Government in crisis: reblog


By Adam Przeworski – Democratic governments have implemented measures similar to those by autocracies in response to the pandemic. Are these value trade-offs temporary experiments, or will they be here to stay?

COVID-19 reveals the fragility of our values

Give me liberty or give me death appears, at these times that we live in to be an aberration. Billions have chosen life.

Hunger or Covid19? That’s the million dollar question for the daily wage earners.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

34 thoughts on “Government in crisis: reblog

  1. Ron says:

    Well, the statistics have ly revealed that the fear of COVID-19 is/was completely unwarranted.

    Riots or Covid19? Not even a consideration for the millions who took to the streets to burn down businesses.

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    • makagutu says:

      Why does it look like you are wrong about this. Different places that have reopened have had to reintroduce the measures. Sweden is soon to have a review of their (non)response. I wish there was information coming from our neighbours, the Tanzanians so we would know

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      • Nan says:

        New Zealand just had two new cases sneak in … AFTER they had won the battle and resumed normal living. But it’s all a hoax, right? The news just made it up.

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      • Ron says:

        What exactly am I wrong about? The stats? or that all the social distancing rules were completely jettisoned the rioters and looters?

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          • Ron says:

            Well, here are the COVID-19 death stats (per million) to 2020-06-20:

            UK: 625 (0.0625%)
            Sweden: 500 (0.0500%)
            France: 453 (0.0453%)
            USA: 360 (0.0360%)
            Brazil: 230 (0.023%)
            Canada: 221 (0.0221%)
            Germany: 106 (0.0106%)
            New Zealand: 4 (0.0004%)
            Australia: 4 (0.0004%)

            https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-data-explorer?zoomToSelection=true&deathsMetric=true&totalFreq=true&perCapita=true&smoothing=0&country=USA~GBR~CAN~BRA~AUS~DEU~FRA~SWE~NZL

            Which seems about right for the US. Based on an estimated population of 329.8 million and ~118.4k COVID-19 deaths that works out to a COVID-19 death rate of:

            359 per million
            35.9 per hundred thousand
            0.359 per thousand
            0.0359 per hundred
            = 0.04%

            And by way of comparison, here are the CDC death stats for 2017

            Number of deaths: 2,813,503
            Death rate: 863.8 deaths per 100,000 population

            Life expectancy: 78.6 years
            Infant Mortality rate: 5.79 deaths per 1,000 live births

            Number of deaths for leading causes of death:

            Heart disease: 647,457
            Cancer: 599,108
            Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
            Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
            Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
            Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
            Diabetes: 83,564
            Influenza and Pneumonia: 55,672
            Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 50,633
            Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173

            https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

            Now, assuming those numbers are correct, Americans are far more likely to die of stroke, lower respiratory disease, unintentional accidents, cancer and heart disease –four of which are almost entirely lifestyle-related (and thus almost entirely preventable)–than they are of COVID-19. Not to mention the fact that the NYC stats show those same risk factors increase the liklihood of dying from COVID-19.

            So, given the above stats, which ones am I wrong about? and why?

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            • makagutu says:

              Looking at the stats, they are misleading. The issue here is that the death from covid19 as a % of those infected is quite high.

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              • Ron says:

                How so? The true percentage infected is unknown given that only a minuscule percentage of the population has ever been tested.

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                • makagutu says:

                  Not the true % of those infected. Based on the current data of those who have been tested and have a positive result, the death rates have been reported to be quite high.

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                  • Ron says:

                    And millions who’ve had it and recovered (thinking it was the seasonal flu, or something else) or never got sick weren’t tested. The first site I linked to above states:

                    “The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) is the ratio between confirmed deaths and confirmed cases. During an outbreak of a pandemic the CFR is a poor measure of the mortality risk of the disease. We explain this in detail at OurWorldInData.org/Coronavirus”

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            • Nan says:

              The question that comes to my mind is WHY are you trying so hard to downplay the seriousness of COVID19?

              To someone like my other-half who has both age and health problems, it’s far better to be safe than sorry … no matter WHAT the statistics and/or the conspirators say.

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              • Ron says:

                Because facts matter. I’ve never downplayed the seriousness of COVID-19 for the elderly and those with underlying health problems. They should definitely treat it seriously and take measures to reduce their health risks. It’s the blanket policies impairing the movement of healthy people that I take issue with and challenge.

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                • Nan says:

                  No one likes to be constrained … even old people. But this virus has shown it can attack both young and old. Certainly the elderly are more at risk … but when a “healthy person” contracts it via a “less-than-healthy” person (who could be standing next to them … sans mask), then it continues its insidious spread.

                  I don’t think ANYONE likes being confined … and I’m talking mask-wearing as well as staying home. But the statistics continue to indicate that all those “healthy people” who are ignoring precautions are playing a role in the continuing spread of the virus.

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                  • Ron says:

                    Every person is a walking petris dish capable of infecting others with all manner of illness, but we don’t suspend civil liberties for all the other harmful pathogens. So why implement special rules for one particular strain of corona-virus?

                    According to Encyclopedia Britannica, most viruses are well under a micron (millionth of a meter) in size and would easily pass through most homemade masks; so their efficacy in preventing the spread of COVID-19 is low to non-existent. I’ve read it’s the equivalent of using a chain link fence to keep out flying insects.

                    https://www.britannica.com/science/virus/Size-and-shape

                    As to who is most vulnerable,

                    Click on the Blue box labeled “>Table 1. Deaths involving . . .” to expand the data table found here:

                    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm#AgeAndSex

                    The <35 demographic, which represents ~45% of the population, accounts for less than 1% of all COVID-19 deaths. And the <55 demographic (71% of the population) accounts for 7.4% of COVID-19 deaths. The 55+ group (29% of the population) accounts for 93% of all COVID-19 deaths. The correlation between COVID-19 deaths and age (plus declining health) is undeniable. And the graph underneath the table illustrates this perfectly.

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                    • Nan says:

                      All I can say, Ron, is if you or a loved one just “happens” to contract this virus (since it’s so statistically remote) and suffers from its effects, you should probably carry all the various graphs and/or charts you cited with you to the hospital. I’m sure they’ll make you feel a whole lot better while you’re gasping for air.

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                    • Ron says:

                      Living is a risky business, and as the narrator of “Fight Club” rightly observed:

                      “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”

                      Statistics allow us to assess and navigate those risks in an unbiased manner. Because if we allowed our emotions to hold sway, there’d be no end to the things that got banned for safety reasons.

                      Thousands die every year from bad reactions to prescription drugs. And according to the CDC, over 40,000 Americans died in motor vehicle accidents in 2017, while another 36,000 died from falls. Should we therefore ban prescription drugs, or outlaw driving and the installation of stairs, steps, ladders, tubs and showers for the sake of those who will suffer the loss of a loved one from those causes?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      While I agree with you on the question of statistics allowing us to assess and navigate risks, there is a bias in numbers depending on who collected data, analysed it & all. Though I know these can be tested for accuracy.

                      But to go ahead and ask if we should not have stairs or tubs is in this case, I think, misleading. We can minimise the risk of falls from staircase or in tubs. When we have a pandemic that we don’t have a clue on how it spread from the host animal to humans, there is need for some caution.

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                    • Ron says:

                      The National Center for Health Statistics compiles its stats from all the death certificates issued across the nation. And while the cause of death in some cases may be undetermined (especially in elderly patients with multiple health conditions), doctors were instructed to err on the side of caution and list COVID-19 as a cause of death it the decedent tested positive for the virus prior too death. So there is a strong likelihood that the actual number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 are overstated.

                      As to mitigation, the most effective solution in protecting the elderly is to refrain from sending sick patients to nursing homes and elder care facilities — like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      I agree with you the deaths could be overstated. One possibility being that the patient died from something else only made worse by covid

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                    • Ron says:

                      Well, that’s my thinking, too. C-19 is probably not the cause so much as it’s the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      This is an interesting graph, C-19 seems to be clamouring for position 1 among killer diseases worldwide
                      https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/2634167/

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      We have for example here, laws against knowingly infecting someone with HIV. There are other pathogens- such as common cold( a corona virus)- that isn’t deadly so we don’t need anything drastic.

                      You and I are likely to agree on the face masks people are wearing in public. I think it is just false confidence that they are safe. And many wear them on the chin or below the nose. It’s all a mess

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                    • Ron says:

                      I agree that knowingly infecting others is considered gauche.. However, HIV is transmitted via sexual contact or shared needles, The flu and pneumonia, OTH, are transmitted via sneezes and coughs. So you take precautions by keeping a safe distance away from those who are visibly ill.

                      As for the mask, I agree. They offer a false sense of security. And it’s even more ridiculous to see people wearing them when driving or walking alone.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      Those wearing masks while alone in the car and windows are shut are in my view special cases.

                      We must also agree that for many, common cold will clear after 7 days. As for Covid19, it might just be the last flu you have.

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                    • Ron says:

                      Just like COVID-19, most people never get sick or recover after a week or two. But the CDC reports thousands of flu and pneumonia deaths each year, and the most vulnerable are the very young and the elderly — just like COVID-19.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      Are the flu deaths over the same period as we have had with covid same or there is a vast difference?
                      Here I am not sure we ever have flu deaths or if there are, they could be in the hundreds during the year. The MoH has announced 100+ deaths from covid since March. I am sure compared to other causes of death like Malaria, covid19 may not make a blip on the map

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                    • Ron says:

                      The deaths are reported on a weekly basis over the calendar year. They never end, but they ebb and flow with the seasons — they are higher during the winter, and lower during the summer. You probably experience fewer cases because you live in a much milder climate than those further away from the equator.

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  2. basenjibrian says:

    I imagine Ron living in either a gated subdivision with armed private security or a holler in the hills with a stock of government cheese (why should the n-words get all that sweet, sweet welfare and not a member of the Hearetlandishly Hued Master Race?) In either case, a puff of smoke over the horizon means every city block has been burned down by horrible, horrible minorities and miscreant youths who refuse to submit to legitimate authorit-eh! Like nightsticks up the anus for daring to walk in an AMERICAN neighborhood!!!!

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  3. basenjibrian says:

    I remain one of the skeptics about the “shut everything down and shoot any spreaders daring to move about” calls from some of the more fervid COVIDites. But I would never deny the reality. I just think it is here to stay and we cannot run a society in lockdown mode permanently.

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    • makagutu says:

      I am of the same school. We cannot shut everything down indefinitely. This corona virus is here to stay

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      • basenjibrian says:

        I am shaking my head as I find myself agreeing with some of Ron’s arguments. Not all of them, mind you, but I think he has made some points.

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        • basenjibrian says:

          And as someone who is 57 and somewhat prone to respiratory infections and seasonal asthma, I am more vulnerable than many.

          Note…I am not a jerk. I wear my mask. I am not attending concerts. I am not standing in front of the police station with 75 other un-masked people holding signs saying “We LURVE OUR POLICE, EVEN WHEN THEY BEAT US FOR NO REASON”.

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