Victor Meldrew Strikes Again

by Pseud O'Nym

The BBC today carries the laughably absurd story that,

 Coronavirus: ‘One billion’ could become infected worldwide – report’

 Which then goes onto add, in case you missed it the first time.

One billion people could become infected with the coronavirus worldwide unless vulnerable countries are given urgent help, an aid group has warned.

The IRC’s report, which is based on models and data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Imperial College London, estimated there could be between 500 million and one billion infections globally.

The reason I find this claim laughably absurd is not because I am a demented wrongcock, I am, but that’s not the reason. No it’s because of the use of the words ‘could’ and ‘estimates’. So basically guesswork then. Clever guesswork, to be sure, done by boffins in glasses and sensible shoes, but guesswork nonetheless. How do I know this? Because of this, when it states ‘there could be between 500 million and one billion infections globally.’ That’s some wriggle room they’re giving themselves there.

If I said to LMS that there could be 5 to 10 chocolate biscuits hidden in my cupboard, she’d quite rightly want to know if there were actually between 5 to 10, or only that there could be. There could be more, in which case she’d be delighted but equally there could be less. Words like ‘could’ and ‘estimated’ are like ‘might’, ‘should’ and ‘potential’, things that could just as easily happen as not. Might is maybe, potential is perhaps, and estimated is what a gas bill is. When was the last time you opened a gas bill that calculated the amount based on an estimated reading and thought ‘That seems right.’

The story also carried this

It also said there could be more than three million deaths across dozens of conflict-affected and unstable countries.

“These numbers should serve as a wake-up call,” said the head of the IRC, David Miliband.

Of course they should be. But not in the way our modern day Able thinks. If the global population totals over 7 billion, and a billion is a thousand million, then 3 million something like 0.05%.

On we go with yet another piece of unsurprising news, again from the BBC, that

A third of all coronavirus deaths in England and Wales are now happening in care homes, figures show.

 Office for National Statistics data showed there were 2,000 coronavirus care home deaths in the week ending 17 April, double the previous week.

It brings the total number of deaths in care homes linked to the virus since the start of the pandemic to 3,096.

Whoa, wait, back up there a bit! You don’t mean the care homes that are full of old people, those old people who live in care homes because they need care, the one’s who possibly have underlying health conditions and are therefore much more susceptible to die from this or any other illness anyway. Those ones. What a shock that wasn’t, people who were going to die soon, died sooner!

It does rather astound me, this notion that human life is sacred, that all human lives are somehow equally important. It is both patently absurd, and in this new reality dangerously naïve to assert that, as if it were some inviolate truth, something to never be questioned. Of course they’re not equal. For one thing a child of 8 or 18 has more life in them, more potential than someone who’s 88. And given how were constantly reminded of the need to protect the NHS, shouldn’t one of the ways we can help it, would be not to squander finite resources a finite amount of resources available to the NHS, shouldn’t these prioritised to be used on the most potential for life? This may seem unspeakably harsh to some reading this, but detached and rational thinking is what we need now, not emotion and sentiment clouding our decision-making capability.

If you’ve got this far, you’ll no doubt be wondering what cheerily heart-warming observation he’s going to end on, a bit like Jerry Springer, only without the faux sincerity. The BBC reports that there have been just over 3 million worldwide cases of cornonavirius, of whom nearly 215,00 have died, and almost 870,000 survived. It doesn’t say what the other 1.9 million are doing. Lounging about most likely. The UK fares even better though, with roughly 162,00 cases but only 22,00 deaths. I know my maths are a bit shaky but isn’t that a death rate of less than 10%? And the news just gets better, if we factor into our calculations that a third off all new deaths are happening at care homes. That’s a cause for celebration right there, isn’t it? A killer virus with a death rate of 6 or 7%? Really?

Mind you, if I get the virus and then die, I won’t be so glib then!