Covid-19 Diary : Friday 15 May, 2020


A reader/friend sent me a link to one of the myriad of virus themed websites that have sprung up over the last few months –  It is a nice enough site, albeit without any original content on it, simply a nice presentation of information, otherwise essentially the same as that on dozens of other sites.

Apparently the site was developed by a high schooler.  That’s truly impressive, as was his prescience to develop it way before anyone else was thinking about the virus at all.  What is more impressive though is he claims the site is getting some number of millions of visitors every day, and apparently he has been offered $8 million to sell it.  For most teenage boys, $8 million exceeds their wildest fantasies – or at least, would enable them to indulge in them all.  This high schooler refused to sell.

Amazing.  And, yes, for as little as $7,995,000, I’d agree to sell my site faster than you’d imagine.  Alas, mine doesn’t have millions of visitors a day.

It is encouraging to see at least someone is benefitting from the virus in a positive way.

Current Numbers

Here are the rankings for the eight states of any size with the highest infection rates.  Qatar continued its steady ascendance today, displacing Andorra for the number three position.

  • San Marino/652 cases/the equivalent of 19,221 cases per million people
  • Vatican City/12 cases/14,981 cases per million (unchanged)
  • Qatar/29,425/10,236
  • Andorra/761/9,849 (unchanged)
  • Luxembourg/3,923/6,280
  • Spain/274,367/5,868
  • Iceland/1,802/5,281 (unchanged)
  • Ireland/23,956/4,859

Here are the top six major countries, showing death rates per million of population in the country  :

  • Belgium/8,959 deaths/773 deaths per million
  • Spain/27,459 deaths/587 deaths per million
  • Italy/31,610 deaths/523
  • United Kingdom/33,998/501
  • France/27,529/422
  • Netherlands/5,643/329

To put those numbers into context, the death rates per million in the US/Canada are 268/148.  The world average (not a very reliable number) is 39.6.

For major countries and/or outbreaks, and in general :

Same Day
Last Week
Total Cases4,009,3374,521,9854,621,407
Total Deaths275,986303,052308,155
US Cases/Deaths/Case rate per million1,321,785/78,615
UK Cases/Deaths/Case rate per million211,364/31,241
Canada Cases/Deaths/Case rate per million66,434/4,569
Worst affected major country/case rateSpain/5,563Spain/5,831Spain/5,868
Second worst country affectedIreland/4,565Ireland/4,825Ireland/4,859
Third worstBelgium/4,488Belgium/4,684Belgium/4,717

I Am Not a Doctor, But….

There are two constant refrains I keep coming back to.  The first is that the more we learn about this virus, the less we know.  The second is that everything we do learn is invariably bad news rather than good.  I still eagerly await the headline, somewhere, anywhere, “Scientists announce breakthrough – virus vulnerability discovered, easy cure now available”.

Today’s example of a puzzling bit of bad news is this article about people who have virus symptoms not for days, not even for weeks, but for months.

Another example of how there is so much we still don’t know about the virus is this article.  Which brings me to the third of the comments I seem to regularly make.  It is hard to imagine how this virus could be much worse than it is.

I’ve now referred twice to the concept of mouthwash as a possible virus preventative.  Here’s another article on the topic – it seems the idea is finding support from various sources for various reasons.

In quick summary, the concept is a one minute gargle of 1% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) every evening.  You can buy more concentrated bottles of H2O2 and dilute it down.  Reader Bill helpfully points out that many commonly available mouth washes already have H2O2 at a close-enough strength (typically 1.5%) – Colgate Peroxyl, for example, and various generic products in the larger pharmacy chains.  Just check the ingredients to see if it is included and if so, at what strength.

Timings And Numbers

An example of the chaotic dysfunction that is tying up this country is in this article.  It shows three different sets of data showing virus fatality rates by age.  But, look – each of the three sources uses different breaks for the groupings of age ranges.

Why isn’t there some sort of standardization of this information?  We hope that at least they are capturing raw data, entry by entry, with each data item showing the exact age of the person being reported, allowing for accurate reconciliations; but Murphy’s Law suggests they’re not.

Closings and Openings

Here’s a headline that is supposed to shock and annoy us – “Government Could Enforce Who You’re Allowed to Socialize With Via Tracking App“.

But I say “Bring it on, please”.  I’d much prefer to be selectively, sensibly and safely allowed to socialize with some people in accordance with threat levels and other parameters, than to be generically prohibited from socializing with everyone, as is the case at present.

I’d written earlier in the week about an astonishingly ridiculous concept about to be implemented in the UK – a two week quarantine for everyone arriving in the country, except for people coming from Ireland and France.  I couldn’t comprehend how it would be safe to let people into the UK from two of the other most infected nations in Europe, to say nothing of everyone who could first travel to France, then travel on to Britain from there.

Apparently someone has pointed this out to the UK government, who are now saying that when they said people from France would be exempt – a statement they then confirmed as meaning exactly what it says shortly after first saying so – they didn’t actually mean that at all.  Details here.

There’s plenty of potential to indulge in schadenfreude at present, and I will admit to a tinge of pleasure at seeing the arrogant hubris of Venice now being shoved to one side.

Venice had become the surprising poster child of the “we hate tourists” movement that has been gathering strength all around the world.  It was surprising to see Venice in the vanguard, because it is a city with nothing to support its steadily declining population other than tourism.  If ever there was a destination, anywhere in the world, that was totally built on tourism, it would be Venice (okay, and Orlando too).

Venice has now made an interesting discovery.  They need tourists.  We hope they’ll remember this lesson.

Logic?  What Logic?

We really cringe when we see articles such as this about how small towns are trying to keep visitors away.  The reasons for not wanting visitors are so wrong.  As the article explains, the locals are concerned that the visitors will come down with the virus and overload their very limited facilities.

Maybe that was understandable, two months ago, when there was a lot of unnecessary panic about hospitals being overloaded – something that never happened – but it really has no grounding in reality now.

And, in any event, if one becomes unwell with Covid-19, that is a very different event than if you were to have a heart attack or get involved in a very serious car accident.  In those cases, seconds count, and you desperately need emergency surgery as soon as possible (and you’d not get it in small town healthcare centers anyway, but no-one seems worried about that).  But with a virus infection, you can either drive yourself or be driven, not just a mile or ten to the local healthcare center, but 100 miles or further to whatever larger regional hospital in a bigger city can accept you.

Virus?  What Virus?

Here’s that schadenfreude again – a barber in upstate New York who illegally remained open for some many weeks has now contracted the virus himself.

But to be pleased about the karmic balance being restored overlooks the real reason that hair cutting has been restricted.  Never mind the barber suffering the consequences of his actions – how many of his patrons have been infected as well?

That’s a good question, and the local health authorities are urging patrons to make themselves known and be tested.  But, the thing is, they’re not publishing the name of the barber or his shop…..

And we wonder why it is that NY’s infection rate is the worst in the entire world….


Here’s a detailed and depressing article about why the virus is more impactful on seniors.  Maybe ignorance is bliss?


The Dow ran out of steam today after its spirited dash back upwards yesterday, putting on a gentle 60 additional points (0.25%) to close the day and week at 23,685.  This is 2.7% down on last week’s close of 24,331.

Please stay happy and healthy; all going well, I’ll be back again tomorrow


Please click here for a listing of all our Covid-19 articles.


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