Covid-19 Diary : Monday 1 June, 2020


Yesterday I asked what type of daily statistics you’d like me to provide.  There were actually two questions I was seeking answers on – the obvious one, and a second point, too.  I was curious as to how many people actually read my daily diary entries and care sufficiently to reply at all.

I do have a few very engaged readers; and I’ve enjoyed sharing ideas and learning from them, and have appreciated the links to articles they’ve passed on.  It is nice to know there are other people out there, also trying their best to make sense of all of this, and finding it as difficult as I am.

But I’ve sensed that I’ve not succeeded in creating something of universal or even, alas, widespread interest; indeed, I’ve had people unsubscribe from the newsletter because they have been receiving “too many updates”.

The outcome was 32 people replied.  That’s somewhat fewer than I’d have hoped for, and I find myself unable to avoid realizing that, after giving this a good try for several months, I’ve not succeeded in finding a valuable new service for Travel Insiders.

You can see the results here :

So the most popular request is for a chart or charts showing the change in numbers over time (11 responses), closely matched by the same format as at present, but comparing a week ago rather than today (10 responses).  The third most popular response was “the data is not really of interest”, and I do appreciate the five people who took the time to tell me that and encouraging me to feel freed from this daily burden.

I’ve decided to accept the advice, not just of the five people who aren’t seeking statistics, but the many hundreds of other readers who might perhaps feel the same way.  I’m doing this in large part because I had an epiphany – these days there are a ton of other websites all showing a huge amount of data about every aspect of the virus.  There’s little point in simply restating the data that is already on these other websites.

Here are the websites I visit the most : :  This is my primary haunt and source for all the numbers I’ve been quoting in the statistics table.  The site evolves occasionally, adding more data each time, and has an enormous wealth of excellent information.  The people wanting charts showing changes in numbers, and the people wanting to compare today with a week ago (both sensible things to want to see) will be delighted with the information on each country page.  It updates multiple times every day, and I’m often to be found hitting the refresh button. :  This is updated once a day, and I find it gives an excellent quick overview for the state of the US and the individual states.  Are things getting better or worse?  While the data on this site sometimes changes completely, it is still a great hint as to what the future is promising. :  My major interest on this site, these days, is seeing how they change their future projected estimate for total deaths.  This site has also become more and more sophisticated with increasing amounts of information, and covering more and more countries.  It is another site I look at once a day. :  This is an enormous repository of data, and in some ways more detailed than the Worldometers site, but perhaps not quite as up-to-the-minute uptodate, and not always presenting the information as easily as Worldometers.  I tend to use it for “drilling down” all the way to county level for data in the US. :  I’ve various other sources of data listed here.

My intention, for the future, is now to shift from a Daily Diary to an Occasional Diary.  Today is actually as logical a point for that as any, it being the 10th anniversary of the start of these diary entries back on Monday 16 March, and the start of a new month, too.  So far, I’ve written 91 different Covid-19 themed articles and diary entries, and I’ll guess in total, they come to almost 250,000 words of information.

Amazingly though, while it might seem that anything and everything one could possibly say about the virus has now been well said, I fear my new resolve to reduce the flood of information to a more selective trickle may be difficult.  There is still a flood of virus related news, all the time, and some of it still seems important.  I’m not sure how I will strike a better balance.

I Am Not a Doctor, But….

Here’s an excellent article that I suggest you should save to a PDF, or print out.  It is from the NY Times, and they tend to firewall their pages, restricting them to paying subscribers only, at some point after their first release.

I had overlooked their suggestions about having a supply of cough mixture and an anti-nausea drug.  That might be very helpful.

Timings And Numbers

This article has a great chart showing the trajectories of many different countries (hover your cursor over any of the lines to highlight it and display data).

Closings and Openings

It is very hard to know what the situation will be, either later this month, or July/Aug/Sept and so on into the future, but Canada seems to believe that whatever the future may be, it will not be appropriate for cruise ships to resume operation, particularly for Alaskan cruises, and so has extended its ban on cruising through the end of October for cruises on ships with more than 100 passengers.

That’s a bit too authoritarian (and gloomy) for me.  It would be fairer to extend the ban a month or two at a time, while hinting to the cruise lines that the chances of allowing cruises to restart is low.

Logic?  What Logic?

A phrase that always makes my heart sink – “a UN agency”.  So many are flawed, over and above WHO.  Those that aren’t in thrall to China are slaves to the developing world, and those that are neither are often beholden to either pressure groups or commercial interests, leaving the ones not yet considered being generally reduced to such dysfunctional compromise as to make them unable to lead on any important issues at all.

You can decide which category to place the International Civil Aviation Organisation.  Today they issued a series of health guidelines for how to best minimize virus risks on flights.  You know the guidelines aren’t likely to be very good when you learn that the ICAO relied heavily on WHO and IATA – the international airline lobbying group.

The guidelines require passengers to have a health certificate to show upon arriving at an airport.  One could stop at that point, because already the guidelines have shown themselves to be fundamentally and totally flawed.  Where and what is this health certificate, and how does one get one?  How recent must it be?  On what basis is the certificate to adjudge you “safe” to travel?  We hope it isn’t just the laughable “self certification” form that some countries have been requiring – you simply write your name at the top of a form, check off a series of boxes that say “I am not sick” in several different ways, sign and date it at the bottom, and – voila – instant self-certificate.

While you can probably imagine a process to get a health certificate at home, how would one do that in another city or another country?  What is the cost likely to be?  You know, for sure, that visitors the the US would probably have to pay $100-500 or more to go to a clinic and, with no insurance, be checked out, tested for Covid-19, and issued a certificate.  There’s also a time cost associated with getting one – figure on at least half a day to go to wherever such certificates can be secured, wait for an appointment, and so on.  If you’re being tested for Covid-19, it might take a day or a week to get test results back (making the certificate too dated to be of any relevance or value at all).

All of this might be acceptable if you ended up with a meaningful certificate of lasting value.  But as soon as you touch the door handle on your way out of the clinic, your new risk of a new infection starts to climb up, and by the time you present it at the airport, after who knows how many high-density experiences between being tested for a certificate and airport arrival, the value of the certificate is very low.

And that is just the start of the nonsense.  You’ll then have to have your temperature checked at the airport, and as I’ve often explained, that will miss probably 95% of people who have the virus and are infectious, while creating “false positive” readings for at least that many more people who don’t have the virus.

The best is yet to come.  ICAO is recommending that passengers now be limited to one small piece of hand luggage, and that newspapers and magazines be banned from planes (what about books, one wonders).

Yes, you’ll wear a mask on the plane, and you – and up to 80 or so other fellow passengers – will be assigned to a specific toilet.  That is ridiculous queueing theory – your toilet might be busy, and the two next to them might be free, but you’ll have to cross your legs and wait for your toilet rather than use a free one.

But, guess what?  You’ll be unsurprised to learn that even though you have to keep at least three feet away from fellow passengers in the terminal and airplane aisles, that requirement magically vanishes when you sit down.  ICAO sees nothing wrong with filling planes up 100% full.

As I said, a phrase to surely strike fear into the heart of any sensible person – “a UN agency”.


Here’s some great news if true, but to say “the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy” isn’t matched by the numbers.  Italy reported 200 new virus infections yesterday (and 60 deaths).  The specific great news if true though is a claim that the coronavirus is losing potency in Italy – possibly a new mutation.

But, WHO disagrees with the suggestion the virus may be weakening.

The massively over-hyped remdesivir drug is again being confronted with disappointing reality, as another study shows only a “small benefit” in a large trial, and the benefit applies to patients who were not really very unwell to start with.

Shouldn’t our prioritized focus be on helping patients who are seriously unwell and might die, not on patients who are almost certainly going to survive anyway?


I’m probably closing this topic for good.  Keen watchers of the markets already know what the Dow is doing, and those who don’t watch the markets likely don’t care.

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


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

3 thoughts on “Covid-19 Diary : Monday 1 June, 2020”

  1. Did not have time to respond yesterday but have read every day and will miss having your contact daily. Can understand your decision to reduce frequency of emails though.

  2. I’m sorry I didn’t pick up on the fact that you were looking for input from readers. I am new to your daily journal, although I have been on your weekly list for years now.

    I signed up for the daily in hopes that you would give a leading indicator of opening countries and dates for those of us who must do international travel for our organizations. That would involve (for me) knowing when Embassies and consulates are open and granting visas, and when airlines once again have viable flights operating between what countries. In my specific case, I had a trip scheduled from the southern US to a large city in Russia at the end of June. That had to be postponed yesterday, as I learned (after waiting two hours for a return call from Delta) that they don’t even have their schedule showing the needed flights until 29 June. Now the trip has been pushed to early July, but in the meanwhile I will need to be somehow finding out if and when the Russians will be issuing visas here in the US. IF you could give information from a traveler’s perspective on these effects of COVID-19, that would be most appreciated.

    Thanks very much for what you are doing. I enjoy your articles, and your no-nonsense reporting.

  3. This would be very helpful information for many of us. Keeping track of every country/airline is starting to weigh me down too. How and when do I get to travel to Uzbekistan to visit a client? It’s closed but may reopen soon, but what about the usual transit countries to get there (from W. Europe), Russia or Turkey? And what about Romania, Albania, and others? And what are the post-C-19 protocols on the usual airlines (ie, middle seat filled or not)? Oh, and if any of the transit countries have post-arrival quarantines in effect (as the UK plans), that would help too.

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