A Journal of the Plague Year (59)



May 16, 2020
When the coronavirus struck in the winter, it really did look like a major plague could have consumed the world. It is; but this we now know is not the Black Death, or yellow fever, or cholera, or smallpox or any of the truly nasty ones.

The lockdown approach, given what was known at the time, was probably the best approach, although there is considerable disagreement about that, notwithstanding the endless hysteria and misinformation from the media.

The rationale behind the lockdown was to “flatten the curve”; not let the health services be overwhelmed. Fair enough. But they haven’t been and are unlikely to be given any reasonable scenario now. But notice how the goalposts are being moved by the panic industry; now it’s “..it has to be ‘safe’ to open up the economy”, whatever that means.

Of course, trying to explain anything scientific to a journalist is an almost hopeless task. Nothing is ever ‘safe.’ There are no guarantees. Of course more people will die—but how many? You can say with almost a certainty that tens of thousands will die of influenza next year, and the year after that… Does that mean we bankrupt the economy and throw tens of millions into penury again? Not unless you are an idiot.

Getting our countries back to work and functioning again is essential for all our nation’s health. And soon. Not doing so will cause an even greater amount of suffering. This is something that journalists with the cushy jobs and utter lack of responsibility can afford to forget about. All they have to do is insult political leaders and ask stupid questions.

An interesting article from the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH)  highlights some uncomfortable facts…

Politicians would have us believe that it is an unprecedented, unanticipated, unpredictable bolt from the blue. Not true. The warning signs were ignored, and we were ill-prepared.
A review article in the American Society for Microbiology’s publication, Clinical Microbiology Reviews, entitled, “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus as an Agent of Emerging and Reemerging Infection,” concluded:
• Coronaviruses are well known to undergo genetic recombination, which may lead to new genotypes and outbreaks. The presence of a large reservoir of SARS-CoV-like viruses in horseshoe bats, together with the culture of eating exotic mammals in southern China, is a time bomb. The possibility of the reemergence of SARS and other novel viruses from animals or laboratories and therefore the need for preparedness should not be ignored.
That review was published in 2007. (Yes – 13 years ago.)


The National Science Foundation in the US is the prime funder of non-military scientific research—or should be. Too much money is wasted on non-scientific sociology and alternative medicine nonsense. One has to wonder why the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (one of the alternative to medicine outfits) was awarded $152 million of taxpayers money in 2018? As Dr Miller says, this was…

the most ever,… an affront to the NIH-funded researchers who are at the cutting edge of their disciplines and face increasing difficulty getting federal funding for studies that rank high on scientific merit.
The primary culprit is the NSF’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. Underlying its ability to dispense grants is the wrongheaded notion that social-science projects such as a study of animal depictions in National Geographic and a climate change musical are as important as research to identify early markers for Alzheimer’s disease or pancreatic cancer – or the biology and epidemiology of coronaviruses. This is what happens when, as a former senior NSF official put it, “the inmates run the asylum.”

This is why so many bureaucratic organizations in the US, UK and Canada need massive overhauls and rigorous culling of this nonsensical waste of money and time in the scientific world.

Rebel Yell

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