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Who Benefits?

A few hours after I made that post yesterday, about half of which asks the question "who benefits" to which I myself cannot find the answer, I came across this video.

This is not primarily about the virus. It is about the US economy. I have pasted the link from the time where he actually talks about the virus and what it might mean. But, to really get what he is saying one needs to listen from the start where he is talking about the US economy, which he says has been in terrible shape for a very long time due to some very bad decisions that go back decades, and that it had gotten to the actual point of free fall before the whole virus scare. And one also has to continue to the end in order to hear him talk about the Dollar as the Reserve Currency and how the US might be in the process of losing that. The whole video is about an hour long. The bit where he specifically talks about the virus is only a few minutes.

It may give an answer to the "who benefits" question. May also only be a partial answer.

And no, it is nothing like a huge global conspiracy, some cabal, some power grab, some wealth grab.

The explanation given is laughably simple: Ineptitude, selfishness, pettiness, myopia, the fundamental human urge for covering one's ass when one is caught with one's pants down. Very banal. Very anti-climactic. Pitiful. Wretchedly so, in fact. And also very predictable when you consider the baseness, the depravity to which we human beings can sink when it suits our needs.

And if true - an unforgivable sin.

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I am more scared than I have ever been



And I am alone in my fear.

Blogger is now putting page views right next to the posts on the dashboard, so one doesn't have to go to a stats page to see if anyone is viewing the blog. No one seems to, literally not a single person, so I can probably start looking at this thing as a private diary. Which is good. Because I do need to talk about this stuff, to articulate it, bring it outside my head where it is just running in circles or rather downward plunging spirals. I need to create some kind of mental order before I lose my mind. Which, I think I am in the process of doing actually. Writing it out (in lieu of talking about it) may help slow this. It won't stop it  - I am too frightened for my mind-state to go back to any sort of rationality any time soon.

The world, as I have known it during my 66 years here, is probably gone. The lively streets, the cafes, the conversations, the city animals, the shops. I keep seeing this picture in my head. So, let me write this like a story like as if someone else is telling it, like a quote:

"At some unknown point in the future the powers that be will say "OK, you can go back out now" and I will go out. Turn the corner, down the little hill that leads into the market. There is a restaurant there, it is called Sokak Restaurant (sokak means street in Turkish) which was owned by a wonderful guy named Cengiz. On the wall they have a mural that says "sokakta hayat var" which means "there is life in the streets". I will see that mural. It will slowly fade over the years to come but right now it is still there, still bright and fresh. The restaurant itself is gone. They used to have a colony of cats there. Well fed happy cats. They never used to bug customers for food or anything like than. Back then (before early March 2020 - I am projecting into the future in my fantasy), while there was still "life on the streets" no cat in Istanbul ever did. The shopkeepers took care of them, you see.

The restaurant is gone. The chairs and tables are still there, covered in dust. No one has even bothered to move them and they are not loot-worthy it seems. Their wooden seats have already started to rot at the edges because the past Spring has been unusually rainy and wet. 

The cats are gone. Some may have died of starvation. Some have hopefully gone feral and are feeding off of mice and such in the big churchyard next door. Cengiz's waiters, his wonderful maitre d Zafer, the busboys. Where are they now? Are they OK? Did they go back to their home towns? Were they from villages? Maybe they went back to them and have started to at least grow their own food? At least that. And maybe there is even a kernel of hope in that. A new beginning. 

I continue to walk. There is a small street. It used to be lined with small businesses. Mostly cafes and bars, an internet cafe, a glazier named Ercan and his nephew Umut, who were very special friends of mine. All boarded up. They left. Had to. Could no longer pay the rent. Had gotten into too much debt. Whatever. If you can call pavements and buildings a street, sure it is still a street. But of course it is no longer a street, there is no more life. 

I turn the corner into what used to be one of the busiest tavern streets of Istanbul. Boarded up. I had a special friend on this street. Kemal. A wily old Kurd from Ağrı who owned the small tea and coffee counter, a little gold mine. There was a seating area of straw covered low stools, always jam packed with all sorts of people, from all sorts of backgrounds and ages. Common denominator: We were all HDP supporters. We had a common political cause. I used to hang out there sometimes. Kemal has long closed the counter and gone back to Ağrı where he is lucky enough to still have a small farm. (As I am writing this he has already left, so this is no fantasy, it has already happened). Where all the other comrades are - who knows... Dispersed to the winds. And not only they - politics itself is dispersed to the winds. Who will scream about this or that atrocity, gossip about this or that politician when the world is collapsing around us?

Because this is what I am walking through right now, of course. The economy has collapsed, ergo the world, as we knew it, has collapsed. Not just a crisis. It is demolished. And not just here in my little old hood that used to be so full of life. Not just here in Turkey. Across the globe. Maybe a few ultra rich northern European countries are not yet facing the music. But fear not, they will in time. When everyone else is belly up who are they gonna export their goodies to? It is here, now. They will get it in 6 months. 

Anyway, I continue to walk.

The whole tavern street is almost gone. A straggler here or there hanging on for a few more weeks maybe. There are no customers. The clientele used to be shop owners, small business employees - they are bust. Maybe students whose allowances could afford these places. The allowances are gone - the parents are bust. Everyone is bust. Who is gonna go to a tavern now?

This used to be a soccer neighborhood. Giant screens everywhere, in all the taverns where people watched the game. All have been looted away. A few broken ones here and there, still mounted. Gathering dust. 

I continue. The fish market. Half empty. Most of the customers who used to buy the fish can no longer afford it. Besides the fish wholesalers have gone belly up too. They can only sell what local fishermen fish out of the Bosporus and that is precious little. But not too many people who have enough money left in their pockets to buy it, so all is good. Supply meets demand.

I walk as far as what used to be a bustling supermarket. A small one but stocked to the gills. It is still there. The shelves are now mostly empty. There is only one cashier left and only one of the many many floor guys who used to always annoyingly get in the way. I know both of them by sight. We hug. We burst into tears.
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It is now 6 months later. In the meantime my employer, the university has already made an across the board cut in the salaries. Only 50% of what it used to be. But now I get a personal message. Since I am so near to retirement age they are cutting me off. Well, it is true, I was very close. I go. No hurt feelings.
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It is now a year later. The university closes entirely. Paid students can no longer pay tuition. And the foundation can no longer pay for the scholarship students. Finito. I am no longer there myself but it breaks my heart. 
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I have savings. I dole them out into tiny amounts. We are living on bare essentials now, which are getting harder and harder to find. There is a food scarcity. Last Spring farmers across the world were not allowed to plant their fields since they were expected to adhere to the rules of the lock down and stay in their houses. Now, there are the early signs of a global famine. 

Hafize, and her daughter decide to move back to a small town called Cide where she has a house. Her village is close by, she can grow food. They want me to go with them. And I do.

My life, as I have known it, is over."

Back to now: I cannot talk about this. It is a forbidden subject. I have tried. Not by describing such a walk, of course. That I am doing for the first time now. By saying "forget the virus, the world has seen many pandemics and survived all of  them. It will survive this one too. Look at the world: It is collapsing". Do not look at the trees, look at the forest, in other words. Look at the collapse of an economic system that in one shape or another has been around for thousands of years. It is in meltdown in front of our very eyes. It is targeting you now. Not just the working classes as has always happened during crises. This is not a crisis! It is a controlled demolition that will wipe out everyone, including the global middle class, even the upper middle class if it is allowed to go on long enough. You! And you are talking to me about a virus? Economies have run, shops have stayed open, as have taverns, as have brothels even, even during the black plague for gods sakes! And you are talking to me about a virus? For which there isn't even a proper test?

The answer I get is either a resounding silence or a reply that calls me irresponsible, deluded, a conspiracy theorist (I do not have single conspiracy theory about this btw, to which I will get to in a minute). Or, at best, the nicest ones, try to talk me into accepting the virus. That it is in fact very very dangerous. How can I not see that and worry about other stuff? Mostly it is silence. But it has become a pattern. It is always one of these three.

I have wondered about this, about these almost automated responses that seem to kick in, whenever I try to draw attention to the economic collapse. And the answer has come to me during a conversation with my nephew Sinan (one of only 2 people around me who are looking this straight in the eye).

It is too scary. So, when someone tries to make them face it people either shut down or become hostile or try to talk you out of it. However, I am fairly certain that somewhere in the backs of their minds everyone knows this, sees it. We have this saying here "cambaza bak", means "look at the jongleur". I think it sort of corresponds to "shiny object". So, for now at least, for as long as you can afford to do so, it is safer psychologically to look at the shiny object. Because when you look at the future - the sheer uncertainty of what you are looking at, may lead to insanity. Which, I think, is the road that I am headed down myself.

But it isn't just that. It is also the loss of logic that is driving insanity as much as uncertainty.

I do not know anything about this pandemic. I am looking at those Euromomo graphs. What I see there is that there have been very bad outbreaks in 26 EU countries every Winter, and into the Spring of every year since 2016. What I am also seeing is that they have the same pattern. They start, they escalate, and then probably when it gets too warm for whatever it is that is causing the outbreak to continue operating they die down. And return when it gets cold again. Only 4 years that I can see here, but I imagine that this would have to be a recurring pattern since the start of this planet. And one that would affect all living creatures, not just humans. Nature's way of cleaning up, making room for the new. Very sad, yes. Natural, also yes.

Why did we not go into full on panic mode in 2016? Or 2017? Or 2018? Or last year in 2019? Is this one bigger now? The graphs don't say that. In fact they suggest the opposite. Yes, the Euromomo people have put a caveat on the site saying that it takes them some time to aggregate the data, so the recent weeks may not be reflected accurately. They say that they have put this caveat in because a lot of people are confused as to why the current deaths shown in the graph do not spike as much as the ones in the previous 3 years. I am not at all surprised that people are asking about this. I am too. Even if the data of the recent weeks may not yet have been fully aggregated, is there any way that they would eventually constitute a curve bigger than the ones from previous years? Could they even approach it? Sinan did some more digging around and found out that the epidemic in 2016 caused 270000 deaths in the EU alone. The total world number now for this outbreak, as I am writing this, is at 28,791 - about a tenth of that. The whole world against only 26 EU States, and it is only 1/10?

I do not know whether this is a pandemic that will kill hundreds of millions or not. What I am seeing in numbers does not support this at all. But, what do I know? Maybe this is only the start and it will escalate completely out of control and all the computer models that the technocrats are busily concocting are accurate, which is why they have put the world in lock-down. Only time will show us that. But right now, with what we can see tangibly here on these graphs, locking down the world economy is illogical in the face of the data that we currently have. But even if that were not the case, even if this was deemed to be an eminently sensible, logical precaution to take - is this a measure that has ever been taken before? In all of history? Has there ever been a precedent for this?

So... Why is this happening now? Could there be some kind of ulterior motive? One that has nothing to do with sense and precaution at all? This would be the point where I would normally be expected to jump straight into conspiracies. Which is not what I am going to do. In fact I am going to do exactly the opposite. Because...

Who benefits?

Who benefits out of locking down the world economy because there is a perceived (real or not, but definitely perceived) threat of a pandemic that would dwarf the Spanish flu?

Again - who benefits?

No one, as far as I can see. At first I did wonder about all this "upward transfer of wealth by the 1%" stuff. The "major reset to a single world digital currency" stuff. Or "they are using this to set up a global police state" stuff. But when you really sit down and give it some thought...

Who is Apple going to sell all those iphones to? Every busboy here, during those happy bustling marketplace days, had one you know? Not just the 1%, or the 5%, or indeed the 10% or even the 20%. Masses across the world were buying the stuff. That is how the stocks went up, that is how the shareholder fat-cats became even fatter-cats. Only iphones? Name a product. Any product. Same principle. So, how exactly does the 1% benefit? So, they have swooped in and bought up everything in sight that the depleted middle classes had to forsake. And? Can they sell it on? Who is there left to buy it? Valueless property, that's all. On top of which the production lines have dried up. No one left to buy all the goodies which I would think is the real resource that feeds everything else. Commerce.

Nation States: How are they gonna collect taxes? Here, as in quite a bit of the rest of the world as I understand it, a lot of tax is collected from VAT. But everyone stopped buying? Businesses went belly up, so not much income tax left to collect either. So, how are all these famous police states going to operate? With no money to fund all the toys, the drones, the software, the personnel? The Military Industrial Complexes: No taxes, no tanks. Sorry.

And OK, let us say that some evil unseen cabal out there somewhere actually wants Nation States to collapse in order to bring about their dream of a World Government. This is the biggest conspiracy of them all isn't it? Where is that world government going to get its money from if there is no commerce to tax? No taxes and everything falls apart. You can sit at world government headquarters and twiddle your thumbs. You don't have the funds to run it, do you?

No one benefits.

And then the last one - OK, they have gone to a digital currency. That is what it was all about! Well...  Not much use left for it, is there? Commerce has stopped. Sure, it will allow governments and corporations to monitor every single purchase. But with no police state infrastructure that can be funded to do away with the culprits because the States (or the world government) can no longer collect taxes, what use is that? And on a more practical level with all that - if I go and buy a pack of cigarettes my insurance company will raise my premiums. Right? Not to worry, will there even be any insurance companies left?

Bottom-line: Unless a significant proportion, if not the majority, of the world's population is employed and is buying stuff and paying taxes, either as income tax or as VAT, everything stops. I am not an economist, or a social scientist, but I think I still have enough brain cells to see this. I mean, how can it be otherwise? No cabal - no matter how evil, no matter how secret, no 1% - no one, absolutely no one, can hope to benefit from a demolished world economy.

When there is no more "life on street" left, life ends for everyone. For the busboys at Cengiz's restaurant, his happy cat colony, and the 1% and the cabal alike.

And the collective wisdom of humanity has always known that. Until 2020. Where has that shared human experience, the wisdom, a knowledge of history that has seen to it that life continued as best as it could even during times of great adversity, that businesses stayed upon, that production and commerce went on even during the worst plagues, even during famines, even during the bloodiest and most god awful wars, gone? What has happened to the age old collective wisdom of humanity?

There is no logic. It is demented.

And this increases my fear. The complete lack of logic of this whole thing. From the pandemic to the measures taken to prevent its spread.

I will probably not be alone for long. Soon the forest will come to people's doors. It will be right there staring into everyone's faces - regardless of whether you want to look back at it or not. The juggler will pack up his balls and go home when the neighbor upstairs goes bankrupt. And then the neighbor downstairs. When your tenant can no longer pay the rent. And then... No, I won't say it.

I will not be alone in my despair for long, I think. Unfortunately, at that point, it will probably also be too late.

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I hope I am wrong. I pray I am wrong. I pray that this time next year everyone around me will take the piss out of me, reminding me of my panic today and how utterly silly I was and how I made a mountain out of a mole hill. And could my mental state be attributed to paranoia? Dementia maybe even? I might want to check out a really good health professional, you know? I am ready and willing, more than willing - I beg to take on all the ridicule and more. I am willing to take on abuse, if only I can turn out to be completely mistaken.

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March 2020 - Naxos made me write this...



I have not written anything on this blog for a long time. I could say it was because nothing terribly interesting was happening and that I was sort of vegetating. Not true. There have been events, especially the military operations that my country undertook in Syria last Fall and Winter that had me beside myself. Back then I made some videos that I shared on FB, but I did not feel up to writing about it here.

And I would probably not have felt up to writing about this current world crisis either, but Naxos has somehow talked me into it. He and I have been talking about this quite a bit and yesterday he sent me the link to an article written by a Futurologist called Matthias Horx and my response to that article is what Naxos insists I should write down.

But just to give a bit of background here: My big fear is not about the virus itself. It is about what the effects of the "cure" to it are likely to be: Economic collapse and the tiptoeing in of authoritarianism and a surveillance society world-wide. I am utterly terrified of these.

The virus itself? I simply don't know. The numbers they show us, all those steep upward graphs. Looks very scary, certainly. But, what do these numbers show us exactly? We only see the increase in total case numbers identified. What we never seem to see are an increase in percentages. The numbers of tests conducted are increasing from day to day in every country. In fact, they are increasing exponentially. Here in Turkey for example, they conducted 3800 tests yesterday, today they will conduct 10000. So, of course the numbers of identified cases will also jump up. In fact, from yesterday to today the identified case numbers here in Turkey will probably jump from 670 to around 2000 because of the increased numbers of tests. And of course the population will be utterly terrified because all they will see is the number 2000 (or whatever it comes out to be) from 670 in just one day. So, what confounds me in all this is that very few appear to be asking about what happens to the actual percentages. Do they also go up or do they remain steady or even go down? Until I see percentages that go up over time I am not going to panic about a pandemic.* And no, I am not expecting to see percentages of any kind - up, down, steady, whatever - any time soon, if ever. So, as far as the virus goes - again, absent of percentages over time, how can one possibly know? What I do panic about instead are the likely results of this.

And before I appear completely insensitive here: The disease itself - regardless of whether this is a contagious virus, a highly contagious virus, an epidemic, or a full on pandemic - of course I am horrified by that and what the afflicted, their families and the health workers caring for them must be going through. From the descriptions of it, it sounds very much like Pleurisy, so heaven help all that are faced with it. So, I am not ignoring the disease, or that it is obviously contagious, that one should be ultra careful. Goes without saying, but I want to say all that anyway.

No matches for the word "Percentage" on a huge site devoted solely to Corona Virus statistics that has apparently gotten over 40 million views to date. 
So anyway, this is the sort of stuff that Naxos and I have been talking about. He is more worried about the contagiousness level of the virus than I am but we seem to be more or less on the same page about other things. Especially about the impact that this will have on the global economy and the creeping in of authoritarianism. So, I think in order to cheer me (and himself) up he sent me this article above.

What Horx does is this: He moves into the future, to the Fall of 2020, and imagines himself sitting in a cafe looking back at today. And he realizes that this crisis has made his society come out stronger, more resilient. He gives lots of examples from social relations to culture to even the economy. It is a beautifully written text, German only but I am sure internet translation will work just fine should you want to read it. And it is a text of hope, it has a positive message, for which I heartily applaud the author. In a world of fear-mongering click bait, writing a positive text is only to be commended.

That said... (And everything from here on is a slightly edited copy paste of what I said to Naxos on Whatsapp)

Well, he is looking at it from the micro perspective of an upper middle class German** (one of very few countries in the world that may come out of this with less economic damage) whose life in the Fall of 2020 may well be like what he describes.

At that point he will also be used to a lot of new things, such as the fact that the government is tracking his every movement via his phone. He will have become acclimatized to the new world he is living in and no longer think about the fact that a lot of freedoms he took for granted (such as travel whenever he likes, wherever he likes, with no "papers" for example) are no longer there.

That is the whole point. People will transition into totalitarianism without knowing it. In fact welcoming it.

Oh and of course - that cafe he is sitting in - that will have changed ownership. It will now be owned by some fat-cat Dubai cartel and the nice people who are running it (who used to be the former owners of it) are now just minimum wage earners.

But, he as an upper middle class person, will probably not look that far. What will matter is that it still "looks the same".

Oh and of course, he will really love that he can now do a lot of things online from home, doesn't have to trek to meetings, because during this crisis that has also been established as a norm.

But will he realize that "working from home" isolates humanity? Prevents groups from forming? Opinions being shared? New ideas coming out of spontaneous conversations? That, in other words, "working from home" is the best hindrance to dissent? No better way to prevent opposition than physically separating people?

Once the "crisis" is over the changes will be very subtle. And most people will not see them. But, they will be there. There will be mass surveillance the likes of which Orwell couldn't have imagined. But outwardly, the world for upper middle class people who are not dissenters, who are OK with the system, who do not question things, will "look the same".

They will never even know.
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Added March 24th: For the past few days the Minister of Health here has been doing something that helps me make my own percentage time line for Turkey. Every night he gives out the numbers of tests that were conducted on that day and the cases identified within that number, from which one can calculate a percentage, of course. The tests are selective, in other words they are conducted on people who go to the hospitals with already serious flu symptoms. (Mild symptoms have been told to not go to the hospital since only serious cases will be considered for testing and further treatment. If you have a regular cold, runny nose, etc etc, even a temperature that isn't actually spiking, you are expected to do the usual stuff at home. Only if it turns into a serious chest congestion and/or a spiking fever are you told to come in). So, the following percentages obviously do not reflect the cases within the general population but only within a select group of people who are already seriously sick with flu in order to have become eligible for the test in the first place.

Today, 5 days into his giving out the first set of results, cases identified seem to be holding steady around 8 - 9%. No increases, in other words. Here are the numbers and I will keep adding them for as long as they come in:
  • 19 March (1981 tests, 168 cases) % 8,48;
  • 20 March (3656 tests, 311 cases) % 8,50; 
  • 21 March (2953 tests, 277 cases) % 9,38; 
  • 22 March (On this date the case number was given (289) however the total test number was not given by the Minister. Some people on twitter came up with a very low test number (1775) which gives a very high percentage result of course - %16,46. This number of 1775 tests, looking at the percentages trend from the days before and after is very likely to be completely bogus, but I am adding it in anyway.)
  • 23 March (3672 tests, 293 cases) % 8.2
  • 24 March (3952 tests, 343 cases) % 8.67
  • 25 March (5.035 tests, 561 cases) % 11.1 (yes, today it has gone up. Taking note)
  • 26 March (7.286 tests, 1.196 cases) % 16.4 (so yes, this is a big jump. Taking note, of course)
  • 27 March (7533 tests, 2069 cases) % 27.4 (This does seem to be spreading very quickly. So could it be of more concern than I think? _____ Or, having thought about this for a bit: It could also be the spread pattern of any seasonal flu, of any corona virus. Starts slow then increases rapidly. No way of knowing that. At least for me.)
  • 28 March (7641 tests, 1704 cases) % 22.3
  • 29 March (9982 tests, 1805 cases) % 18.1
  • 30 March (11535 tests, 1610 cases) % 13.9
Added March 26th: Just came across this. I am not going to make any comments about this. Draw your own conclusions. Mine are complete confusion. I cannot make any sense of this at all. Why would you lock down a whole country and wreck your economy when you no longer consider the disease high risk? This is really really strange. Could this be some sort of mistake?: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/high-consequence-infectious-diseases-hcid#status-of-covid-19

Added March 27th 1AM: I came across a news site called UKColumn which has turned out to be quite a find. Which is where I actually also found about the UK government posting that I added here a few hours ago. But, when I listened to their broadcast from the 25th I found out about something else that has really bewildered me, which is what is shown in this site here. This is a EU funded organization that monitors mortality rates in EU countries. Highly legit, mostly partners with health ministries. The WHO is sitting on their advisory board. And they have put out graphs that are based on mortality from April 2016 to March 15th of this year in EU countries. They have a collated one and then they also have something that they call a z-graph which shows what happened in individual EU countries during these 4 years.

And these graphs show that there were three epidemics in Europe since 2016. The first in late 2016 through Spring of 2017, and looking at the numbers in the graph it looks like as if 70000 people died during this one. And then across 2017 and 2018, starting in the Fall and going all the way to the early Summer there was a second one - maybe the second wave of the first one. Around 65000 deaths it seems. And then there was a smaller one last year - smaller being a relative term, 60000 deaths during this one:
https://www.euromomo.eu/index.html

When it comes to the present time there is a spike starting in the Winter of 2019-2020. It briefly goes up to 60000 at the very end of 2019 and then appears to hover just below that for a bit after which it starts to go down in more recent weeks. However, they do say on the site that the data they have for recent weeks is unreliable, so I would think that one should not take that drop into account quite so quickly. But, even if all the deaths have not been registered yet, even if there is a delay in collecting the data, is there any way that this could spike to the level of the epidemic in 2016? The one from 2019, yes maybe, just about if death numbers rise as quickly as they have been rising over the past week. But the one from 2016? 70000? In EU countries alone? The numbers on the worldometer site are from the whole planet and they currently, as I am writing this, stand at 24000.

But regardless of whether this one catches up or not - the thing is this: Why did we never hear about the epidemic of 2016?

Anyway, I think I am going to keep a very close eye on this from now on. See how their data changes after more of it has been collected.

Added March 28th: From when I wrote this my mind state has changed much for the worst. I just somehow re-read a bit of this, and it seems like as if I was far more sanguine a week ago. Today, I am extremely scared. Really really scared. So, I made a new post here.
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* Added March 23rd: I want to note this for the record: The number of deaths from the virus have gone up over 180% from March 18 to today. In just 5 days! From 8951 to 16514. And this is scarily significant. Could show, in fact does show, that this is far more dangerous that I was assuming 3 days ago when I wrote this. I do not know whether it shows that the flu is more contagious, again I still think that that we can only know if we see percentages over time, however it definitely shows that if one is in a certain demographic and one catches it, this is a very dangerous illness indeed: There has been a release by the Italian Institute of Health in recent days which shows that the median age of deaths related to the virus is 80.5 years, so it appears to be an old people's disease. And the same release also says that only 0.8% of death cases had no preexisting health conditions. That, in fact, 75% had 2 or more pre-existent health conditions. So, I am still going to want to see percentages before I become convinced regarding contagiousness. But, after this report by the IIH, I think I will want to see not only percentages but also percentage distributions by age brackets.

But, that said, an increase of over 180% in just 5 days does not portend at all well for old people who have the disease in a serious form and I want to go on the record that I am now keeping this very much in mind.

** Actually when I looked later I saw that Horx is Austrain, or at least lives in Vienna. But, it doesn't really change the thrust of this. Austria is probably also one of the few countries, along with most of Northern Europe, that will emerge less damaged - economically that is. The other stuff, the shift to authoritarianism and total surveillance I would expect to be universal, of course. There as much as everywhere else.