How Do We Measure Progress Against the Plague

By Paul JJ Payack


1. The Pandemic is a Plague.

2. Plagues exact a gruesome toll; plagues kill.

3. Plagues are relentless; plagues have destroyed nations; plagues have destroyed civilizations.

4. This is not the New Normal; this is The New Reality

5. And not only the present reality; this is also the reality for the foreseeable future.

6. The plague will end only when the population achieves ‘herd immunity’.

7. Herd Immunity is achieved when 60-70% of a given population has developed the antibodies needed for protection against the virus.

8. Herd Immunity from the Spanish Flu was achieved after some 50,000,000 to-100.000.000 had died. This is the downside to achieving herd immunity.

9. However, you can achieve Herd Immunity from a vaccine, but an effective vaccine will take (in total) years to develop, manufacture, and distribute across the globe. .

10. In history, most plagues have ended only after they had burned themselves out.


How to Measure Progress Against the Pandemic?

1. Stop judging the Pandemic minute-by-minute; it is not a spectator sport. There are no innings, no quarters, no time periods. Worse yet, there are no time outs.

2. There are no goal posts. There can be no last-minute heroics, because there is no last minute.Stop moving the goal posts. In January, GLM createed the CoronaVirus Calndar based upon data compiled by the Hong Kong Univesity of Science & Technology and the published in the Lancet, the prestigous UK medical journal. GLM extpolated those numbers forward. As you can see below, the numbers were (and continue to be) extremely frightening,

Projections based upon data from the HKUST and published in The Lancet (assumptions noted above.)

The actual numbers recorded by the Johns Hopkins University CSEE Covid-19 Resource Center Dashboard are 5.6 million ‘confirmed cases’ and some 350,000 ‘total deaths’ recorded as of this posting (May 27, 2020). The projections based upon the original Lancet/HKUST data were about 40 million cses worldwide with some 800,000 deaths.

Clearly something has changed: the R0 number indicating the rate of transmission, and the mortailty rate, indicating the percentage of confirmed cases that lead to death. Both of these numbers are significantly lower than original projections.

Can this be considered progress? How can one speak of progress amid a soaring (by any measure) death toll?  And the death toll will continue to mount, for weeks, months , and likely for years.

Blame, of course, will need to be assigned. This seems to be a human imperative. In History the assignment varies with the commonly perceived enemies.

Here are some of the Great Plagues in recent history (the last 2000 or so years).

1.  Antonine Plague (A.D. 165-180).  Marked the end of the 200 year-long Pax Romana, considered the height of the Roman Empire.  Named after (and killing) Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the plague wiped out up to 10% of the Empire’s population.  Hastened the rise of Christianity — and the ultimate fall of the Empire.  Most likely smallpox.

2.  The Plague of Justinian (A.D. 541-542).   The Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire was devestated by what was probably the bubonic plague, losing some 10% of it population.  The Plague of Justinian has been frequently cited as hastening the decline of the Byzantine Empire.

3. The Black Death (1346-53).   This is the Plague that is most frequently considered when the word plague come to mind.  The Black Death killed up to 50% of the population of Europe (and some 10% of the world’s), ended the feudal era, and hastened the rise of the Modern world, nation-states, and Capitalism.                                                                    

4.  New World Plagues.  (Post 1492 - ).  Arriving Europeans inadverantly brought with them a dozen or more disease never before encountered by Nativen Americans, including smallpox, bubonic  plague, tuberculosis, measles, typhoid, and scarlet fever, among others.  Nearly every tribe was affected, including the great Aztec and Inca civilizations resulting in tens of millos of deaths.  

5.  Spanish Flu (1918-1920).  An estimated 50 to 100 million died of the Spanish Flu, a misnomer, since the disease did not originate in Spain.   The Sp;anish Flu not only hastened the end of World War I, but also set the stage for the economic disruption that that enabled the rise of Fascism and National Socialism.

6.  AIDS (1920s -present).  An estimated 40,000,000 people have fallen to AIDS, the dealy virus developed from HIV (the human immunodeficiecy virus).


has ben publishing

1. Stop judging it minute-by-minute.



See CoronaGeddon: Words of the Pandemic You Need to Know

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Spread-of-Coronavirus-Jan-2020.jpg
The Early Stages of the Pandemic from The Lancet. with Data from HKUS&T

See The Coronavirus Calendar Here

The potential for a global pandemic of historic proportions was in plain sight for the administration, academia, and the global media to see in January and February.

Back in January, the Global Language Monitor, the data research company,  created a data model of the expansion of the newly discovered n-coronavirus in Wuhan, China.   (You can see this on the LanguageMonitor (dot) com site.)

The numbers were truly frightening, so frightening that I decided not to publish my findings until I could find a respected research study that mirrored my numbers and projections. I found one, published in The Lancet medical journal in the UK, that used data from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUS&T).   The Lancet created a number of graphics that illustrated the impending nightmare that you can see on our site.

The key to HKS&T’s data is that it assumes a much larger base to start from (rather than China’s official count). I then created the Coronavirus Calendar that I published about six or seven weeks ago, the main point of which was that the virus doubles every six days or so, with an infection rate of 2.63 with a mortality rate of about .02.  (The mortality rate has been a bit lower over the last few weeks but is actually higher in Iran and Italy.) GLM distributed this study to the worldwide media. 

Update: China Did Not Count 43,000 Asymptomatic Cases

Leave a Reply