Speculating on the future

  1. Coronavirus

This is the first mention of this thing on this blog. I wonder how many more there will be? Will it all blow over and look like a lot of fuss about nothing, or not?

There have been about 2800 deaths from coronavirus worldwide so far, but that is likely to be an underestimate for a variety of reasons. In some sort of contextual comparison, 1800 people die on the UK roads each year. 2800 is bigger than 1800 but then the world is bigger than the UK’s roads, and a year is longer than the period over which coronavirus has been killing people.

I’d be surprised if this disease kills as many people in the UK this year as die on our roads, but I might well be wrong. I may look foolish in future, but if so it won’t be the first time, and I’ll look even more foolish if I am one of those to die (but then looking foolish won’t be my biggest concern).

Being dead won’t be the only way we might be affected though. Will our travel and holiday plans be affected, will guests to planned weddings be able to travel, will food supplies be affected, will the 6-Nations rugby and other sporting events be affected, will the UK be seen as a country that coped well with the challenge or one that dropped the ball badly, will our attitude to foreigners change?

Will the Bird Fair be unaffected? How about Hen Harrier Day?

2. Heathrow third runway

Did you let out a little whoop of joy when you heard that the appeal judges had said that a third runway would be illegal because of the Paris agreement on climate change? I did.

Will the Supreme Court hear the case and what will they think?

But, let’s imagine that the judgment sticks – what consequences? Will this or a future government consider doing a Trumpian back-out of climate change agreements? Will Boris revise his love of a Boris-island airport in the Thames and slash any remaining parts of the Birds and Habitats Directives to the ground in order to do it? What future infrastructure plans will be affected in similar ways in future?

Is this a turning point?


11 Replies to “Speculating on the future”

  1. Yes very good news, does this mean that the Northern Power House will need to come into play in order to accommodate all that development which would otherwise have taken place in the south east?

  2. The whole world is about to suffer thanks to a disease brought about by the illegal wildlife trade in China. Again. Can we hope this brings about some sort of change to Chinese attitudes and laws which will help wild animals in the future?

  3. The new Corona virus covid-19 will kill fewer people than influenza assuming the current 2.5% death rate continues. But its news, at a time when the government dont do BBC stuff and are trying to influence what we hear.

    Northern and midland airports are NOT running at capacity. HS2 could connect towns to Birmingham airport and maybe Manchester airport…… Not that we should be promoting increased flights but, if we did have to havemoreflying maybe we don’t needa London-centric hub?

    1. “The new Corona virus covid-19 will kill fewer people than influenza assuming the current 2.5% death rate continues.”
      True for now but the key words here are ‘new’ and ‘assuming’.They give no comfort. Moreover, a freely available, worldwide vaccine, seems to be a very long way off.

    2. Are you sure?
      I think the current death rate is 0.1%
      As i understand it, it is the contagion rate, how many people that one person will spread it to, which is about 2.5%

      Some interesting graphs
      This is from a couple of weeks ago

      We really need to panic. The only way to contain this is to act like China. If an outbreak like in Italy happens in Pakistan (it already has its first case) it isn’t hard to imagine what will happen.
      If Trump thinks he can lie his way out of this, reality might have other ideas.
      If refugees are treated badly now i can’t imagine what will happen when this gets worse.

  4. It’s a very important judgement and a stroke of good fortune that it’s on a subject on which makes Boris is happy not to appeal – because the principle is even more important than the substance. Heathrow have said they will appeal and though they obviously have standing the nature of the decsion makes it very odd that they should appeal whilst the government do not, and it’s hard to see them getting anywhere. Though with such matters one can never tell.

    Coronavirus is a bit like banking failure. If I lose my savings in a bank despite the government’s guarantee I will have more to worry about than losing my savings. Similarly if Coronavirus affects Birdfair or Hen Harrier Day I probably will have more to worry about than Coronavirus affecting Birdfair or Hen Harrier Day. But I don’t think it will.

  5. To compare with cars is interesting.
    Mark discussed the feasibility of introducing millions of alien game birds into the countryside to be killed for entertainment if it had never been thought of before. I think similarly about cars. I can’t believe that if someone came up with the idea today for the first time that it would be considered safe enough to introduce. As we are discussing fatalities putting the other negative factors aside.
    Surely sooner or later there will the ‘big one’ pandemic and it is just a question of when and if this is it. We are an expanding food source for viruses and we can’t keep on winning.
    The situation in the UK may not be a massive problem but even a moderate outbreak is going to be hard on the NHS and could be the last straw.
    But what is really scary is what could and what to me seems likely to happen is in the US which has no public health service to speak of and is in denial about the problem. Mike Pence in charge, that should go well. Africa is another minefield and today there was the first case in Nigeria. Indonesia is denying it has any cases at all.
    The virus has some frightening attributes. It can be spread by people who never show symptoms and it is often very hard to detect with tests. The incubation period is much longer than 2 weeks so there are a lot of carriers.
    I get news from

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