By Silas Gisiora Nyanchwani
When I lived in America briefly, the most commonest word (double superlative on purpose), was “Sorry”. And the commonest phrase was, ‘I don’t know’.
The four words nearly go together, ‘I don’t know, sorry.’
It can be annoying if you come from Africa where there is an explanation for everything. And especially every death. A woman loses her husband, she killed him. A young man dies in the village, he was bewitched. A girl gets a promotion in office, she sleeps with the boss. You become rich from your hustle, you belong to a cult and that is why your mother died. President or some public personality doesn’t make a public appearance for 48 hours, he is sick, with enough blogs to talk about a mysterious ambulance call at the Nairobi Hospital. Then the personality shows up in a public function looking healthy as a bull and we are embarassed and we wait for the next thing to explain.
But in America, people always ‘ don’t know’ and sometimes your doubt if they are telling you the truth. Part of the reason, nobody wants to be misquoted, because you can be sued…he he.
But I write this because there is information overload about CoronaVirus, and annoyingly enough even from mainstream media is full of apocalyptic stuff. Talk about vaccines, opening up the economy, how long will it take to eradicate the virus, shall we ever be back to normal? What normal? Everything. And honestly guys are confused because they don’t know where the June rent will come from. And governments are fumbling, because for the first time, they have a problem, they can’t buy off MPs and Thought Leaders to solve.
Now everyone has become an expert. And here is where we all should adopt that American phrase, ‘I don’t know’. And chill.
One of the best books I read in the last decade was Black Swan by Nassim Taleb. The whole point of the book is the idiocy of trying to over-explain things after the fact.
Presently, there are so many analyses of the unraveling tragedy. If you read the leftist media, you easily can give up. The virus has coincided with the worst bunch of leaders leading the free world(Britain and America). The men are hated by the know-it-all people on the left. It hasn’t helped that the men have made categorical blunders that are inexcusable. But often you wish to see how Obama would have talked a good game out of this crisis(I would take Obama, because, Trump has the audacity to talk about how TV ratings have gone up because of his updates). Or Corbyn. Because for people on the Left, everything has an instant and easy solution that only them can provide, or if we all cycle to work and have a cabinet with more women.
According to New York Times, Guardian(UK), Washington Post the world is ending. Brace yourself.
Anyway, yesterday, I saw a photo of Bill Gates reading a book called What If by Randal Munroe. Book came out in 2014. Naturally, I was curious and I got the book. It is a book of hypothetical questions. Naturally I went to the chapter in Common Colds.
And their a girl named Sarah asks, “If everyone on the planet stayed away from each other for a couple of weeks, wouldn’t the common cold be wiped out?”
Yes it is possible. But not practical. Because, to stay away from each other means we all must have food. But that means grinding the world economy to a halt, presently hovering around $80 trillion dollars. And then to spread out everyone, with 7 billion on the planet, we need to be like 77 metres apart, if we were to be evenly distributed. But some places like Sahara Desert you may sink in sand, so it is not possible. But if we succeed there is a catch.
Everyone will need a perfect immune system. Which sadly is not possible because people who had transplants and the elderly don’t have perfect immune systems. And they will still carry the virus. With a good immune system, you eliminate the virus with ten days.
Total elimination of a virus is possible for isolated populations, say in an island. I have written about the Sentinelese. A small Indian tribe in an island. They are untouched for over 1,000 years. Part of the reason the Indian government does not allow visitors to the island(besides the fact that they will kill you) is that they may not have immunity to some of the disease that we carry and can easily be wiped out.
Lastly, did you know that the common cold is caused by Rhinoviruses. And they have different strains. Basically every time you get a common cold, it is a different strains because once your body eliminates the virus, it develops immunity for that specific virus until another strain strikes. And you infect at least one person…
Have an educative week.
Hoping that we will flatten the curve against all the expectations.