Corona Fallout

When I looked at the stats for countries being hit with this pandemic, it struck me as surprising that the number of cases/deaths due to Covid 19, in some places, did not correlate proportionately with the level of population.

It would be easy to assume hygiene levels and santization practices might be lower in underdeveloped countries, as compared to say, Australia. And that spread of disease would be faster. In countries with higher levels of health care, the contagion might have been anticipated to be slower. This does not appear to be the cases if you look at the current statistics. Places like Malaysia and Thailand, are doing remarkably well, with a small number of Covid 19 cases, in regions with populations far greater than others. Why? Is it their level of preventative measures?

Here are the current stats country by country, if you are interested.

Why is Covid-19 so prevalent in Italy?

Then there is Italy – why do they have so many Covid cases? Some suggest that many Chinese and other businessmen, have been visiting the north of Italy, in greater numbers of recent times.

Starting in Codogno, a small town in southern Lombardy, one of the wealthiest, most densely populated, and most globalized areas in Europe, the coronavirus circulated very fast and easily…. The Codogno economic district hosts large companies and multinationals – making it a hub for production and international trade. Workers, salesmen, managers, and consultants of all sorts travel daily to their workplace, many of them commuting to nearby cities. International partners visit from abroad. And of course, Milan is a mere 70 kilometer drive from Codogno. Although “patient zero” has not been found yet, it looks increasingly likely that the virus had been circulating in Europe weeks before “patient one” was identified in late February.


Singapore, to its immense credit, appears to be managing the crisis well. They were well prepared, quickly instituting pro-active measures after having previously learnt valuable lessons in pandemic management, during the SARS outbreak.

A New World Order?

The current crisis highlights just how connected and how vulnerable we, as a society are. Our financial and business sectors, recreation and travel mean a contagion can and does travel fast and far, throughout the entire world. Not even in a small village in Iceland are you safe, from this virus. Whether we care to admit it or night, we do live in a global village. We can no longer live and conduct affairs without considering the rest of the world.


The economies of the Western developed countries are suffering, just as China is beginning to recover. Many Western democracies, including mine, will inevitably head into a deep economic recession, in coming months. We need to have in place new and different strategies and policies for business, health care, education and technology in order to appropriately respond to this contagion.

Some Chinese communities are questioning whether they should move back to China, from their new bases in Italy. What effect would this have?

“About 100,000 people from Wenzhou, and another 100,000 from nearby Qingtian county, live in Italy, according to official Chinese data, with Milan also hosting a sizable Chinese community. “We definitely feel safer in China. The government is more efficient … Hospitals here can treat patients well, but the government’s ability to respond to an emergency is not ideal,” Wu said.”

The social fallout from this virus also highlights the disparity between European countries, with high levels of health care against the economic might of America, who has almost no universal health care. [Let me know if this is wrong].

I wonder why Universities and Schools are only now moving to E-learning in response to the viral threat. Why didn’t the education facilities, fully implement this mode of delivery, earlier? Can I attribute the reason to their penchant for keeping a social interactive community on university campuses alive? Wouldn’t E-learning be far more profitable to them?

Climate Conspiracy?

If I believed in conspiracy theories, which I don’t, my cynical self would also suggest that the release of the virus, if it was deliberate, is a discrete way to circumvent and divert debate and action, on action against climate change.

Continuing and ever increasing school strikes successfully highlighted issues of climate change. Now that schools are closed in many countries, except Australia, the strikes cannot happen.

Moreover, we cannot gather in groups of more than 100 in Australia. Some countries ban gatherings of less than 50, and in Portugal, gatherings must be less than 5 persons.

Food and Job Security

Adding to this, is the issue of global food security. The shops across the world are emptying, and people are staying home, for the most part. Food is becoming harder to obtain. If transport is halted, how do we all access food?

Many have already lost their employment or will lose it in coming months. Many will become homeless or develop mental health issues.

How Fragile is our existing World Order?


A Positive Effect

If there is one postive to be found in self-imposed isolation or government quarantine and in business shut-down and potential failure, it is that some parts of the planet and nature, get a break from human intervention and destruction.

  • Global rainforests may not get burnt this week.
  • Fewer carbon emissions from reduced transport services.
  • That precious koala habitat may not get cleared/logged this week.
  • Industries may refraim from discharging their poisonous effluent into the sea this week, due to shutdowns.
  • The lake near my Home by the Sea might not have pieces of plastic litter from building supplies contaminating it this week. {we are on track so far}
  • People may re-discover making ends meet – growing their own food, cooking for themselves, entertaining at home, chatting with family.

In short: we get a chance to pause and breathe too.

62 thoughts on “Corona Fallout

  1. Italy may be suffering a surprising increase in COVID-19 infections and deaths because of the nation’s tendency to engage in more personal interaction, which includes eating out and visiting family, friends and neighbors more frequently. Italians, like many southern Europeans, are very affectionate and friendly; prone more to a hug as a greeting than a stern handshake. Many Latin Americans possess the same disposition. It was endemic on my father’s side of the family. It’s just the way we were!

    I’m curious to know how COVID-19 has impacted India, which has the second-largest population in the world. India has a poor health care infrastructure and is essentially a developing (formerly third world) nation. If COVID-19 is hitting Europe and the U.S. badly, surely it must be rampaging across India. But I’ve seen no news in that regard. Then again, here in the U.S., where people are fighting each other over toilet paper, that’s not surprising.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A great question. I looked it up – India has 195 cases and 4 deaths – so far. Almost completely negligible in terms of their population. Perhaps travellers are not heading there in significant numbers, yet? It will certainly be interesting to watch and read the analysis afterwards.


    • An interesting and detailed post Amanda.Thank you.Ref.Alejandro De La Garza…yes I agree,INDIA is 2 nd largest population next only to China.India is in much better situation regarding medical healthcare.So far 350 cases identified and deaths numbering 7.Govt of INDIA has taken many measures including Janata curfew ( people’s curfew- voluntary curfew ) on Sunday 22 nd March 14 hrs curfew from onwards was successful,which was undertaken in true sprit.Govt has suspended train services,metro rail,bus services,closed international airports.WHO as on 18 th March praised India’s 🇮🇳 response ‘impressive’. The answer for low incidence relative to the population is the fast action that the Govt.of INDIA took was to shut the borders and quarantine infected people.But INDIA needs more to tackle the corona crisis.aAs on today, some 75 districts in different parts of the country locked down.My feeling is at this time INDIA is in a decisive point.
      As on today Corona is not rampaging INDIA,but I am confident we can control the virus 🦠
      Thank you Namaste


    • Thank you Amanda for this interesting read.Lots of information you have provided.

      Ref.Alejandro De La Garza….Agree India has second largest population.Our health care system has improved vastly with good infrastructure and highly qualified medical staff.As far as coping up with the crisis concerned ,all depends on how quickly the infected person is isolated etc.
      As of now 7 deaths are related to coronal virus and total number of people infected is 396,at this moment.
      The World Health Organisation, on Tuesday, praised the Indian government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for their efforts in dealing with the outbreak of the coronavirus.

      Speaking to Times Now, Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India, said that he was impressed and satisfied to see the commitment of the Indian government towards tackling the health crisis.
      The main reasons in my opinion are
      1.India was quick to activate the health system.
      2.Govt has timely repatriated many citizens from infected prone countries or from the countries already suffering.
      3.Our PM expanded neighborhood first policy with SAARC countries (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) via teleconference speaking to all the respective presidents and prime ministers,evolving mechanism to combat the rouge virus.
      4.Universal screening done in all the international airports and people infected are quickly isolated.
      5.Even in the country almost 75 districts are in lock down with train & bus services suspended till 31st March.
      6.Yesterday we had 14 hrs of ‘Janata Curfew ‘simply put…. voluntary curfew by the people of the country for 14 hours,a kind of preparedness for future longer shutdowns.
      7. Issuing health bulletins regularly regarding information about the virus and precautions to be taken.

      But these are earlier days for India,testing time ahead with such a large population ( 1.3 Billion ) with densely populated areas.
      No doubt India is on high alert and doing the best,I hope & pray that community spread does not happen.
      Thank you

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve heard different views of India’s health care system, so I guess it depends on who’s talking. My biggest concern, though, is that we’re destined for another 1918 Spanish flu-type nightmare. The present-day COVID-19 is proving deadly enough, but I shudder to think of the trauma a much more lethal pathogen would inflict. If a flu virus could spread around the globe with seemingly lightning speed a century ago – before the jet age – what would the death toll be with something similar now? I feel COVID-19 is just a precursor to what lies ahead for humanity.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You make a valid point about how fast the spread of a contagion was before air travel, Alejandro, so it can only be worse now. It is quite depressing. Two of my kids are without jobs and terribly depressed. They see no hope atm for things to improve. This could build resilience and persistence in someone strong but depression and despair in the weak. It is nice to focus on the positives, but it is no good to wear rose-coloured glasses.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m saddened for your kids, Amanda. That’s an awful predicament. We’re experiencing the same dilemma here in the U.S., which is why our elected leaders are working on a mass stimulus package for both individuals and businesses. But, as has become typical of American politicians in the past 20 years, ideological differences are getting in the way of progress. If these people were sailors on a sinking ship, they’d all drown!


      • Thank you my friend.I agree with your observation that,it depends on who is talking.
        Agree that it’s impossible to contains the spread in such a densly concentrated population,as a physician my self from India and living in India,I can tell that we are making our best efforts to contain.The whole scenario depends on social distancing and hope and pray that things will settle by April end.Rest in God’s hands.Thank you for taking your time

        Liked by 1 person

  2. America does not have “almost” no universal care: it has none at all. It is the “united” states, which are not at all united in terms of their governings. It’s because of their refusal to be tied in to a single health care of any kind – “why fer gawd’s sakes would I want to share this wunnerful state’s health care with that one’s ?!” – that has led to their ludicrous and appalling health setup, under which it could cost you many thousands of dollars to enter an emergency department (even if knocked down by an ambulance outside, let us say !). It is why Obama was so chuffed about getting even Obamacare going – and that was far from one good, over-all deal.
    As for rates of infection; don’t overlook the level of testing. We in Oz might be bloody rife with Covid-19 (or whatever is the correct name for it); but there’s no testing going on ..

    Liked by 2 people

    • I believe much of the problem is that developed nations, such as the U.S., feel they are above epidemiological catastrophes because of their wealth and overall infrastructure. Thus, when a viral calamity arrives, they view it as more of a nuisance or trite inconvenience than a looming crisis. Here in the U.S., our “dear leader” Donald Trump initially downplayed the significance of COVID-19, but is now proclaiming that it essentially ambushed us. Such arrogance and shortsighted behavior then becomes a mere ingredient in the ensuing chaotic stew.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You are definitely right about the expectation that American is above all of this. This might arise from its role as the world’s watchdog and reliance of fire power to solve conflicts? Mr T appears to have no remorse or qualms about such a monumental mistake in letting the Covid 19 horse bolt. A chaotic stew indeed. And we are all affected. Some Americans were found today wandering around our airport unaware that the cruise they had just disembarked from had 23 cases of Covid 19. They should have been in isolation but they were at the airport about to board a flight back home!


      • Part of the U.S. problem is that we have a conservative Republican billionaire masquerading as our president and a conservative Republican majority in the U.S. Senate. None of them – as is characteristic of conservative Republicans – consider health care a priority. The U.S. had a department dedicated to biological epidemics. In 2001, the George W. Bush Administration eliminated the office. Then the SARS epidemic arose the following year, and – although it didn’t really impact the U.S. – the Bush group reestablished the pandemic office.

        When the Barack Obama Administration arrived in 2009, they initially limited funding to the pandemic office, as the nation was in the grip of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. But a swine flu pandemic erupted in the spring of 2009, and the Obama group focused enough attention on that to qualm any fears. Five years later, however, the Ebola pandemic sweeping across Western Africa touched the U.S. A Nigerian immigrant fell sick with it and died in – of all places – Dallas, Texas. A handful of others got infected, but survived.

        When Trump came into office 3 years ago, the pandemic office was dissolved again. Now here we are with COVID-19, and the U.S. is – once more – trying to catch up. The wealthiest, most powerful nation on Earth is caught without a firm protocol for handling this kind of biological chaos, and health care workers on the front lines are being told to place their face masks in plastic bags, as they might have to re-use them. Meanwhile, average citizens are left to battle over toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

        For me, the crisis is hitting closer to home, as 2 employees with a government office in my suburban community have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. I’ll be able to retrieve my elderly mother from a rehabilitation facility next week, but I am genuinely terrified for her health and mine. I don’t know if my usual allergies are still affecting me, as I’ve been feeling rather lethargic with body aches. Then again, it may also be that I’m not drinking the right kind of wine and I’ve reached yet another plateau with my latest novel. Who knows?!

        Once I get my mother back into my care, we’re self-quaranting for a while. Or, as I call it: my lifestyle.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Your plan of action sounds sensible, Alejandro.
        Wine? That can’t be the reason for your lethargy 😉. Stress over the situation might be more a contributor. Do you use anything to manage yout allergies? I hope you
        didn’t have any contact with the government department?😬
        Reusing masks is unconscionable for any health authority. Some one just told me today that a dentist found someone rummaging through his dental office trash can – for masks. I hope they are not going try to sell them to desperate people! Yuk!! Fancy suspending the pandemic authority. That was a short sighted action, but then anything Trump and his crew do, is often surprising, usually in a negative way.


      • I was actually joking about the wine. I’ve experienced enough stress dealing with my parents’ various health conditions. Worrying about my mother, both before and after the stroke, indeed stressed me out. Now, as I prepare to bring her back home, I think my stress levels might intensify; even more so because she’s still practically immobile. But I can’t tolerate the thought of leaving her at the rehab center. The staff are very nice and professional, and I have no complaints about them or the care the facility has provided. Yet, with COVID-19 creeping even closer, I’m willing to put up with her needs. It’s not so much a burden as an obligation. She’s helpless right now, in her old age, and I can’t pass her onto someone else and say goodbye.

        Now, with my gym forced to close, I’ll be forced to resort to homemade calisthenics – which is not bad thing. However, I could use a good back massage!

        Meanwhile, the governor of the state of Florida has come under intense criticism for allowing spring break revelers to descend upon the Sunshine state’s beachfronts. For American college students, spring break is a veritable right-of-passage; a coming-of-age chapter in a young life. Vacationing in a sun-drenched environment makes for a truly hedonistic pilgrimage. I know it well. I engaged in such revelry more than 30 years ago. But there was no health pandemic, save for AIDS (which only “other people” got) and sunburns. Ah, the folly of youth!

        However, many of the hormonally-charged youngsters crowding the nation’s sunny coastlines don’t seem to understand the severity of the COVID-19 debacle. A few have even turned to social media to announce their blatant disregard for the threat. My fear now is that we’ll see a slew of COVID-19 cases bloom like kudzu in the following weeks.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I heard about the youth partying calling the disease the “senior deleter,” so I suspect the numbers will rise sharply soon in the party age group too! The only reason they are safe is thar they are generally stronger but not neccessarily.
        What a wonderful son you are to your Mum. She is lucky to have you.
        I thought you were joking about the wine, but then you mentioned allergies and red wine is renowned for that.


  3. The nations that have taken clear and decisive action and where the population has fallen in line have fared better in this crisis. Our world may never be the same afterwards but good things will come out of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think it is too early to compare countries and there are too many variables. Countries are at different stages of the pandemic. Predictions are that Germany is about 10 days behind Italy. Also, the amount of testing and what is being tested is different in many countries. Italy from the beginning has tested their dead for the virus whereas other countries might have had deaths from corona but have not checked. Those countries that are behind in the development of the pandemic should do well to learn from the ones that are ahead of them – but they often don’t. And some responses are completely irresponsible and mad, I’ve heard of prayer against corona meetings in Bangladesh with 30,000 people being close together. We will see the results off this in only in 2-4 weeks, I’m afraid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is true, Eklastic. Countries are at different rates with the “moving beast,” but to me that is all the more reason for consistency, so that the ones with the lower rates, don’t catch up! Surprisingly, there is not much in certain countries – perhaps it hasn’t reached their corners, or international travel there is less than other parts. However, there is widespread testing in Singapore and Korea, who have kept their rates much lower than other countries, like Australia. It is not only that Italy tests more, although it would be easy to believe that. My son was on holidays in those countries In Asia and there were tents set up on the street testing people with results in three hours. Our tests take 1 day to come back. Singapore hasn’t let anyone in at the airport unless their test is clear – and they make them wait for the result. That is making a difference.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Italy doesn’t test more but they tested people after death which they don’t do in Germany. This relates mainly to the early stages. When somebody died in Germany (particularly old people) there existing conditions were given as reason of death. In Italy they tested and people who might have died anyway (because they were old and ill) turned out to ALSO have the corona virus, so they went into the statistics of corona related deaths. Statistics can be a bitch like this but it explains some of the inconsistencies.

        Liked by 1 person

      • As far as I know they are incredibly good and fast with testing. I’ve heard that as soon as they have identified a positive tested person, they track down all contacts if at all possible and test them and quarantine them until they know definitely if they are pos or neg. In some cases they keep the tested persons on site until the tests are back and even then contact persons are sent into self-quarantine.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for a very insightful and thought-provoking post, which covers a variety of problems and raises important questions.
    Convid-19 is a new virus and we’re dealing with an unprecedented situation globally. Some countries are taking more stringent measures than others. Which approach is the most effective? Only time will tell, I think. Like countries such as Italy, Spain, France etc, Norway has taken a strict approach in containing the spread of the virus. The country is on a lockdown with closed schools and venues. Most events have been cancelled. We have already seen the impact these measures have on Norway’s economy and society, with massive layoffs, job losses and bankruptcies taking place across the country. People are worried, not only about the spread of the virus but also the prospect of the nation’s economy. The big question right now may be: Are we capable of coping with all these issues in the upcoming months? People here are generally in good spirits and solidarity is central in the Norwegian culture. We have to stay strong and every one has to make the effort required so that the country as a whole will come out of this crisis.
    Sending my best wishes to you and Australian people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, for your wishes for my country, Isabelle. We do have to stay strong both mentally and physically. We live in a global village now and what one country of any decent size does will inevitably affect one another. People in my own family have lost jobs already, and it is hard to see many small businesses bouncing back after a potentially six monbth lay off. We are not yet in lock down… .the effects of waiting may be expensive for us. Best wishes and hilsen til deg ogsaa, Isabelle.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am glad I live in California. As of today, they have ordered a shelter in place. I work in a hospital so I can go out for that. Yesterday we hit 1,000+ confirmed cases — Los Angeles County makes up 231 confirmed cases. It is still a modest number compared to New York CITY that has 4,000 confirmed cases and Washington state at 1,376 cases. We going extreme fairly early but I hope it leads to better outcomes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Really interesting post. I wonder if the asian countries will get a ‘second wave?’ I suppose it’s all just about buying time until a vaccine can be distributed.

    I’m in the UK and finding it frustrating that the government isn’t taking more action to get it under control. It’s scary to think we could be in the same situation as Italy in a few weeks time. Take care.


    • Anything is possible but they appear to have acted more swiftly in containment, than other countries. Having learnt some lessons. Although inferring explanations from statistics is not always science! Stay in, limit contacts, distance socially and eat well. We will make it through this.


  8. I’ve been wondering too at the seemingly low statistics of over crowded places such as the Phillipines, where a big percentage of their populations live in less than ideal situations compared our affluent Australia. The only way it makes sense to me is that perhaps because of the health systems there people may be self treating, and caring for ill family members within their own walls – just as they’ve always done. Deaths are possibly being attributed to other causes, and bodies are possibly being disposed of without the tests being carried out that we are doing in more affluent countries. I wonder if statistics aren’t being counted in some of those countries, and in actual fact the pandemic may be absolutely rampant there but just under reported on.
    Have you seen Bill Gates prophesy made in 2015 – how right he was.


    • You might be right about the Philippine death count, I’m not sure. However, they do live in close proximity to one another. I work with a Filipino therapist and she has cancelled her trip back to see her family because of that very reason. It is hard to separate oneself from another person in terms of social distancing to the level required as the population is overwhelming. What was Bill Gates prophecy?


    • The lack of social interaction in a University community would surely have an impact on vigorous discussion, as it is harder to read people’s body language in a e-learning situation, unless they are use skype with a monitor that shows the whole person, not just the body.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. we think very differently … like your positives!

    Have you noted how much pollution cleared in Beijing alone since they isolated … we will have no need for protests at this rate 🙂

    Knowing who and how and stats, which I’m sure all countries are not reporting correctly. It’s happening too fast to keep accurate figures. All we need to know is that self-isolation does work, it is deadly, they will find a cure 🙂

    We need to be smart about hygiene and isolating and not take anything for granted …

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are absolutely correct, we need to be smart about hygiene in this environment.
      Re the climate crisis – i t is as if the planet needed a release valve and I do hope we realize that we can reverse some of the dreadful consequences of our lifestyle. This is an opportune moment to realize we can live with less, be more eco-friendly and sustainable. Yet I worry that the climate crisis juggernaut will lose its steam with this six month hiatus – or however long we take to get out of Corona. Hardline governments might use this as justification that there are more important things to attend to – which is true – at the moment, but again, will Governments look to the longer term impact if we return to our old polluting ways? What do you think?

      Liked by 1 person

      • our govts are lost, only feeding their own egos and pockets!
        The only ones who can truly impact climate change is every individual … I live off grid, what are you doing?

        Liked by 1 person

      • You live off the grid! You have my endless admiration. I am trained in Environmental Science so have always tried to live a sustainable, life, promote recycling, reduce waste and dependence on plastic, practise environmentally friendly practices such as growing and making my own food, using natural products, no pesticides etc. It has been a life long journey for me. Currently I am conducting a plastic audit at my new home, which is extremely energy efficient. Have you managed to go zero waste?

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, I believe nature has designs for population control built into its own structure. It took Earth’s population roughly 200,000 years to reach 1 billion, but only 200 to reach 7 billion. Now, we’re rapidly approaching 8 billion. The planet’s resources can only tolerate so much, before essentially fighting back. And, when nature fights back, the effects are always brutal.

        For years officials in China began warning of serious repercussions for the country’s seemingly unchecked population growth. Thus, they began promoting birth control in the 1950s, before much of the rest of the world. In 1958, Mao Zedong introduced his “Great Leap Forward” plan, designed to move China from a mostly rural, agrarian society to a more industrialized one. The result was a famine that killed millions. Still, the population kept growing, and by the 1970s, topped 900 million. Health and other officials again were warning that, soon, the nation would reach 1 billion, if population growth wasn’t stymied somehow. In 1979, they introduced the “one-child-per-family” program. Some demographers both inside and outside of China claim the policy prevented hundreds of millions of more births. Yet, China still reached the 1 billion mark in the early 1980s. I remember hearing the news on that and what an overwhelming number that was!

        But the “one-child-per-family” program actually created about as many problems as it would have prevented. It prompted forced abortions and led to a gender imbalance, as male children became more prized. China ended the program 5 years ago with little fanfare. Now, India has exceeded that 1 billion mark.

        Regardless, there are just too many people trying to access the same resources. All those people need food, medicine, and places to live and work. And, when exhaust normal food supplies, they’ll start going after just about any animal that walks or flies. That’s why some people in China eat dogs, snakes or bats. It sounds appalling to the rest of us, but what do you expected people to do?

        That’s why birth control is critical to any large society. And that simply means women have to have education and opportunities equal to men. It also means religion needs to stay the hell out of people’s family planning affairs!


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