Covid-19 Diary : Thursday 14 May, 2020


I bemoaned, yesterday (and not for the first time) the lack of consensus and lack of clarity about what the future should be.  Here is an article that talks some more about this, with the fundamental point expressed more clearly and succinctly than by me :  At a time of crisis, when nations usually unite in a common purpose, we have become more rather than less divided.

This is not just a sociological phenomenon of no practical interest.  The results of it are stark – continued days with over 20,000 new virus cases (27,246 today) and up to 2,000 daily deaths (1,715 today).  None of this should be hard; all we have to do are the same things that have worked in other countries.

But instead, we ignore other countries’ successes, while treating ourselves to such inanities as shown in articles with ridiculous titles like “difficulty in enforcing mask wearing” – there’s nothing difficult about it at all.  The only difficult part is the authorities getting the will to do so.

Another article talks about a growing “speakeasy” culture in New York of illegal bar/nightclub openings – there’s nothing glamorous about living dangerously and spreading the Covid-19 disease more widely, especially in the area so overly infested with the disease that it should be the shame and embarrassment of the entire nation.

If New York was a nation, it would have the second highest virus infection rate in the world (after the statistical anomaly of the tiny country of San Marino – a tiny enclave in Italy with a population of 34,000 people).  Never mind the case numbers, which are imprecise, though.  Go to the bottom line – the death rate.  New York’s death rate – 1403 per million – is the highest in the entire world.  San Marino comes second (1208), then a huge drop down to Belgium at 768.

Equally outrageous, and not in NY (because our problem is everywhere) is this story of how 3,000 churches in California have decided they know better than public health officials for when they should reopen, and so will defy Gov Newsom’s stay-closed order.  They’ve apparently forgotten that God requires Christians to conform to civil law, and doesn’t promise miraculous immunity to diseases to churchgoers.  And we know that singing hymns, shouting “hallelujah” and other raucous activity is a great way to spread the virus (see item below).

We have met the enemy.  The enemy is us.  The enemy is killing us, in the thousands, every day.  We are passively allowing the enemy to do so.

Current Numbers

Here are the rankings for the eight states of any size with the highest infection rates.  There have been no changes in ranking today.

  • San Marino/648 cases/the equivalent of 19,0098 cases per million people
  • Vatican City/12 cases/14,981 cases per million (unchanged)
  • Andorra/761/9,849
  • Qatar/28,272/9,813
  • Luxembourg/3,915/6,254
  • Spain/272,646/5,831
  • Iceland/1,802/5,281 (unchanged)
  • Ireland/23,827/4,825

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

  • Belgium/8,903 deaths/768 deaths per million
  • Spain/27,321 deaths/584 deaths per million
  • Italy/31,368 deaths/519
  • United Kingdom/33,614/495
  • France/27,425/420
  • Netherlands/5,590/326

To put those numbers into context, the death rates per million in the US/Canada are 263/145.  The world average (not a very reliable number) is 38.9.

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

Same Day
Last Week
Total Cases3,913,7104,425,6574,521,985
Total Deaths270,436298,065303,052
US Cases/Deaths/Case rate per million1,292,623/76,928
UK Cases/Deaths/Case rate per million206,715/30,615
Canada Cases/Deaths/Case rate per million64,922/4,408
Worst affected major country/case rateSpain/5,494Spain/5,798Spain/5,831
Second worst country affectedIreland/4,533Ireland/4,739Ireland/4,825
Third worstBelgium/4,437Belgium/4,658Belgium/4,684

Total worldwide deaths passed through 300,000 today.

In a couple of days, the US will pass through 1.5 million reported cases.  It is astonishing to see the casual seeming way we keep adding to our death count, both in numbers and deaths/million.  Many countries have had fewer deaths per million in total, right from the start of the virus, than we add every day.

Today, the US added another 6 deaths per million.  Compare that to Taiwan – 0.3 deaths per million, in total.  Or Venezuela, 0.4.  Or Hong Kong, 0.5.  Kazakhstan is 2, as is India.  Jamaica, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are 3.  Singapore, New Zealand and Australia are 4.  South Korea is 4 and Japan is 6.

There are many dozens of other countries also scoring very low, but I guessed that maybe the rates in Paraguay and Costa Rica (both 2) or in Gibraltar, Greenland, and Vietnam (all zero) aren’t quite as directly impactful.

But just think about the fact – we’re losing more people per head of population, every day, than many countries have lost, in total, right since the first onset of the virus.

Isn’t it time we start taking this seriously?

I Am Not a Doctor, But….

I mentioned churches defying the stay-closed order in California.  Here’s a study showing how a choir practice in Washington state saw 52 choir members infected as a result, and a more general article explaining that loud speech can leave the virus suspended in the air for 8 – 14 minutes.

Churches are the same as bars in the sense of being among the most dangerous places to re-open.

I mentioned an article a couple of days ago that advocated a one minute gargle with a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution every evening, maybe once or twice during the day as well.  I’d add to that a recommendation to consider a Propolis spray as well (this is the one I use any time I feel a bit anxious about possible exposure).

Here’s another article that approaches the topic from a different angle, but comes to the same conclusion for different reasons.  We were particularly pleased to see that apparently WHO might be disagreeing – that’s about the best stamp of approval possible in our books!

But there’s a limit to the number and types of remedies you should be taking.  Some people mistakenly believe that “if a little is good, then a lot is better”, but that is absolutely not so.  Here’s an article that talks about the dangers of taking too many vitamins and mineral supplements.  My strategy is to take the maximum RDA but not to exceed it unless it is an “emergency”.

The airlines have told us a lot of medically dubious things about how safe it is to fly.  One statement is there has never been a proven infection on a plane – something dozens of now infected flight attendants would disagree with.  They also tell us there’s never been a proven case of someone catching the disease by touching an infected surface and transferring the virus to themselves.

As I’ve said before, it is very hard to prove a negative, but here’s an interesting article that certainly shows how readily possible it could be to transfer the virus from our hands to a surface and from there to someone else’s hands.

Timings And Numbers

A week ago Amazon was boasting on how it was going to be spending all its profit on virus-related measures, and mentioned extra pay to at-risk workers as one of its newly adopted costs.  Today, Amazon says it is dropping the $2/hour “danger money’ it had been paying to its warehouse staff.

Meanwhile, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is being talked up as about to become the world’s first ever trillionaire.  (Interestingly, spell checker tells me there is no such word.)

I wonder what the warehouse workers think of the discrepancy between their earnings and Jeff’s?

Closings and Openings

In Washington state, for a restaurant to be allowed to re-open, it has to ensure there is always at least six feet of separation between staff and diners, at all times.

We wonder how that will work for serving food and clearing dishes?


Wholesale ground-beef prices this week topped $6.21 a pound, according to the USDA, more than triple their cost at the beginning of March.  Some steak prices have doubled over the past two months – that’s what this article tells us.  It has become so extreme that Tyson are now starting to back off some of their price increases, for fear of turning people of beef permanently.

I’m noticing increasingly empty meat cases in the local supermarkets, but ground beef prices, while higher, haven’t tripled.  I guess the supermarkets are absorbing a lot of this cost themselves.

Logic?  What Logic?

I mentioned yesterday that the most obvious and essential action successful countries have taken, to reduce virus levels down to almost zero, is contact tracing – finding out who might be infected and getting to them before they can pass the virus on to others.  We have yet to do the same.

A new survey finds most Americans would refuse to use such a system.  Apparently they’d prefer economic ruin, unemployment, and possibly death rather than contact tracing, even though we are all being traced through our phones, all the time, by multiple different agencies and private companies, at present.

Is that really sensible?  Put me down for contact tracing, please.  I vote for life, a job, and as little economic devastation as possible, and if allowing one more entity to access my phone location data – in addition to all the ones doing so at present – will buy me that, it is the deal of the century.

But it will only work if most other people also agree to participate.

There comes a point when our leaders have to lead, and assertively tell us what we must do.  We’re already way past that point.


The Dow revised its three declining days earlier this week, and clawed back 377 of the points it gave away yesterday, rising 1.6% to close at 23,625.

Musical Interlude

As you might have already seen, I now have a set of classical music for the coronavirus pages live on the site.  I hope you’ll find them helpful, and I hope you’ll enjoy the music selections I’ve made so far, and which I’ll continue to grow into the future.  If you have any special popular favorites of your own that you think should be featured, please let me know.


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.


2 thoughts on “Covid-19 Diary : Thursday 14 May, 2020”

  1. Hi David. Thanks so much for your always interesting and informative newsletter. Be safe and well. Hugh and Rosemary

    1. The same to both of you, too. Let’s hope we can get this horrible thing behind us and can start to think of traveling somewhere together again, one of these days. :)

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top

Free Weekly Emailed Newsletter

Usually weekly, since 2001, we publish a roundup of travel and travel related technology developments, and often a feature article too.

You’ll stay up to date with the latest and greatest (and cautioned about the worst) developments.  You’ll get information to help you choose and become a better informed traveler and consumer, how to best use new technologies, and at times, will learn of things that might entertain, amuse, annoy or even outrage you.

We’re very politically incorrect and love to point out the unrebutted hypocrisies and unfairnesses out there.

This is all entirely free (but you’re welcome to voluntarily contribute!), and should you wish to, easy to cancel.

We’re not about to spam you any which way and as you can see, we don’t ask for any information except your email address and how often you want to receive our newsletters.

Newsletter Signup - Welcome!

Thanks for choosing to receive our newsletters.  We hope you’ll enjoy them and become a long-term reader, and maybe on occasion, add comments and thoughts of your own to the newsletters and articles we publish.

We’ll send you a confirmation email some time in the next few days to confirm your email address, and when you reply to that, you’ll then be on the list.

All the very best for now, and welcome to the growing “Travel Insider family”.