Certainty in the Midst of Uncertainty

In times of crises, I put my faith in data. For that reason, I have spent the past week learning all I could about the Corona virus. Here is the sum of my knowledge, offered as a service to TOI readers. The mortality rate of the Corona virus is less than 1% and thus comparable to that of the flue. However, the mortality rate is also 3.4%, which is far higher than that of the flue. South Korea was able to contain the Corona virus by testing millions of citizens, which is the best national strategy as is conducting a minimal amount of ‘sample’ testing.

Social distancing is a necessary precaution so please stay inside. However, if you stay inside you are likely to become depressed and take your own life (Au revoir, mes amies). When leaving the house, if you are still alive, it is imperative that you were latex gloves. Yet take into account that wearing gloves is useless, as you will likely touch your face after opening your house door thus contracting Corona. Rest assured that the Corona virus is highly contagious and not contagious. You will also be happy to learn that Corona lingers on surfaces, such as tables and doorknobs, for a few minutes, an hour and several hours.

You are more likely to contract Corona from someone sneezing near you but people with Corona have no flue like symptoms and thus do not sneeze. Unless they do have flue like symptoms and they do sneeze. So watch out. Quarantines can help your country prevent mass hospitalizations. They are also the best way to drag the Corona crisis over several months decimating your country’s economy and bankrupting your pension.

I guess it was fun while it lasted.

On a somber note, your military’s involvement in combating Corona is a coup d’etat as well as an amazing display of national unity (clap for the troops at 8 o’clock). Your country is taking strong measures to combat Corona, yet these are the wrong measures. Biologists and Nobel laureates have assured me that Israel will have no more than 10 Corona related deaths, which is why we now have 38 Corona deaths.

The vast majority of the populations has already contracted Corona but does not present any symptoms (Thank god!). Similarly, the vast majority of the population has not contracted Corona so we must protect all of them. Alas, this is both a terrible global pandemic, and a minor event that will be over in two weeks. Doctors have stated that you should dedicate a pair of shoes to walking outside. It is important, and simultaneously unimportant that you leave said shoes outside your house. Thankfully, the figures presented by the Chinese government are accurate and false while China has spectacularly failed to curtail the Corona outbreak.

A word of assurance- Corona does not pose a threat to those under 40, yet people under 40 die of the Corona virus every day. Health clinicians suggest that you do, and do not, take zinc tablets and vitamin C.

Lastly, the Corona virus is spelled with a ‘C’. Of this, I am certain!

About the Author
Dr. Ilan Manor (PhD Oxford University) is a diplomacy scholar at Tel Aviv University. Manor's recent book, The Digitalization of Diplomacy, explores how digital technologies have reshaped diplomatic practices. Manor has contributed to several publications including The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz and the Jewish Daily Forward. According to his Twitter bio, Manor is the inventor of the ashtray. He blogs at
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