Sunday, August 03, 2014

Number crunching

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "ebola" 

A couple of weeks ago a small group of rare tourists cancelled their visit to Mali and Hotel Djenné Djenno because of the Ebola (which has not yet arrived in Mali). Ebola has been billed as the most lethal and feared of all contagious diseases over the last few decades. Granted, it is said to  kill almost 90% of its victims, and there is no known cure.  However, forgive me and please attack me if you feel the need, but  I am not too impressed. It does not quite live up to its reputation, alhamdilullah. After its first first outbreak in the former Zaire in 1976 when it killed 280 people, the current outbreak which begun in Guinea about 6 months ago and which has spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone is the worst ever and it has claimed 727 deaths  out of 1300 victims (therefore certainly not 90%) . An American doctor has been evacuated to the US with the disease, (why?!) he is apparently still doing fine and walked himself off the plane.
Now, come on, let’s get a grip. This is a nasty disease, I will admit. But in 1348-1350 about a third of the population of Europe died in the Black Death, a killer which returned over and over again: 30-50 000 people died in the Plague of Algiers in 1620-21. In 1656 150 000 people died in Naples and in The Great Plague of Moscow in 1771 between 50 000 and 100 000 people died. So, 727 deaths over a large area of West Africa in 6 months is hardly even worse than the death toll of cholera in the region in the same period, I hazard a guess. And these deaths from Ebola is dwarfed by the continuing death toll of malaria in this region. My friend Ann still lives in Conakry, Guinea with her children to her credit, she just makes sure they are washing their hands.

And on another number crunching matter while we’re at it (although totally unrelated) : in the last few weeks 1800 Palestinians have died, while 67 Israeli lives have been claimed. 1 Israeli=25 Palestinians if my my rudimentary maths don’t deceive me


Blogger Laurent said...

I agree with you, the media is making a storm out of this story. I remember living in China when Chicken Flu hit a few years ago. There was no panic by the Chinese authorities and our own Canadian doctor explained how the disease was spread and clearly we were not at risk. But I still had colleagues throwing out frozen chicken from their freezers. Our doctor told them that indeed a frozen chicken could be lethal if you whacked someone on the head with it. We need crisis for the Media to feel important. At the same time as you point out, the Media is playing down what is happening in Gaza for fear of being called anti-Semite.

2:25 AM  
Blogger toubab said...

Hear hear Laurent! That ridiculous Chicken flu that was billed to kill us all!
And as far as the current Gaza situation: as soon as I saw those three Israeli coffins draped in the Israeli flag on the international news media , carrying those unfortunate three young Hamas(?)victims, I knew it was the beginning of an orgy of revenge. But the Israelis should perhaps look at their religious laws for some guidance? It says an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, if I am not mistaken? Here -using my brilliant grasp of maths once more- we have a case of 25 teeth for a tooth and 50 eyes for two!

10:16 AM  

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