It's the eve of lockdown and all through the train people are coughing left and right. The trains aren’t as full as they used to be a few days ago. The number of sick people is the same. We are in the middle of a pandemic in Germany. Most passengers appear sick. Most people in my train cough and some blow their noses -- all tell tale signs of a cold.
Which cold? This is always the question. People cough. I think it is the coronavirus. I cough as well, so I don’t stand out.
Slovakia is now conducting nationwide COVID-19 tests. I presume they will find a vast number of infected people and prove that the disease isn’t as deadly as feared. I predicted the mortality rate to be in the region of 0.2% in February and published this number on this blog and in a book in March. The moment of the truth is now overdue. It should happen, conveniently, just after the US election.
Americans don’t like to change political direction and the president in the middle of the war. Thus, it has become a tradition to start some kind of war when a president wants to be reelected. We’ve had Kosovo, Iraq, and the war on/of Terror. During the 2nd World war, a president managed to even get 3 terms in office — the one and only time in history when such a feat was achieved.
Now, Trump has followed the tradition and, in honor of the American election, the world has blown a cold out of proportion — all the way to a world war. India’s GDP is down 25%, and with about 100 000 deaths, COVID-19 hasn’t led to much loss of life. We should not forget that over 10 million Indians die every year — most of them far too soon. The average life expectancy in India is considerably shorter than in the West. Those years don’t have to be lost. The 10 million Indians that died this year were, on average, over a decade too young, while COVID-19 death are, on average, only one or two years younger than people who die without COVID-19. Yet, the Coronavirus has brought the world in a state of war.
The election is coming up. Thus, I predict
— TRUMP will win. Americans don’t like to change the course of politics in the middle of a war.
— Upon winning the election, he will follow up in the last minute electoral promise and end the COVID-19 Pandemic with a tweet. He’s seen the virus. He and his team fought and defeated it. They spread it a a few rallies. Nothing terrible happened. The rest of America can do the same. At a mortality of 0.2%, we’re looking at 400 000 deaths if half of the population gets infected. Twice that, if it’s gonna be like NY everywhere. Not nice, but not the end of the world. In the US, almost 240 000 people have died already from/with COVID-19.
— With the pandemic ended by the tweet, Trump will proceed to MAGA - Make America Great Again. Success lies in the failure to contain the virus. The worst the quarantine, the faster the whole population gets infected and the easier it is to restart the economy.
While the countries successful at stopping the virus will need to continue the quarantine and lockdowns indefinitely, the ones that fail will enjoy herd immunity and the freedom to develop economically until the next pandemic comes along.
The Anti-Trump sentiment around the world will help promote politicians that favor containment of the Coronavirus and thus longer economic shutdowns. This will give America a head start of a in the new world.
As for the rest of the world, judging by what I see in the train around me, I think the pandemic will soon be over. We will all be infected. It’s never the entire population, but most of us. Herd immunity will be achieved. This may be short lived, like it is with the other coronaviruses. Thus, herd immunity achieved this winter may not prevent another wave next winter.
We could move in brave new world where COVID-19 infects a large portion of the population every winter. The first infection may be more severe than subsequent ones. It may be that only this first infection is likely to lead to viral pneumonia, while subsequent ones may only manifest themselves as normal colds. Thus, in the future, we’ll have to live with one more cold. This may displace other cold viruses or increase our cold burden to some extent. As only children will have the primary infection and children are adapted to have a rather easy form, it may not be the end of the world.
The world war we’ve made out of this and its consequences will sure last.