Self-criticism and savagery of the Covid

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It was one of those Balearic governments Covid posters. Blu-tacked inside an elevator, it was offering a reminder on “levels” – number four and the risk is “extreme”. I looked at it long enough to realize it didn’t make much sense anymore.

There was a time when 1impact over 4 days above 250 (which is referred to as “extreme” risk; it always is) and the corresponding restrictions due to risk made some sense. But now? God knows what classification should apply to the municipality of Ibiza. How do you define ten times the base rate of extremes?

Ibiza has been above 2,500 for days. On Tuesday, twenty-two of the 67 municipalities of the Balearic Islands were at least three times the extreme base. Only four were not extreme, and two of them were zeros – Deya and Escorca.

They aren’t entirely meaningless, but daily data – up, down, round and round – is now part of the routine. They are like the weather forecast. “There will be a maximum of 36C in Calvia, and the high incidence is 1336.3. Good day.“The Aemet issues its temperature alerts, and public health gives advice in the event of high temperatures.

But where, public health, is Covid risk advice? At this level of incidence, shouldn’t Calvia bathers be equipped with full PPE equipment? As for Ibiza – cordoned off and army tanks deployed.

The Covid and Covid data seem to accompany us for a lifetime, but it was not until the end of last October that a perimeter closure of Manacor is decreed. There was an incidence of 458. Look at Manacor now – 1017.4 and in the same extreme boat as Ibiza or Deya. Zero Deya may be (maybe; it isn’t anymore), but it’s Mallorca, and Mallorca is 3.5 times the extreme base.

The incidence levels are wild. Much wilder than Manacor was once and when Manacor was placed in some form of containment. The citizens of this city are now perfectly free to come and go, having only to be aware of not meeting socially with non-cohabitants between 1 and 6 a.m. – like everyone else, whether they are in Deya or Ibiza.

The vaccination has of course led to a change of approach as has the vague notion of living with the Covid. This life with the virus means these wild numbers no longer have the meaning they once had. We have acquired a Covid immunity not to be intimidated by the extreme numbers and the extreme risk they represent, this is what the poster on the levels seeks to remind us. Where do we have?

The politicians of Mallorca have a dictionary of speech which is limited to a few essential entries. One of them is self-criticism. Particularly popular in recent months, the path to righteousness is heralded in the debate, and so commitments there is self-criticism, except when it is felt to be unnecessary; the handling of the Spanish student case is one example.

Opposition parties demand that governments (regional and national) be self-critical. Governments hear these demands, or say they do, or anticipate them by promising self-criticism (unless they prefer not to). Individual parts suffering from internal torments admit the need to be self-critical: the disastrous Ciudadanos and the implosion of El Pi, for example.

Such self-criticism – more evoked than real, we suspect – rarely goes beyond the walls of an internal political sanctuary. If so, then you never hear about it. Sports teams will certainly engage in self-criticism, it has become part of their culture, but who else? The media?

A recent opinion piece refers to self-criticism. It was in the Preferente travel publication. The need for self-criticism, it was argued, was due to lies in the context of data regarding Covid and tourism developments. But by lies, what this piece really meant was the propensity to exaggerate; play on the savagery of the numbers. Unless you think Covid is some kind of big scam, thus making all data a lie, the data is fact. But it’s how you deal with the facts that is important. This was the point that was made.

This article said that there is a fact “that we should all clarify, including the health authorities, because … the number of cases (Covid) usually hardly mean anything”. This contrasts with when ten percent of infections resulted in hospitalizations and deaths, and therefore when Manacor could have been taken into custody and is not now.

No, the cases are not totally meaningless, but I get the point all the same. This is precisely why I can look at a government poster on levels and wonder what it is for now. There is a madness of numbers and a consequent savagery of their reports, just as there may be tourism developments, such as with large increases (or decreases) in the fat percentage of the Blinding variety, thanks to the distortions caused by Covid.


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