In history, the great epidemics that wiped out national economies were almost all followed by numerous overthrows of the executives. The one at Covid-19 should be no exception to this rule, no matter how many deaths it may cause.
That is why political leaders around the world are making decisions that they know are unnecessary, just to show their fellow citizens that they have done everything in their power.
Social psychology shows that fear is not proportional to the danger, but to not being able to assess and control it.
When an unknown disease occurs and there is no telling how many men it will kill, Science tries to know about it by doubting everything. Politicians, on the other hand, have to make decisions without knowing more than researchers.
Some politicians therefore surround themselves with people who have advanced science in the past, appoint them as “experts” on what they do not yet know, and use them to say how much good they think of their policies. For them, the aim is not to save lives, but to act to guarantee their Power.
The media are trying to convince their fellow citizens that their own Executive has taken the same measures as the others and therefore cannot be accused of laxity. They obscure the debate by falsely claiming that 3 billion people are simultaneously confined for medical reasons. This is an amalgamation of very different situations and lies about their objectives.
The term “lockdown” is used today to refer as well:
Quarantine. That is to say the confinement in an airlock, usually a boat, by customs, until they are sure not to allow sources of disease to enter the country. This measure was invented by the Duke of Milan in 1374. This is what Japan did in February with the liner Diamond Princess.
A sanitary cordon. It is the isolation of a sick neighbouring country or a sick population group so that it does not transmit the disease to the rest of the population. Healthy people are then at risk of being infected by the sick. In the seventeenth century, Italy and Spain had the army isolate sick population groups, with orders to shoot on sight if individuals tried to leave. This is what China did with the population of Hubei.
The confinement of people at risk. It is the designation of a category of citizens as potentially sick and its prohibition to meet the rest of the population so that they cannot be infected, nor infect others. This is what France does, for example, by prohibiting entry into institutions for the elderly and residents from leaving them.
Assigning an entire population to house arrest without distinction. This measure was not required by infectious diseases doctors, but by statistical epidemiologists in order not to saturate hospitals with a massive influx of patients in a short period of time. It has no historical precedent.
Only measures to prevent a disease from infecting a territory have sometimes been successful, as in 1919 in the United States Samoa Islands, which effectively protected itself from the Spanish flu that ravaged New Zealand Samoa. However, closing a border is no longer worthwhile when the disease is already present.
However, measures to slow down an epidemic have never succeeded in lowering the mortality rate. Worse, by spreading the disease over time, they make the population vulnerable to a second and then a third wave of contamination, until a vaccine is made available on a massive scale and requires at least 18 months of preparation.
While populations that refuse to be placed under house arrest gradually acquire herd immunity that protects them during new waves of contamination. Contrary to the dominant discourse, current forms of confinement are therefore likely to increase the number of deaths considerably over time.
Since some countries do not practise these measures, such as South Korea or Sweden, it will be possible to compare the results when new waves of contamination occur. The hyper-precautionary policy of political leaders may then backfire.
Decline of civilization
It is not possible to live together if we are afraid of each other. Civilization cannot be based on mistrust. It is therefore, for example, not humanly acceptable to forbid accompanying sick people on their deathbed. We cannot accept being deprived of our freedom without good reason.
The European Convention on Human Rights of November 4, 1950, which was signed by all the states of the European continent from the United Kingdom to Russia, authorises “lawful detention of a person likely to spread a contagious disease” (Article 5e), not for the purpose of managing the influx of patients in hospitals.
The European Union Treaties raise the bar even higher by stating that the “right of movement of persons” is part of the EU’s identity. De facto, several member states have placed themselves outside this fundamental rule, starting the disintegration of the supranational state.
In the past, videoconferencing was used to bring together people who could not meet. Today they are used to prevent any physical contact between them. Some governments have chosen to turn citizens into enemies. In doing so, they deprive the state of legitimacy in their regard, since the state also becomes their enemy.
In France, the prefect of police in Paris, Didier Lallement, said that the people who are being resuscitated today are the same people who yesterday violated the confinement orders.
Already on another continent, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered his police to “shoot and kill” any citizen who tries to break the containment rules before changing his mind.
If everyone is aware of the exorbitant economic cost of current politics and if everyone discovers its destructive psychological impact on the weak, few people are aware of the political bill to come.
Ignorant of the new disease, medical and political authorities advocate placebo measures to keep the morale of their fellow citizens high.
In the seventeenth century, plague doctors wore a kind of suit made of linen, leather or waxed cloth and a mask with a long nose which allowed them to breathe through various fumigations of mint, camphor etc. Invented by the King of France’s physician, it spread throughout Europe.
Today some people also wear plastic or rubber suits against coronavirus with surgical masks. The wearing of these masks began for the general public during the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918 in Japan. People’s confidence was rebuilt by being dressed as Western surgeons. It gradually became established in Asia and spread to the rest of the world during the Covid-19 epidemic of 2020.
However, never before has the effectiveness of plague doctors’ suits or surgical suits and masks for all been proven against an epidemic.
Anyway, by recommending the use of the surgeon’s suit to protect oneself from the disease, the Chinese medical authorities, and then the political leaders of the world, are proposing a solution to a problem that no one can solve at present. The main thing is to act, not to prevent and even less to treat.
By Thierry MEYSSAN
First published by Psychiatric Times
The 21st Century
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 21cir.