Mass hysteria: Coronavirus, Ronaldinho and Locust
I'll start with the coronavirus. Although it's difficult, because everyone writes about it, writes a lot, writes pessimistically, tragically, with a touch of doom and mysticism. The number of cases in Russia is gradually growing. There are reports of new cases coming either from one Russian region, from another, or from the third one. Fortunately, these are isolated cases. But reports from the regions subtly resemble Soviet reports from collective farm fields. There can be seen a certain desire to keep up - since they have it here and there, it should be here as well.
Among the post-Soviet countries, it seems that the most saddest situation is in Georgia. Fifteen infected patients - all local citizens. Two of them arrived from Iran, the others are somehow connected with Italy. And thanks to the Lugar Lab, which develops biological weapons, as Russia periodically suspects, they established that, if those who came from Iran were excluded, then others were infected by one person who had been in Italy. According to Georgian sources, he acted like a real saboteur. When he felt sick upon returning from Italy, instead of surrendering to the infectious disease specialists and starting treatment, he went to work, arranged several meetings, and only on the second or third day turned to doctors. Now, doctors, in addition to their main responsibilities, also have to act as detectives - tracking down those with whom this "Italian" was or could be in contact. Each newsletter in Georgia is accompanied by a reminder to wash hands often, practise proper hygiene, avoid crowds and stop kissing hello - a greeting popular in Georgia among all genders and ages. The Ministry of Economy states with sadness: the tourist season seems to have collapsed, many hotels are on the verge of ruin.
However, it seems that the sad palm of coronavirus in the post-Soviet space is about to move from Georgia to Moldova. The thing is that 10% of the republic's population works in Italy. Migrant workers return home for Easter. According to local sources, 400 people come daily. One bus with Moldovans was stopped in Romania and put into quarantine. But it's just one. The rest are on their way. Others get by air. The Moldovan authorities have already announced that they will let in their citizens, but foreigners won't be allowed. But what is the use of it? There haven't been crowds of Italian citizens rushing to Moldova.
There is information about some scientists' conclusion - they say, one should not hope that the coronavirus will decline on autopilot. It's not clear on what this conclusion is based. Because this is exactly what is slowly happening in China. What cannot be said, for example, about Iran. There, even major officials fell ill, and in general the percentage of those infected with coronavirus was completely merciless. A clever doctor working in Los Angeles, a former classmate of mine, told me: the thing is that they don't disclose how they draw the per cent of those who become ill. That is, in Korea, for example, the entire population can be tested for coronavirus - their level of medicine allows this, and it has the minimum percentage of cases. And in Iran, it seems, everyone who is sick is checked for coronavirus, and, accordingly, the percentage is high. If you approach the issue objectively, he said, then the coronavirus is not more dangerous than other flu, the mortality rate is lower, of course, it is unpleasant and dangerous, but all the hype looks artificial. Therefore, he said said that the economy will suffer most - someone needed it.
Here it’s time to remember about oil, Saudi Arabia's move, the depreciation of the ruble and other currencies tied to the black gold price. The global economy has been shocked. Stock prices are dropping. Exchanges are in a fever. Some instantly lose millions, others rapidly earn hundreds of thousands. It's like a mass hysteria. For example, in Afghanistan two presidents held parallel presidential inaugurations.
But that's Afghanistan. Many things are not always clear there. Even who is fighting with whom, for what, for whom, or against whom. But here is another kind of craziness: famous Ronaldinho was caught in Paraguay and jailed. The Brazilian came to Paraguay with a fake Paraguayan passport. Yes, those eternally smiling Ronaldinho. It is doubly unclear why Ronaldinho, whose face is well-known even in non-football countries without any passport, went to Paraguay with a fake Paraguayan passport and even showed it at the border crossing point. Because, according to a bilateral agreement, one can travel from Brazil to Paraguay and from Paraguay to Brazil without passports. It's also not clear why the Paraguayan police needed to put a recent football megastar into a jail, because there is no article punishing this misconduct. But they put him in a jail, and plan to keep him there for now.
Let's put the Ronaldinho situation aside. The hysteria is loud, symbolic, but still local in nature. And from the global ones — in addition to the coronavirus, hordes of locusts will destroy crops and everything they could eat, so humanity will die out of hunger. And not just someday, but this spring - summer. That was reported by National Geographic? which is a serious publication.
Due to an unprecedented invasion of locusts the world will face hunger and new refugees, the publication predicts. The consequences of the disaster will be felt by every tenth person. The number of gluttonous disgusting insects is growing at a fantastic speed. They are eating out the spaces from Tanzania and Somalia to Pakistan and China, which is struggling to hold back (sic!) the coronavirus outbreak. They use aerial spraying, but poisons are not very useful for killing locusts - there is a lot of it. Scientists attribute an unprecedented increase in the number of insects to global climate change.
National Geographic describe the coming apocalypse vividly with the reminder that a single swarm can contain up to 1,5-10 billion locusts. They can cover from 100 to 200 kilometers in a day, destroying any vegetation, and leaving a void behind . A swarm covering one square kilometer contains 40 million locusts that can eat the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.
"If the billions of locusts are left unchecked, their consumption could increase 500 times by June," the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said in a statement. According to it, the last dramatic increase in the number of locusts was recorded in West Africa in 2003-2005, and the damage caused by it was estimated at $2.5 billion. Now the situation is many times worse.
At least half of the countries with the locust upsurge export important agricultural products - wheat, peanuts, cotton - all over the world on an industrial scale. These shipments may drop sharply or even disappear. The other half of these countries is already covered by various wars or socio-political conflicts. The locust invasion in places where the population density is huge, with most of it living in poverty, leads to mass deaths, new wars and, in general, to a humanitarian catastrophe ...
It's kinda a fun year. A leap one.