Covid-19 Update: About Being Realistic In A World Of Fear & Hope

Covid-19 Update: About Being Realistic In A World Of Fear & Hope

The following is a short write-up of what has been spoken during a meeting last Friday, 06 November 2020.

As a part of my ongoing community services in Singapore, I have been organizing a monthly meeting of German businessmen that takes place on the first Friday of the month. The ErDoMo (click here).

Covid-19 is a Social Problem In The First Place

Face it, Covid-19 is not a problem for itself. It is a phenomenon that is generated by society, and mainly by the bureaucrats and politicians, backed by a majority of the voters and by those who have a say.

I have explained that mechanism in one of my earlier articles about Covid-19  (click here):

It all started with shocking pictures from Wuhan and Northern Italy in February 2020. Then there were the first “Covid-19 deaths” (whatever that is) in Italy, in March 2020. This was when the politicians started to fear that they get blamed by their voters for not sufficiently controlling the bureaucrats such that they do enough against Covid-19.

And that fell on fertile soil because the bureaucrats have this constant fear that they are made liable. That is the main motive for bureaucrats to make decisions or not. Read chapter II of Ludwig von Mises famous book “Bureaucracy” if you want to know more about bureaucratic management, you can download it for free (click here).

The second motive that drives all bureaucrats is to obtain at least the same budget next year, or – even better – a larger budget than this year.

Now imagine what that means, a bureaucrat being asked to stop his Covid-19 measures. First, he will have to make a decision, and a wrong decision can end his career. And worst, if the new decision implies that his earlier decision was wrong, will that make him liable for the result of the wrong decision? Second, he will have a smaller budget because there will be less to do when stopping his Covid-19 measures. I cannot see that this idea of stopping Covid-19 measures will be flying, at all.

The same applies to a politician. Ongoing polls in Germany and the recent election results in Singapore confirm that there is a majority of voters that support lock-downs and other measures such as compulsory mask wearing. Why would a politician not support the ongoing measures if the voters support them? Not supporting the ongoing measures is equivalent to a political suicide.

The costs for these Covid-19 measures are high but the world`s central banks support these measures by creating large amounts of electronic money, thereby stretching the monetary base. And the parliaments created laws that at least temporarily removed punishment for not declaring bankruptcy in time. And they removed the consequences of declaring bankruptcy, and it was made legal to not pay your invoices in time.

We have here a perfect win-win-win-win-win system for everybody, maybe except for creditors and owners of real estate.

And everybody will refuse to change this system, unless the pains that come with these measures become unbearable.

Once that fact is accepted, namely that the bureaucrats determine when the Covid-19 measures are over, the rest of the subject matter can be easily understood.

It does not matter whether or not the Covid-19 virus is dangerous. It does not matter whether or not the measures against the Covid-19 virus are appropriate and necessary. All that matters is whether or not the bureaucrats would lift their measures.

That means that we will have alternating states of being locked down and being allowed to move freely. We must be prepared to be locked down any time, without a warning. For up to several months. And all that several times per year.

That can delay international journeys and that can cause interruptions of businesses because of locked down premises, just to name two of the potential consequences.

When Covid-19 Is Going To Be Over

There is one single number that bureaucrats use for determining whether Covid-19 is over or not: the globally accumulated number of Covid-19 deaths.

Here is that graph as of today. The following chart is taken from

Please compare that chart with the same chart in my earlier article of July 2020 (click here).

That comparison will show you that nothing has changed since then. We have a linear increase of the accumulated number of Covid-19 deaths. I believe that this graph is accurate. Some countries over-report and some countries under-report. This balances it out. And it does not matter whether these people died because of Covid-19 or (only) with Covid-19.

This is what wrote in my earlier article in July 2020 (click here), and it is still valid today:

In other words, the accumulated number of Covid-19 deaths is since May 2020 linearly (and not exponentially) increasing with a rate of about 140,000 deaths per month.

Please note that this curve will never come back to zero because it is the accumulated number of Covid-19 deaths. It will forever grow, just as the number of heart attack deaths. However, there will be another change of the slope of this curve, as soon as all potential Covid-19 victims have died. The curve will then flatten out.

Not everybody will die from Covid-19. 0.64% is the ratio that most experts agree upon. Not 2% and not 0.1%. About 0.64% of all those people that get infected von Covid-19 will die. Even the leftist New York Times agrees on that figure (click here).

That is also my basis for calculating how much time we have left into the ongoing Covid-19 measures. It took us 6 months to “achieve” 1.2 million Covid-19 deaths. How many months will it take to “achieve” nine (9) million Covid-19 deaths in total, provided that only  20% of the Earth`s population become infected with Covid-19?

Again provided that the current slope of the above curve is kept, at about 140,000 deaths per month, that would take 60 months or 5 years. And that provided that only 20% of the Earth`s population becomes infected with Covid-19. It will certainly take a longer time if a higher percentage of the Earth`s population becomes infected with Covid-19.

Any questions?

Covid-19 will not be over next year or in 2022.

What A True Expert Says

I found this very informative interview with a German virology scientist, Dr. Hendrik Streek, in a German newspaper (click here). Use Google Translate if you cannot read German (click here if you don´t know how that works).

Dr. Streek is not speaking as an expert of global pandemics, but as a scientist that is stuck in his daily work.

This is what Dr. Streek says about the expected duration of Covid-19

I think it possible that by the end of next year we will be at a point that the pandemic is caused by the virus is terminated by itself and not by vaccination.

That may be valid for Germany but this statement contradicts the Big Number picture laid out above. We will only see next year whether this becomes true on a global level. I do not think so.

And this is what Dr. Streek says about vaccines

It may be that we will have a vaccine against corona that does not work well. This was last noticed when two large pharmaceutical companies had to interrupt their vaccine studies because of unexplained illnesses in participants.

You can also see it in the Russian vaccine Sputnik 5, which is simply used without clinical phase 3 . Now a man got infected anyway. Or another example: In 1961 there was a vaccination against RSV, which causes a serious respiratory disease, especially in children. During phase 3, two children died of an excessive immune response to the virus after they became infected. That shows that unfortunately you just can’t predict it. We may have a wonderful vaccine, but it’s just as possible that there is one that doesn’t work well. There is still no vaccine against the biggest infectious killers, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and dengue, although a great deal of research is being carried out into it.

Any questions?

Forget about vaccines.

How To Apply This To What We See

The above explains why there are three types of ways to handle this phenomenon, and only two of them will be ultimately successful.

One way to handle Covid-19 is to let it freely spread, thereby accepting that people will die, and – possibly – to protect those that have the greatest risk of dying. The USA and Sweden have taken that approach. That liberates forces to fight the concurrently ongoing worldwide recession that is now starting to visibly unfold. I can see that this approach is working out.

Another way to fight Covid-19 is to fully lock down the country, installing tight contact tracing measures, and to gradually release the population into liberty. That includes accepting at least inherently that a certain part of the home industry will ultimately vanish. Singapore has taken that way, and we have now – after 6 months – virtually zero (0) new Covid-19 infections. That liberates inwardly directed forces: people focus on those problems that are right under their noses, and the Singapore government supports that approach: we automate and we shift our operations into the cloud such that all work can be done remotely, from a home office. I can see that also this approach is working out.

And then there are those countries that have no clear long term policy, which is the vast majority of countries on this earth. Germany is one of them, and I know it well. And there is Malaysia, a country at the doorstep of Singapore.

Malaysia is in a total lockdown until the end of the year but there seems to be a problem in executing this lockdown. All my friends and acquaintances in Malaysia tell me that this lockdown is not so serious at all. It is more like an extended weekend. And that lockdown will continue for a long time. That is probably why Malaysian vehicle owners pay money for towing their vehicles with a Malaysia license plate from Singapore back to Malaysia, as described in this newspaper article   These vehicle owners would not do that if there is any chance that the border between Singapore and Malaysia would soon open for daily work commuters again. It will not.

Germany was in a full lockdown earlier this year and the German government has even rescued German tourists in a large scale return campaign (click here):

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his staff in the Foreign Office started an unprecedented return campaign for German tourists who were stranded abroad because of the corona pandemic. In a good five weeks, 240,000 people were flown home, 66,000 of them with planes rented from the Foreign Office. The last of these brought 157 Germans back to Germany from Cape Town in South Africa on April 24th. After that it was only about individuals and smaller groups.

The warm summer temperatures reduced the number of positive Covid-19 tests in Germany to almost zero, and Germany was back to normal in June 2020. People even flew back to holiday destinations from where they were earlier rescued, I have examples for that in my immediate environment: stupid as stupid can be.

Consequently, Germany is again in lockdown since 04 November 2020, but this time only in a “partial lockdown”.

The following picture has been taken on 05 November on a German commuter train. You see a crammed space with people who are using leisure face masks, and they have no protection for their eyes, at all:

These people do not comply with what is required to provide safety: they do not put their masks on and off safely, and they do also not comply with the other safety rules for wearing masks. I have laid these rules out in my earlier article here

You do not seriously think that these leisure masks alone would protect them from being infected by the Covid-19 virus, don´t you?

I cannot see that this approach will be working out for Germany.


What That Means For The Local Situation in Germany During the Next Month

It is very obvious that Germany will have a local increase in Covid-19 deaths within a very short period of time. That increase will be visible on the Internet.

First, there are the statistics about positive Covid-19 tests in Germany (click here)

This chart is interactive which means that you can move the cursor over it and it would tell you the corresponding number of positive Covid-19 tests in Germany for that date.

Please note that the above numbers are not comparable over time because the more Covid-19 tests you do in Germany, the more positive Covid-19 tests in Germany will you find. And there were much less Covid-19 tests done in Germany of March 2020 as compared with today.

But we can pair this figure with another figure that is available on the Internet, the statistics that reflect the capacity of Intensive Care Unit beds in Germany, available here

The above chart was taken on 07 November 2020. It shows that currently, an average of 10% of the available intensive care beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients, of which 50% are ventilated.

About one-third of the intensive care beds are still free and available today, i.e. there can even be 2-3 times as many additional Covid-19 emergency patients, and the intensive care system in Germany would still be able to cope with that.

The above chart also shows that the total number of intensive care beds can be increased by 50%, which means that 4-5 times as many additional Covid-19 patients as compared with today can then be admitted.

And here is another assumption made: the above figures of the intensive care unit beds of today correspond to the figures of positive Covid-19 tests of about 3 weeks earlier because this is the time span for a Covid-19 patient getting admitted into an intensive care unit after being tested positive.

And the number of positive Covid-19 tests in Germany of 3 weeks ago (around 15 October 2020) was about 7,000.

Another assumption is made here: any additionally occupied intensive care unit bed will be occupied by a true Covid-19 patient, and not by a patient that would anyway have to be taken up into intensive care, whether or not they are infected with Covid-19. Please note that there are patients that die because of Covid-19 and there are patients that die with Covid-19, that is an important difference!

In other words, if this is the case, the intensive care unit system would reach its boundaries of today if the number of positive Covid-19 tests in Germany would reach (2 to 3) + (4 to 5) = 6 to 8 times 7,000 (the number of positive Covid-19 tests in Germany of 3 weeks ago), which is 42,000 – 56,000 positive Covid-19 tests in Germany per day.

This is when the first triage will start to happen in intensive care units.

And this is when Germany will have to make a decision: to give up the lock-down measures totally, following the Swedish way or the US way, or to do a complete lock-down, following the Singapore way.

That sounds entirely logical to me.

And here is a very rough estimation of how that scenario could look like in the very near future:

I have taken the Google figures about new infections from 17 October to 07 November 2020, and extrapolated them until Christmas 2020.

My two assumptions for this step are that a) the current lockdown measures will stabilize the increase (!) of numbers of new Covid-19 infections, to a rate of about 5,000 additional new cases per week, and b) until 5% of the German population is tested Covid-19 positive. That is a realistic scenario, but maybe on the pessimistic side because it probably underestimates the impact of the ongoing lockdown measures.

If all that is true it means that we will have the first warnings from the German intensive health care system in about 2 – 3 weeks from now, and – consequently – measures to build up additional intensive care unit capacities, and potentially additional lockdown measures – except for school closures.

Here is why.

Covid-19 Lockdowns European Style

This is what European countries have learned during the first lockdowns in early 2020: you cannot close schools, for various reasons.

First, that would force a large part of the workforce to stay at home, namely the moms. That hurts.

Second, it would become obvious that teachers can in most cases be replaced by online learning programs. That goes even deeper because teachers in Europe are no regular employees but government officials. Teachers are therefore bureaucrats by definition. And in many European countries, the profession of a teacher is largely overrepresented in parliaments. Teachers are a strong and powerful social group in Europe that cannot easily be locked down, even if people are dying because the health system reached its limits.

I a comparison of lockdown measures across some European countries (click here) and it shows that universities, schools, kindergartens and creches are in general kept open even during “total” lockdowns: France, England, Germany, Wales, Ireland, and Italy.

So what we can expect for Europe is that most companies will stay open during lockdown, except those that are considered as potential multipliers of Covid-19 because of visitors’ traffic, such as retail shops. The article above says that Wales goes as far as closing down all “non-essential” businesses (while keeping primary schools and childcare centers open).

It goes without saying that the bureaucrats can close any open business premises during lockdown once there are one or more Covid-19 cases found. The same applies in principle to schools but I found an article (click here) that explains that only single students would be quarantined if they are found to be infected:

… the goal is to trace contact chains as precisely as possible in order to have to send as few students as possible into quarantine. With the help of school principals, health authorities research, for example, who was sitting next to whom, where there were contacts in the playground, who is friends with whom and where extracurricular contacts and activities could have led to infections.

That is called pragmatism.


What You Can Do

Not much that you can do.

Essentially, you can do two things.

First, you can protect yourself, by doing regular nose washes. That will keep you physically healthy.

This is the mechanism: the viruses first develop in the nose, then drop from there down into the lungs where they cause bigger damage. My earlier article describes how that works, see here

There is evidence that Covid-19 attacks the nose first, see here

According to the team’s findings, a Covid-19 infection generally begins when the virus enters the body through ACE2 receptors in the nose, (The receptors, which the virus is known to target, are abundant there.)

This means that nose washes are the #1 preventive measure against Covid-19.

And, second, you can train yourself to stay realistic. That will keep you mentally healthy.

Example: a few weeks back there were latrine rumors that Singapore could set up a “green lane” for travelers from Germany, see here

Residents in Singapore and Germany may soon be able to travel between the two countries for essential business and official purposes, after both sides agreed to establish a reciprocal green lane.

This was announced in a joint press statement on Friday (Oct 23) by the foreign affairs ministries of both countries.

I cannot see that happening under the current situation in Germany, and I cannot see that happening soon.


Call To Action

Read the article above and come to terms with Covid-19.

We will have that for a long time.

Once you have swallowed this, re-do your plans for the immediate future.

Follow my blog, I will show you options and alternatives.


Martin “Reality” Schweiger

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