Article 16: What We Knew About Pandemics And Could Have Applied To The Covid-19 Virus.
This article applies my definitive differentiation of the knowledge/belief dichotomy which arose from my recognition that our imaginations are stimulated by our sense-perceptions of reality to beliefs concerning it; that these beliefs are validated or refuted to positive or negative knowledge of reality only by evaluating their consistency or inconsistency with it by further direct observation or by designed experimentation as to their cause-effect relationship with it; that this reality-evaluation of cause and effect first gave arise to our craftsmanship and later to our science; and that the absence of this reality-evaluation of cause-effect relationships is the source of pseudoscience which thus remains belief pretending to be knowledge, its cause-effect parameters having been arbitrarily selected to suit the initiating belief of the pseudo-scientist. Thus, I conclude that nothing can be known without belief being reality-validated or reality-refuted as I advocate in my third book (2010) and in this website; and that consequently nothing useful can be achieved without government policy being based on cause-effect knowledge rather than on belief or at least on the recognition that such knowledge is unavailable and ought to be acquired as soon as possible by my definitive reality-evaluation of belief as hypothesis.
However, despite my definitive knowledge/belief differentiation having been published in 2010, it has been ignored as in the leading article of the Spectator of 13/6/20 which describes ‘the science’ relied on by government as being ‘as divided as are politicians and the general public on how to tackle Covid-19’. Thus, as with all media articles, it fails to recognise that science by definition is never divided other than with respect to hypotheses recognised as such; that these are resolved by being reality-evaluated to definitive, conclusive and non-disputable cause-effect knowledge; and that while this knowledge can be enhanced and expanded by reality-evaluation of successive hypotheses either by direct observation or by cause-effect experimentation, it can never be refuted or rationally disputed, whereas politics is the definitive realm of disputed belief/counter-belief and of opinion/counter-opinion, the latter being merely the former supported by partially selected facts/counter-facts, evidence/counter-evidence and news/false-news, no set of which ever amounts to conclusive, debate-terminating, knowledge.
So, in light of the foregoing, what do we know about pandemics in general? Well, for a start, we know from the historical record that no disease has ever infected and killed all of an exposed population; that no pandemic has thus far killed the global population; that if it had, we would not be here now; that while the Spanish flu killed more than were killed in the preceding world war, even the Black Death was unable to kill all of the exposed populations; and that some individuals have always had some level of innate resistance to new infections. As to the current Covid-19 pandemic, we know from what we have been told that infection levels in the captive environments of cruise-ships appear to have been limited to 20-25% of these populations, despite the passengers presenting a higher proportion of the less-resistant elderly than they do in the population at large; that the elderly are most prone to Covid-19 infection; that the proportion of this subgroup in cruise-ships is likely to be higher than in the population at large; that children seem to be largely free of symptoms; and that recent claims suggest that, overall, the number carrying the virus may be 10 times the number registered as having had it.
As to our previous social response to the need for infection-control, we know that in pre-NHS times we had isolation hospitals for the infected; that the NHS has no such provision; that to free its beds for increasing numbers of Covid-19 patients, it discharged the elderly back to care-homes without ensuring that they were not virus-carriers; that instead of containing the virus the NHS became a spreader of it; that, in addition, the government itself became a spreader by failing to provide its NHS staff with adequate supplies of PPE; and that one way or another the government and the NHS became virus-spreaders rather than virus-containers. Indeed, it has been reported that where separate staff-teams were established for Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients, these teams were interchanged weekly.
Again, the incapacity of the government and its self-styled scientists to mount an adequate sampling and analysis system resulted in their inability acquire knowledge as to the infectivity of the virus. Such a system could have determined the percentages of population samples which were carrying the virus with or without symptoms, which had recovered from infection without reporting it, and which had not yet been infected for a constant number individuals (e.g. 10,000 in each sample) within areas of the country selected on their differing population densities and differing economic activities. Such an approach would have provided knowledge of infection levels, spreading rates and intensities of transmission as time passed, instead of, or in addition to, their current collection of national daily rates of reported cases and deaths from which little or no actionable knowledge is acquirable. 26/6/20.