Categories
Business POLITICS

Greece using Covid19 to leapfrog ahead!

This is no conspiracy theory. The Greek government has done an admirable job handling the pandemic. To be honest, it was much easier than others. We have no economy. Sending everyone home when half the population isn’t working anyway is no big decision. Taking an aggressive approach when your economy depends largely on tourism is also an easy choice. If we manage to salvage July and August on the Greek islands it will be a major victory. Leaders of countries with actual working economies that produce something had a much harder job. Sure Trump and Boris Johnson are inept, but we should not disregard how much harder it is to make any decision when there are billions riding on it.

Here in Greece it was easy to stop schools. We have a terrible educational system run by civil servants who do their best not to work or be evaluated. Not much difference if they close. In England it could cripple many companies when parents have to stay at home. Here it is easy for most people. Same with our enormous civil sector. Nobody misses the paper pushers when they are gone.

Some years ago, when my kids still thought I knew the answer to everything, they asked me what I would do if I became prime minister. (Because it was so obvious that I was the wisest man in the world!) I didn’t have to think much, the answer was obvious: “I would force everyone to get on a single IT system for everything.” This would solve most of our woes, from the black economy, to corruption.

And voila!

We now have most of the population at home. Online most of the time. How will they return to work when this is all over? They won’t! Our Prime minister used to be minister of Interior. He had a thing about organizing the civil service better. Here is how he will do it: What we will do is ask them, under the pretense of health and safety, to work online. Civil servants in Greece have managed to avoid using computers. About two decades ago some minister tried to make it compulsory for them to use email. He failed. They still don’t. But they could now!

These civil servants are all being paid full salaries and bonuses even though they are at home. So you could easily ask them to start signing in on a computerized system. Next step would be to get them to monitor some simple procedure, much as they would stamp approval on paper in their offices. Then more procedures on the same electronic platform. “Hey, we are paying you, it is dangerous to go back to the office, this is the only way!” It is not hard to imagine the entire civil service being restructured in less than a year like this. And the best part is that whoever can’t or won’t join the digital revolution will be self exiling themselves.

I am optimistic I know. My kids tell me that too now that they are older.

Categories
Health

How come flight attendants don’t get the virus?

My partner works for a major airline. They have tens of thousands of people that come into contact with travellers every day. Here are some aspects of flight attendants in particular that make them worthy of being examined for possible clues about the new coronavirus:

1. It is impossible for a flight attendant (FA) to lie about being ill. They are a fairly unique professional group. For most of us if we feel unhealthy, it is just an excuse at work or an email from home and we disappear off the grid. I could be writing this while burning with a fever and you would be none the wiser. FAs are in very public scrutiny for many hours before and after every flight. The FAs flying to and from China since last November when this outbreak begun were at the airport many hours before and after flights and had to go through a number of check points. If one was burning with fever they would have been flagged.

2. It is also impossible for a FA to be ill with this coronavirus and all their colleagues not to know about it. They are a tight knit bunch with intense social media (chat groups) to solve every day issues. Even on their Facebook groups they often post about minor medical issues. Especially for American based FAs it is completely impossible that one would have coronavirus symptoms and at least 5-6 people would not be instantly alerted.

So for starters it is a group of people that is impossible to under report. It is also a pretty large sample size. Let’s look at their daily grind for clues:

1. They are in close proximity to 100-200 people in every flight for many hours.

2. Before the outbreak they wore no gloves or protective equipment.

3. Airplanes have no particularly special air filtration systems (for viruses).

4. Airplanes are stationary, full of people and FAs for several hours in total, often without air conditioning working at zero altitude. (In case you had some theory about cosmic rays killing corona virus.) So even if a pressurized cabin impedes the circulation of water vapour it isn’t always pressurized.

If someone more expert than me on air travel thinks about it, there are probably a dozen more factors like the above. And someone more expert than me should really look into the fact that so far only one flight attendant has contracted coronavirus. Maybe there are valuable clues in this (pretty large) sample of professionals for a fast solution to what needs to be done.

(In terms of cases of flight attendants with coronavirus, at the time of writing I can find only two. One Korean and one Japan Air.)

Categories
Society

Major scientific breakthrough on the virus from Greece

Did you know that contact with silver kills the coronavirus? In fact, according to most Greek priests, it kills all strands of the virus, even the new ones, even the ones we don’t know much about yet. Because the spoons used in communion are silver. 1+1=101

In case you haven’t visited a Greek church, Holy communion here is not like the rest of the world. We don’t do a wafer, biscuit or whatever else would make sense. No, Orthodox Christians in Greece share a spoon and drink from the same cup! And if you think that is ludicrous, wait until you hear the excuses they give for this. They range from “Christ kills all evil contained in communion” to “it is the alcohol in communion that saves us.” Fifty, a hundred or more people, gather on Sundays and basically exchange saliva based on the belief that this is an on-demand miracle, much like the spontaneous combustion every year in Jerusalem that gives us the fire to light our Easter candles.

For Greeks this is normal. The Greek Orthodox Church pretty much controls the Justice system and government. Greek schools teach more of what the church demands than most other topics. They own enormous parts of the country, prime real estate in central locations and of course an entire peninsula which in direct contrast to every single rational argument remains only for men. The President of Greece, now a woman, can not visit a part of the country because …well, because the church says so.

It is, of course, the right of every human to believe whatever they like. But in terms of public health, such irresponsible behavior that flies directly in the face of all available scientific knowledge is truly and monumentally criminal. The only miracle in this whole ridiculous farse is that the World Health Organization hasn’t intervened.

The image is from a preposterous article explaining away various cases

(Image link https://www.vimaorthodoxias.gr/peri-zois/i-theia-koinonia-se-eidikes-periptoseis/ )