bestselling author of New York 2140 comes a near-future novel that is a gripping exploration of climate change, technology, politics, and the human behaviors that drive these forces.

      If fiction is normally your escape, this one is a bit of a 'bus-man's holiday'. But I like it.

      One great idea worth debating:
      Central banks should only do QE (money printing) in the form of 'carbon coins'
      i.e. One coin = one tonne of carbon sequestered (or not used?)

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