The Bug, Africans and Elephants

I was horrified to read a COVID-19 crisis outline threat assessment for Zimbabwe yesterday. The assessment utilises the modelling by Imperial College (London) and predicts that, over the next two hundred and fifty days, the country is likely to record between eight and fourteen thousand infections and between fifteen and thirty three thousand deaths.

Part of the assessment report reads:

1. Context, Assumptions and Consequences. This threat assessment utilizes modelling developed by the Imperial College (London) COVID-19 Response Team headed by Professor Neil Ferguson (and released on 26 March 2020) on progression patterns of COVID-19 as applied to Zimbabwe. The study incorporates a range of factors including both general global patterns of progression and specific features applicable to less developed countries.

In the range of scenarios projected in the Imperial College study, over the next 250 days Zimbabwe is anticipated to experience: 

  • Between 8 370 104 and 13 981 038 infections; 
  • Between 14 943 and 33 073 deaths;
  • Requiring between 126 738 and 230 755 hospital beds;
  • Including between 19 810 and 43 864 critical care beds.

Although the primary intention of the scenario modelling in this study is to draw attention to the implications of prompt and appropriate intervention strategies, and whilst the study does not explicitly address broader contextual and impact issues, it does note that impact ‘is likely to be most severe in low-income settings where capacity is lowest… As a result, we anticipate that the true burden in low-income settings pursuing mitigation strategies could be substantially higher than reflected in these estimates.’

Whilst all such generic models are based on a series of assumptions, and, in this particular context, the data is approximate, for the purpose of a threat assessment the progression patterns of the disease provide a general indication of the health consequences that are likely to emerge. It is on the basis of this framing of the disease progression and health impact that this outline threat assessment is constructed.

Quite apart from the convoluted officialese used in this paper (why can’t they use simple English damnit?) I was heartily relieved when I remembered that Neil Ferguson and his Imperial College team originally estimated apocalyptic figures for deaths in Britain which he subsequently reduced to about two hundred and fifty thousand and then twenty thousand.

I do fear for my country because there is absolutely no possibility of ‘social distancing’ in Africa society, but any figures issued by this Twonk and his team have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Like most of the ‘experts’ being trundled out by the government every day, he hasn’t really got a clue.

I also read a report this morning on the worldwide death rate in the first three months of this year.

They are

Covid 19                                            :           46,438

Seasonal Flu                                     :           121,993

Malaria                                              :           246,121

Suicide                                               :           269,206

Traffic fatalities                               :           338,715

HIV/AIDS                                          :           421,808

Alcohol                                              :           627,571

Smoking                                            :           1,254,352

Cancer                                               :           2,060730

Hunger                                               :           2,806,314

Abortion                                            :           10,665,130

Makes you think, doesn’t it? These figures came from Lifeline Childrens’ Services and I know nothing about them but the figures sound correct and I am sure they can be verified if anyone has the time.

Back in Zimbabwe, Parliament is considering introducing birth control measures to address the ballooning elephant population in the country.

Zimbabwe has a total of about one hundred thousand elephants which authorities are struggling to manage. Selling the elephants is no longer viable due to the ban imposed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora – the idiotic CITES.

The suggestion to have birth control measures was made by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment, chaired by Concillia Chinanzvavana after considering a number of issues including the destruction of the environment by elephants. Part of the committee’s report reads:

Contraception is a method which can be used to control the explosive growth of the elephant population…

Contraception can slow down or stop an elephant population’s growth rate, though it does not actually reduce the number of elephants in already overpopulated areas such as Hwange National Park. Community leaders in Hwange are also complaining that they are not benefitting from wildlife proceeds.

Zimbabwe used to sell elephants to other countries including China and that was banned following protests by animal rights activists after reports of animal abuse.

Well, I can assure these esteemed politicians that birth control measures of various types have been tried on elephants through most of Southern Africa and are either prohibitively costly or just don’t work.

A far better scheme would be to apply birth control measures to the ever increasing human population in Zimbabwe. For all my scepticism about the Covid 19 bug, I am sure it is Nature’s way of trying to control the spread of humanity. If some control is not forced on people, the world will soon have a population of ten billion people.

There is not enough space for such a population and it seems inevitable that they will kill everything off before succumbing to starvation themselves.

And on that gloomy note, I am going outside to enjoy the sunshine – while I can!

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