What left Covid-19 in the shade. Epidemiology and nonsense of the coronavirus emergency

Posted on Wu Ming

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[Science and epistemology are certainly not the first topics that come to mind when talking about our novels and our work. Yet there is a very evident red thread that runs through our narrative works and that concerns precisely those themes. From the mesmerism of the Sleepwalker Army , to the theoretical physics of The Wind Machine, passing through the scientist Aleksandr Bogdanov, protagonist of Proletkult .
Here on Giap an article from five years ago,written by Mariano Tomatis, with the subtitle “Science, fetishism of the facts and removal of the conflict”, he collected in a short time more than three hundred comments, triggering chain reactions and long discussions also in other places on the Net. Tomatis himself, together with the mathematician Martino Prizzi, was the co-author of an article in which a certain use of mathematics and statistics was dismantled to deny femicide.
All this to say that we are very happy to publish the following article, written by an epidemiologist and a mathematician, a few days after that of Roberto Salernoon the communication failure of scientists and experts in the days of Covid-19. To reiterate that our criticisms are not addressed to “Science” as such, but to certain of its premises considered indispensable, to a very precise “scientific discourse”, and above all to the idea that scientists are somehow extraneous to battles and to the interests that shape human society. WM ]

by Sara Gandini * and Marco Mamone Capria **

There are many absurd episodes, bordering on the surreal, that occurred during this lockdown period, episodes in which all the limits of reasoning that contrast the right to health with the right to work, as if the two could be separated.
If you don’t have a job, if you don’t have what to buy, how can you stay healthy?
If you don’t have a home, or rather a decent home, where and how can you quarantine?
The economic crisis that awaits us will be very heavy: how will we pay for public health?
And above all, how will those who will be most weakened by this crisis pay their own healthcare costs, when it is well known that millions of Italians already renounced treatments that they could not afford before?

The media bombardment has not only anguished the population, but intimidated the national scientific community, discouraging them to question the rational basis of the lockdown , and making them feel as dangerous even the need to study the characteristics of the disease, to make comparisons with other countries and with other diseases, to understand its nature and how to deal with it.

A useful comparison is for example that between the mortality of these months and that of 2015. In Italy in the first eight months of 2015 there were 45,000 more deaths than the previous year (Istat data). The increase in deaths could be due in large part to flu-like syndromes (ILI, Influenza Like Ilnesses ), of which Covid-19 is only the most recent example. In that year, in many Italian municipalities there were more deaths than there were this year, and in a large part of Lombardy there was a similar number , except for the areas of Brescia, Bergamo and Lodi, where instead the 2020 line stands out, due to serious errors in managing the first outbreaks.All comparative graphs can be generated and downloaded from the Istat website .

Comparison between the deaths of the period January-April 2015 and those of January-April 2020 in the municipalities of Milan, Varese, Pavia and Bergamo. Click to enlarge.

Even then and then in the following years , several articles denounced that intensive care in Lombardy was collapsing due to the flu.

“Milan, collapsing intensive care for flu.” Corriere della Sera, 10 January 2018.

It should also be noted that air pollution , especially in the geographical area most affected by Covid-19, represents a cause and cause of death that is difficult to overestimate, considering that in 2016 there were 14,600 deaths from nitrogen dioxide in Italy (NO2), 3000 for ozone (O3) and 58.600 for fine particulate matter PM2.5.

Even on these figures – which certainly do not represent a health emergency lower than Covid-19 and which brought our country before the European Court of Justice – the media have generally kept silent, and there has not been any broad political debate around them .

Precisely thanks to these comparisons, it is clear that the reason for the current crisis is to be found not so much in the unpredictability of the virus, as in irresponsible choices of those who governed us and deemed it appropriate – in accordance with budgetary constraints that were instead to be reprocessed in the headquarters. European without waiting for Covid-19 – divesting in public health, despite complaints from doctors and epidemiologists.

It is appropriate to underline another fact, ignored by the main media: in 2016 there were 49,301 deaths from hospital infections in Italy , and in our country 30% of sepsis deaths occur in the 28 EU countries. It is clear that the contamination of hospital wards has contributed to the crisis of health facilities that too many would like to attribute exclusively to Covid-19.

Explicit this allows to understand which are the right strategies to implement. For example, it allows us to study alternatives such as Germany and Sweden, which have not had to close everything. The comparison with Germany teaches us the importance of investing in general practitioners, in territorial medical assistance and in general in healthcare, which has undergone very heavy cuts for us.

In 2019, the GIMBE observatory reported that in the last 10 years there have been cuts and financings of the National Health Service equal to 37 billion. Already in 2014 several complaints showed that the constitutional right to health of Italian citizens was subordinated to the needs of public finance, which through cuts of tens of billions of euros put the National Health System in serious crisis. Istat has also recalled in these days the cuts to health care, underlining that since 2009 in this sector there has been a progressive reduction of permanent workers, in parallel with the aging of staff and the increase in the use of flexible work.

Unfortunately, in times when the population is terrified, certainties are needed, and critical reasoning frightens. A surprise, however, is the willingness of scientists to inspire dramatic choices of government on the basis of arguments and mathematical models are not subject to the scrutiny of the scientific community .

The authority of science only works if the conclusions obtained from a study can be freely questioned. The scientific method is based on the formulation of hypotheses that must be able to be confirmed or refuted by data analysis. All researchers should make their theses explicit from the outset and show whether the data support or deny them, clarifying the methods and sources used to analyze them.

The thesis supported by the majority is that the problem has been underestimated, that the cause of the increase in deaths in some municipalities in Lombardy is due to this underestimation of the problem and that if we had made a complete lockdown, with draconian measures immediately, this would not have happened. But this should be demonstrated, and the task will not be easy.

It is undeniable that tragedies have occurred in some municipalities in Lombardy and in some RSA. But one of the main reasons for these tragedies was to have concentrated the whole emergency in hospitals and RSA, also favoring a parallel epidemic of diagnostic errors , instead of focusing on territorial health for early treatment. Having dealt with a public health problem with a language and a war mentality, and with a “civil protection” management, did the rest.

Some of the measures taken by the government and the calls for precaution – such as the recommendation to all elderly people or people with one or more chronic conditions to avoid leaving their homes unless in case of strict necessity – were reasonable. The same WHO guidelines suggest isolating as many people as possible who have come into contact with the virus and quarantining their closest contacts. But nothing else. The scientific evidence on the effectiveness of further measures to control the spread of the virus, starting with the prescription of masks for the whole population, is in fact very weak .

Mike Ryan

WHO Emergency Program Head Mike Ryan recently said that in their view, “Sweden has put in place very strong public health measures. What they have done differently is that they have based themselves on a relationship of trust with citizenship ». In Italy, however, it was thought that there was a need for authoritarian measures to make citizens safe, generally viewed as irresponsible, and concealing the fact that in reality the tragedies that occurred are all borne by those who administer health.

It should be borne in mind that the predictions about the health catastrophe that the late closure of the North would have caused to the South have not come true, and this fact would deserve careful reflection. Some epidemiologists who study the seasonal influences and coronaviruses of the past claim that when we “reopen” the virus will return, and in a year’s time the differences between countries that have applied a more or less rigid lockdown will be due more to the demographic and social structure of the population than to the measures taken. Even John Ioannidis , professor of epidemiology at the University of Stanford, said for some time that mortality Covid-19 seems to be very overrated . A study estimated between 25 and 43 thousand deaths attributable to similar influences in each flu season between 2013 and 2017, numbers not so dissimilar from those of Covid-19.

Incidence of flu-like syndromes (ILI) from 2004-2005 to 2016-2017. The graph shows the typical seasonal appearance.

In 2017, between March 1 and April 30, there were 27,083 deaths with at least one respiratory disease in Italy. In the same period, in 2020, deaths with Covid-19 detected by the surveillance system amounted to 27,938. It is also interesting to note that in the UK the death rates of the four non-Covid-19 cases in March are all below the average of the previous five years, and similar complaints have also been made in Italy . The hypothesis is that even deaths that would have occurred in any case, for other predominant causes, are labeled as deaths by Covid-19.

This is also serious because the fear of Covid-19 has meant that the number of emergency room accesses for ischemias and heart attacks has dropped significantly, with an increase in deaths from cardiac arrest not only in Italy but also abroad . During the lockdown to cope with the emergency, several treatments for other pathologies were postponed, even when it came to pathologies with a very high mortality , such as oncological ones. Also in the future, the diagnostic and treatment activity, which already involves long waiting lists, will have delays in the treatment of pathologies which, dealt with promptly, could be better treated.

The predictive models that try to demonstrate the effectiveness of the complete lockdown are necessarily contradictory , having to simplify and model extremely complex realities.

Neither Covid-19 nor restrictive measures on people-to-person contacts have altered the frequency of flu-like cases. With the only exception of a postponement of the “peak”, the 2020 curve is similar to that of previous years. Graph taken from the article «Coronavirus, disinformation and democracy» by Marco Mamone Capria.

At least the sources of variability and the hypotheses from which we should start should be clarified, but the same models of Imperial College , which greatly influenced the choices of many countries and were then widely reviewed by the authors themselves , had not been examined by the review independent of any scientific journal. Ditto for the reports of the Conte government’s technical-scientific committee. This is serious, because all analyzes have limits and interpretations are never univocal. The data are always discussed by the individual researcher starting from their own skills, and each analysis depends on the urgencies of the author of the research: what he decides to put at the center, what he wants to demonstrate.

The scientific community has a proper duty to help understand if the analyzes have been conducted correctly, if the data have been interpreted consistently, if the limits have been highlighted, and if more can be added. In the scientific field, the opinion of the individual expert counts for very little. What matters is the work of the scientific community as a whole, which however must be left free to confront without censorship and self-censorship.

The thesis of the report of the Technical-scientific Committee on which the Dpcm of April 26 is based is that it is necessary to slow down the reopening because otherwise the consequences on the health system would be terrible. In addition to calculations of doubtful value, as evidenced by unrealistic forecasts , and the failure to consider the geographical and ecological profile of the epidemic – which in itself diminishes the value of recommendations based only on the mathematical model used – it should be noted that it was not held account of the well-being of the community as a whole, the all-round effects of the lockdown were not includedon the present and the future. Because if the country enters a recession we will not have the resources to pay the national health system and make the necessary investments for scientific research not governed by private interests, which we have a great need for a wide range of health problems, which certainly do not reduce to contagious diseases.

Lockdown companions without if and without but

Some leftist intellectuals write that it was not out of passive obedience to an imposed order that the Italians accepted the lockdown without problems , and that the only way in which we could take care of the other at this time was precisely the ‘isolation. It would seem a sensible reasoning, if it were not that a large part of the population is outside the narrative framework.

To allow us to stay at home, someone must provide us with all the objects and services that make us feel comfortable, from masks, to tests, to health care…. to the food brought by the riders. To allow us wealthy people not to take risks, we condemn a large part of the population to unemployment and poverty. A nation is precipitated into an economic crisis comparable to that of 1929, and one dares to call all this “solidarity”. It is the intellectual short circuit of a self-styled left who in effect adopts an individualistic posture disguised as a concern for public health and forgets all those who have not lost or lost a job and a home.

Naomi Klein

Already in 2007, in its Shock economy. The rise of disaster capitalism , Naomi Klein warned that emergencies such as those of pandemics create the ideal conditions for carrying out political programs which in different circumstances would face stiff opposition. The so-called “capitalism of disasters” was born thanks to speculations about catastrophes and wars both economically and politically. As Klein reiterated recently :

“In times of crisis, people tend to focus on the daily emergency of surviving the crisis, whatever that may be, and tend to place excessive trust in the group in power.”

The message that passes is that for the good of all it is necessary to reduce freedoms, including that of opposing government choices, in the name of a mythical national unity, just when the emergency deepens the inequalities. By giving up the space to practice the conflict, in a few days we could all find ourselves working from Monday to Sunday, from 7 in the morning to one in the morning … of course only so that the state can defend our health.

The goal of the lockdown had to be to take time to make the virus spread slowly, to strengthen the intensive care units and at the same time make them less necessary also thanks to personalized diagnoses, to provide a number of personal protective equipment ( dpi) to all those who needed it, give doctors time to experiment with therapies and understand how to improve the prognosis, as well as educate society to new more responsible behaviors. The objective was not and could not have been to reach “0 infections”. We do not live on a remote island, the borders of nations are porous, we live in a globalized world … But with the media terrorism staged it is not easy to put order in fears.

In the starting phase it is necessary to learn to live with the virus, or rather with the flu-like viruses as a whole, and to think about protecting people at risk also because before a year, at least, there will not be a vaccine to be proposed – with all the appropriate caution and respect for individual choices – to those most at risk. As it is also noted in the document published on Jacobin Italy entitled Primum vivere, non survive , we know who are the people who have the greatest chance of developing serious forms of disease:

“All people at risk (first of all men aged 65 and over and under 65 but with concomitant pathologies) must receive explanations and indications, mainly from their general practitioners, on the risks they run but it must be clear that protecting it means locking up, staying at home is a possibility that – if chosen freely – must be supported with home services. »

In the meantime – and it can be a much longer period than some media suggest – it is clear that, always maintaining protection for the most fragile subjects, we must make sure that as many people as possible acquire the antibodies. The virus must spread in order for more people to develop immunity, and it is possible to cure the infection even with the plasma of healed patients  (obviously maintaining the necessary precautions and protecting people at risk).

SARS Coronavirus, Luke Jerram’s blown glass work from the «Glass Microbiology» series.

The more it spreads, the less we will be afraid, but what has been done to deal with the next spread of the virus or the next pandemics? What measures have been put in place to give citizens the confidence to face the future with confidence? Instead of creating ghost hospitals that have never been used, wouldn’t it be better to increase the permanent hiring of doctors, nurses and health personnel so that you can have that capillary prevention and assistance on the territory you have been talking about for some time? Ambiguity on how to manage health plans between the state and regions should also be resolved. But at the moment the measures are only in an emergency rather than long-term perspective.

For schools, too, one cannot think, for example, that the solution is to leave the children at home in turns to take lessons from home. Firstly because not everyone has the space at home or the necessary technological tools, secondly because someone must be at home to assist children and not everyone can afford babysitting , finally because those who do telework – today they call it smart working – should be able to work and not having to follow children … and of course those who, as usual, most of all would pay for these choices are women.

However, decisions should be made by looking at scientific evidence, and a systematic review of the literature published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health shows that the scientific evidence supporting the total closure of schools to combat Covid-19 is very weak and the data influenza outbreaks suggest that school closings could have relatively small effects on a virus with the high transmissibility attributed to Cov-2.

It is therefore time for those who govern us to take responsibility for this emergency and not to let the responsibilities and consequences of the errors made fall again on the citizens. Treatment shouldn’t be worse than harm. In order not to find ourselves unprepared for the next inevitable epidemic diseases, and at the same time to take into account all pathologies, even those that are not communicable but linked to lifestyles and pollution, it is necessary to invest in scientific research, prevention and balanced health and medical information that does not cultivate false certainties.

Sara Gandini , epidemiologist / biostatistician at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan. contract professor of medical statistics at the State University of Milan.

** Marco Mamone Capria , mathematician and epistemologist at the University of Perugia, coordinates the Science and Democracy project and collaborates with Il Giornale dei Biologi , the official organ of the National Order of Biologists.

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82 comments on “ What left Covid-19 in the shadows. Epidemiology and senselessness of the coronavirus emergency “

  1. girolamo05/13/2020 at 12:47 pmJust one note on the final part about schools. Given that I fully agree that distance learning is not teaching, least of all its partial use (some in class, others at home); school is an integrated system, in which there are not only students … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  2. Mars 900005/13/2020 at 1:49 pmI really hope that the weather will be gentlemanly and that the obvious criminal responsibilities (not just political ones) will come to light. And, in my own small way (but I also think of many readers of this blog) I hope I will never have to relive an experience of such intellectual solitude as in March and April, … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  3. freeJA05/13/2020 at 2:35 pmThanks for the detailed work. Marco Mamone Capria’s attachment, in the form of FAQ, is truly remarkable. Without adding trite and withdrawn considerations, it makes me feel cynical, thinking that yes, we deserve the politicians we elect, but that the choice, which has fallen into the current political system, is very poor. I remain, at the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • plumb05/13/2020 at 4:53 pmIn addition to thanking you for this article and the previous one by Robydoc, which I liked a lot (hitting the target of communication) I wanted to briefly congratulate freeJA: if there is nothing more to lose, it is always worth getting all the satisfaction that you can get away with. Having said that, I just wanted to highlight … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  4. Marcello0705/13/2020 at 2:47 pmAn article that provides many ideas of extreme interest. One concerns the data on deaths from hospital infections; I ask myself: is it possible that the high turnout in hospitals has indirectly increased this figure which is already high in itself? This question drags another, as far as I am concerned: who has been hospitalized … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Marco Mamone Capria05/13/2020 at 6:19 pmAbout the ILI chart: anyone who observes it without parties taken in understands that the effect of the lockdown (I mean the national one, not the containment of verified outbreaks, much less the special protection of people in critical structures such as RSA, which instead has been adequate) has been at most … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • frapavia05/13/2020 at 10:08 pmI have a question that I would like to submit to the entire blog, which I consider one of the few places where thought can express itself without limitations whatsoever: Cui Prodest? the lockdown for whom? I would have nothing more to add, if not in front of the graphics of the post, the senselessness of the procedures and regulations of the phase … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  5. ErricoMalatesta05/13/2020 at 3:43 pm“An individualistic posture disguised as a concern for public health.” I underline this sentence. It is the most ignoble thing of all this for me. This short circuit for which those who do not agree to be uncritically closed in homes are irresponsible, insolidarious, individualistic … in spite of everything. Being apostrophe by … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  6. masaccio05/13/2020 at 4:17 pmSorry, comrades, I have read everything you have published on the subject, sometimes sharing, sometimes not, but in any case always considering yours a useful contribution to the debate. But this piece, among the many right things he says, in particular on health, makes openings that in my opinion are really dangerous to the narration … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming05/13/2020 at 4:58 pmOne of the things we have most insisted on in these two and a half months, practically writing ad nauseam, is that the need to “stay at home” – read: at home from work, that is to close places where people were not working safely -, a collective need that was being expressed … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • masaccio05/13/2020 at 5:21 pmI know that in the contributions of these months you have certainly not crushed Confindustria, which is why I pointed out the inconsistency between this piece and your positions. It does not seem to me that that paragraph can be interpreted in other ways, sincerely, and precisely because it is different from what … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Wu Ming05/13/2020 at 5:24 pmIn the piece we find no “ideological link between individual and economic freedom”. Indeed there is a clear condemnation of neoliberal policies, the privatization of health, the social inequalities that the management of this emergency is exacerbating.Log in to reply
          • Wu Ming05/13/2020 at 5:28 pmPS This controversy, in turn, risks diverting attention from the very important findings that the piece contains, on the data that it comments, on the demystifications that it operates towards as Covid-19 has been told to us.Log in to reply
            • masaccio05/13/2020 at 5:53 pmBut yes, in fact I have already commented too much, I’ll stop, it doesn’t make sense to monopolize the discussion on this. But the fact that the freedom to go out and that to produce are not the same freedom and that there is no “economy of the nation” measured by the GDP which is directly reflected in work … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
            • frapavia05/13/2020 at 10:27 pmexactly! the topic is the data in this case. For this reason, a little further on (and a little while ago) I asked: who benefits from the lockdown (taking into account that, in various measures, it is taking place globally)? If the evidence of the data denies its usefulness, what is the reason for keeping it? They don’t want to lose … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Cugino_di_Alf05/13/2020 at 5:15 pmHi, I don’t agree very much with your interpretation. From my point of view, there is no need to be part of the “GDP party” to see that unemployment and poverty will affect not so much or not only the workers of the big factories, as the seasonal workers, on fixed-term or in … [ Keep reading]Log in to reply
      • masaccio05/13/2020 at 5:43 pmFor me the point is to understand where the responsibilities are. It seems to me that it is said that the responsibilities are in the choice to stop some (not all, as another comment has well pointed out) productive activities. For me, however, the responsibilities lie in not offering these workers the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Wu Ming 105/13/2020 at 5:55 pmOne thing we have said many times is that speaking of lockdown generically, without specification, necessarily brings together very different measures, adopted in different areas, at different times and places, with different characteristics and impacts. To say that the lockdown itself does not harm workers and … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • Cugino_di_Alf05/13/2020 at 6:21 pmExactly. And your clarification on the lockdown of the schools (which has a very heavy impact on my family, as on many others) makes me want to ask a question (I realize provocative) to the masaccio that I had previously avoided: Who is it that can be defined as a worker? An artisan, who lays tiles in … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  7. Marcello0705/13/2020 at 5:24 pmMasaccio, in my opinion you have misunderstood the meaning. When the authors write “we condemn a large part of the population to unemployment and poverty” they do not mean that to avoid this one must go to work always and in any case, in any condition, in order to gain weight. They mean, I believe, that the containment measures have been so … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  8. AlexJC05/13/2020 at 5:41 pmI agree with the analysis even if the paper that opens by prof. I believe that Mamone Capria (dated 30 March) reports some data and affirmations subsequently refuted, in particular on the trend of mortality over the years and on the fact that the sars-cov-2 is no longer questioned by anyone (if not by . .. [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming05/13/2020 at 7:26 pmPlease, next time try to find a source other than the one you have proposed, and in any case we try to sift through more and more sources the news coming out on that site.Log in to reply
      • AlexJC05/13/2020 at 9:42 pmsorry, you’re absolutely right. In reality I did not know what sputnik was (mea culpa … but I can’t do it all) the news, however, I had verified it was on the courier of the evening but I had not put that link because the corsera by now problems: if you do not remove all … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  9. Gil-galad05/13/2020 at 6:28 pmAllow me a sloppy and purely anecdotal comment: but if the number of deaths in excess of COVID are difficult to distinguish from those due to pollution or those of seasonal flu, because all my friends nurses and doctors, in Italy and in England , they say they have never seen anything of the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • plumb05/13/2020 at 6:59 pmHealthcare professionals have made an impression strongly conditioned by the planning of new “sudden” health protocols and a temporary “restructuring” of the wards, which have been transformed into semi-intensive intensive care. The contagiousness of the virus (since the outbreaks were not contained) has simultaneously led many infected to … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 105/13/2020 at 6:59 pmListening to the testimonies of those who face the epidemic in the front line (I use a war metaphor but not in a warlike sense), in dramatic conditions and seeing people die in front, is right and necessary. But I ask a question: what is necessary for what purpose? Before answering, I warn of a risk: pivot … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Gil-galad05/13/2020 at 7:46 pmAgree more. All the more reason to rise from the here and now of the Italian debate and try to put what is happening with us in a global perspective. Of course the struggles are always located struggles, and it is very important to understand which is the weak link of the Italian biosecuritarian apparatus to break the etorodirect narrative all to the advantage … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • sgandini05/13/2020 at 7:05 pmComparing deaths between different countries can be misleading, in part because the way in which COVID-19 deaths are recorded varies from country to country. Excess deaths are a better measure than COVID-19 deaths. These are the additional deaths in a certain period of time compared … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  10. Gil-galad05/13/2020 at 6:28 pmI think that a critical approach to the “staying at home” policy should not necessarily leverage arguments, even convincing ones, but that by philosophizing on the reduction of risk, they accept to incorporate easily refutable judgments in their analyzes. Is COVID mortality overestimated? Just today Peter Piot, the scientist who discovered … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • robydoc05/13/2020 at 7:05 pmAnd many greetings to my article 😦 I can repeat that it is completely meaningless to make reasonings of this type on Sweden (which NO ONE incenses) or on anyone else but it is also necessary not to panic. Only in this light is it legible your concern (and your misunderstanding) about … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Gil-galad05/13/2020 at 7:26 pmHi Robydoc, I really appreciated your article to tell the truth, and I was referring implicitly to things read in English from other parts (many have written hastily about Sweden these days, and your text was not rushed). What I was trying to point out is that the way … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Wu Ming 105/13/2020 at 7:34 pmBoh, the most learned companions we know are almost all childless, unlike the rest of us, and when we wrote about the suffering of children and adolescents during the lockdown, or about problems related to school and DAD, they regularly didn’t understand us and they attacked us with strawmen … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • Lizaveta Nikolaevna05/13/2020 at 7:55 pmBah. I have no children but the suffering of children and adolescents I find it very understandable. But I teach, maybe that’s it. Not only. I was banned because I defended the provision with which the mayor of Livorno made it clear that it was possible to accompany non-self-sufficient disabled cohabitants or family members on an outing. … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
            • Wu Ming 105/13/2020 at 7:58 pmWe specify: I have not written that all the childless are self-centered and learned, it would be a sesquipedal crap :-))) I found that «almost all the most learned companions we know» (therefore a well-limited sample) are childless (and to think about it) well they have nothing to do with children even for … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • Gil-galad05/13/2020 at 7:57 pmI state that I am a privileged, I live in London with my son in a “soft” lockdown (which is not the reason why England is having the parable he is having, but the three weeks of cancellation before the lockdwon, and Brexit celebration in Parliament square full of BNP … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
            • Lizaveta Nikolaevna05/13/2020 at 8:03 pmOf course not all childless people don’t understand. I just noticed some positions too. What I mean is that there are many issues to consider. You can have grandparents and be afraid of contagion, but you can also be afraid of depression, of the consequences of the absence of motion, of … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • swann skein05/13/2020 at 10:26 pmBeware though that Piot did not say that COVID lethality is 30%, he said that the percentage of hospitalized patients who die in England is 30%, just as 50% of those intubated die (approximately). It means a very different thing: that if you get worse enough to ask for the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  11. karlse05/13/2020 at 6:51 pmThere has never been a “Confindustria party”. No one in their right mind could seriously think about doing a prolonged lockdown. The real game was played (and lost) on the CONDITIONS in which to resume, which are vexatious towards those who work, remaining in a state of emergency. It is no coincidence that the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  12. pm200105/13/2020 at 7:11 pmThis article offers several interesting insights, but on some occasions I did not appreciate the somewhat casual use of the sources. The journalistic ones, which generally respond to a need for spectacularization, in my opinion should not be used as demonstrations in a debate if they report the opinions of a scientist. A quote … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  13. Tina05/13/2020 at 11:41 pmI would be more cautious in comparison with Germany, cited here together with Sweden as a positive example, without the German situation being really analyzed. The comparison is entrusted by link to an article from “Linkiesta” signed by Emanuele Gatti, president of the Italian chamber of commerce for Germany: an expert … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Giulia Q05/14/2020 at 12:51 amBy the way: articles examining the countries that have had a real success and not a manageable defeat, are there any? I speak of India, New Zealand, South Korea, Vietnam, and perhaps others, but these are the first that come to my mind to have obtained a … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • sgandini05/14/2020 at 9:36 amWe agree on the criticism of Schroeder’s reform. We would miss it. We did not want to propose to take the German model in its entirety, of course, but only to say that if we focused on territorial medicine there was no need to close the whole country. We also named Germany because the parliamentarians approved substantial subsidies … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  14. maurovanetti5/14/2020 at 2:05 amI’ll be frank: I don’t like this article. It is superficial, inattentive to political consequences. “Does the virus have to spread”? But is it really written? It seems to me a macroscopic mistake to release an article that says such a thing in such an easy way. And why should we all get sick to gain herd immunity? Maybe the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 405/14/2020 at 8:19 amMauro, sorry, but your comment is based on a string of non sequitur. 1) Saying that “the virus must spread” is not the same as saying that “we should all get sick”. Fortunately, the percentage of those who fall ill remains minimal compared to those infected and even lower is the percentage of those who fall ill … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Wu Ming 15/14/2020 at 8:37 amI integrate point 4 by saying, even more explicitly, that being able to blame the pandemic for a crisis that was still coming is convenient for capital in all its sectors that are taking advantage of or trying to take advantage of this phase, and also in those who … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Wu Ming 105/14/2020 at 9:20 amRegarding Mauro’s premise, where the decision to publish the article is criticized, a general remark. We do not choose to host this or that external contribution based on their being 100% “in line with Wu Ming”. We take responsibility for the decision to host them, that is to find them qualitatively good … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • Wu Ming 105/14/2020 at 9:47 amRereading the passage on external links, and also in light of the answer that Sara has given in the meantime on Germany, I realize that I have forgotten a notation: when you quote a source to confirm your own assertion and to allow verification, you are not also adhering to all … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • maurovanetti05/14/2020 at 4:47 pmIt seems to me that you want to read better positions in the article than those that are expressed. The care with which the authors avoid speaking with this type of criticism reinforces my belief that hide and seek is being played. Anyway … 1) «The virus must spread» says something that doesn’t … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
            • maurovanetti05/14/2020 at 4:57 pm4) That they will try to make us pay the economic costs of the pandemic I do not doubt it. That this will be easy is all to see, right now I would say that if anything a period of intense class struggle awaits us. In no way, neither the recession nor its aggravation is … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
            • Wu Ming05/14/2020 at 4:59 pmTo me, honestly, it doesn’t seem that in this article, in that particular passage, you put it in a different way from how Burgio puts it in the quote that I have taken. Having said that, sorry, Mauro, but you cannot read that, since the two authors have not yet answered you, then it means … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 205/14/2020 at 10:02 amAny interpretation of the words of others is based on the principle of charity. If someone tells you that “he has to fly home”, you do not answer “Since when do you have wings?”, But assuming that he is not out of his mind, imagine that he has used words metaphorically. At the same … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  15. Wu Ming 205/14/2020 at 9:34 amThe page of the Istat website dedicated to statistics on deaths, mentioned in the article, reserves several surprises for the layman. Generating the graphs on the number of deaths, between January and April, in the Italian municipalities, for two years chosen from 2015 to 2020, one would expect to see two things: 1) The lockdown. That is: the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Ozimandias05/14/2020 at 11:17 amThis is a gross methodological error. While sharing many doubts about the effectiveness of a generalized lockdown policy, in comparing the deaths of two different years, the lockdown can NOT be ignored as a historical event. If the curves of 2020 and 2015 are similar, it does not mean that the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Wu Ming 205/14/2020 at 11:28 amReaffirming that I am a layman of statistical analysis, and that we certainly need more data, I believe that the effects of the lockdown should not be seen so much from the comparison between the curves of 2020 and a previous year, as in the same curve of 2020. And while there are … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Wu Ming 205/14/2020 at 11:34 amAs for the fact that lockdown cannot be ignored as a historical event, I agree. But “historical event occurred” does not mean “cause”. “Post hoc ergo propter hoc” is a well-known sophism. Otherwise, also the fact that a guy made a superstitious gesture before the game of his … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Ozimandias05/14/2020 at 11:49 amAbsolutely. It is an influencing factor (no pun intended), never a cause. Considering the fundamental variable of randomness due to epidemiological and non-epidemiological reasons, among other things, it will be very difficult to evaluate its real incidence, even after years. Taken from the political point of view, however, the lockdown is much more eloquent … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
          • AlexJC05/14/2020 at 3:14 pmSorry Ozimandias, it being understood that the lockdown is a fact and that is, it cannot be ignored, it does not seem to me that we cannot discuss the trend of the graphs. The graphs say that around March 5, there was an anomalous increase in some areas of Italy, precisely the eight municipalities that … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  16. opellulo05/14/2020 at 12:08 pmWell, I don’t really understand the meaning of this article: it gives the shoulder to the worst right-wingers “has the same mortality as the flu”, “herd immunity” when in reality there is still no credible data on either statement and then mix the waters pulling in Germany, Sweden (on which you … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 205/14/2020 at 12:38 pmSorry Opellulo, but why quotes in expressions that are not contained in the article you criticize? (“Has the same mortality as influenza”, “flock immunity”). The technique of attributing to the interlocutor a caricature of what he said and then criticizing the caricature and not the real content of the statements is such a rhetorical stratagem … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 105/14/2020 at 12:51 pmHonestly, it seems to me a caricatural and very “social” way of summarizing this article. And also insulting to us who take care of the blog. Everyone must calm down and read the article and discussion without haste and without putting on certain glasses immediately. The article does not have a focus on community immunity, however I point out … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • opellulo05/14/2020 at 1:21 pmWith all due consideration, however, write: “A useful comparison is for example that between the mortality of these months and that of 2015. In Italy in the first eight months of 2015 there were 45,000 more deaths than the previous year (Istat data). The increase in deaths could be due in large part … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Wu Ming 105/14/2020 at 1:48 pmYour reading of the part on the deaths of 2015 seems to me completely wrong, or rather, upside down. In the meantime, it does not simply speak of flu but of flu-like syndromes, which is how MERS, SARS, all VOCs also occur, there is nothing diminishing in the expression. After that, don’t … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Wu Ming 405/14/2020 at 2:11 pmWell, I see rather an exemplary case of misunderstanding of the text. The article does not say that the flu causes the same deaths as Covid, not at all: «In Italy in the first eight months of 2015 there were 45,000 more deaths than the previous year (Istat data). The increase in deaths could be due to … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  17. Pao05/14/2020 at 1:43 pmhonestly personally the writing seemed important and realistic to me. I admit that I am completely extraneous to the issues we say more about the sphere of political discussion since I have not followed such contexts for a very long time. and therefore I don’t know the dynamics. not for superficiality but for self-preservation. I’m not in perfect shape and … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  18. robydoc05/14/2020 at 3:24 pmAfter the first reading of the article I must say that I was a bit surprised, probably because I was still immersed in my considerations. The “feeling” was not too dissimilar from those of Masaccio, Mauro, pm2001, opellule and others who stiffened, so to speak. I remembered where I was and the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Pao05/14/2020 at 3:46 pmThanks so much. In the meantime I have informed myself better. Yes indeed we are all very tried and everyone has their reactions. Not that before the pandemic it was an idyllic period eh. Above all I am happy to have found you. Then there is always way and way to say the … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Wu Ming 105/14/2020 at 3:54 pmI find it clear how Robydoc reasoned about his initial “stiffening” and how he told it in his comment. Remembering “where you are”, that is, on Giap, really means trusting not so much in “yours truly”, in us WM, but in the community that debates, verifies, straightens, does every … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  19. talpa6005/14/2020 at 3:25 pmI find the article excellent, especially because it clearly says some inconvenient truths. The generalized and extended lockdown throughout Italy did not defend the weakest, but destroyed them. I have a good job, well paid, and my wife too, in fields without consequences due to the quarantine. A beautiful house … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
  20. Tabris05/14/2020 at 4:31 pm“WHO Emergency Program Head Mike Ryan recently said that in their view,” Sweden has put in place very strong public health measures. ” He said it by making the common and sensational mistake of speaking when a country has an epidemic at a different stage than the countries in … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
    • Tabris05/14/2020 at 4:32 pm”It should be noted that the well-being of the community as a whole was not taken into account, the all-round effects of the lockdown on the present and future were not included. Because if the country enters a recession we will not have the resources to pay the national health system “Here … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • Wu Ming 105/14/2020 at 4:38 pmBut still?! Renzi, herd immunity … We must continue to point out to those who do not follow or do not want to follow the discussion that these are two conditioned reflexes, that here we are on Giap, that if one thinks that Renzian stuff can be published here ( !!!) must, very simply … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
        • Tabris05/14/2020 at 4:54 pmYou have to because the surprise was really big and to point out that the reasoning follows the same tracks should induce at least a minute of reflection. Immunization understood in this way is not feasible: we do not have the healing skills, we do not have the necessary testing skills. No country in the world, ideal … [Continue reading]Log in to reply
      • plumb05/14/2020 at 5:01 pmTabris … you haven’t read any of the previous comments. Do you know why you didn’t do it? Because you have not understood that the comments are an integral, fundamental, deepening part of all the food for thought proposed here. You didn’t understand how important the comparison is. Don’t … [Continue reading]