Is there nothing this virus can't do?
Deerfield Testicle Festival On Hold
~Brexit meets Covid-19: Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator with the UK and a key obstructionist when it comes to Britain's attempts to "socially distance" itself from Brussels, has been stricken with coronavirus. So too has the pretender to the thrones of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Karl von Habsburg - as reported by the aptly named Kronen Zeitung. Like M Barnier, Herr von Habsburg is a "pan-European" but has the mitigating excuse of being the rightful Holy Roman Emperor.
~Comparisons of "numbers of cases" are almost as wall-to-wall bollocks as the Deerfield Testicle Festival. That's because those reporting the statistics are either liars (China, Iran) or too incompetent to test sufficient numbers of persons (the money-no-object wankers at America's wretched CDC). Michael Levitt, "an American-British-Israeli biophysicist who won the 2013 Nobel Prize for chemistry", adds a further caution:
Stressing that it is almost impossible to make comparisons country to country, because each government is taking a different approach to how they record cases, he said that, "South Korean tests are 10 times more sensitive than in Italy. If Italy measured cases like Korea, there would have been 10 times more cases."
Instead, the best way to evaluate the figures was through the number of deaths reported, he said.
I agree. As you know, at SteynOnline we've been tracking the daily death count reported by Italy every evening at 6pm Central European Time. When we started, Italy was Number Three on the Covid Hit Parade, but the top two were the "official" numbers as released by the Beijing Politburo and the Tehran ayatollahs, so we plumped for Rome as the first reasonably honest reporters on the chart. Since then, Italy has overtaken Iran to hit Number Two. Today it will pass China's official number and reach the top spot to make, as Paul Simon almost put it, Romie the Queen of Corona. That's to say (and ignoring the fact that Beijing's figure is a lie), Italy, a nation of sixty million people, will have had as many Covid-19 deaths as China, a nation of a billion-and-a-half - all thanks to an evil regime and its vile propaganda.
In recent days I have tried to explain on TV and radio that, proportionately, Italy has suffered the equivalent of two, three, four 9/11s. But apparently listeners and viewers find it hard to grasp the concept of deaths per capita. So the good news is they no longer need to. Italy, with a fifth of America's population, has suffered as great a calamity:
United States, 9/11 - 2,977
Italy, Coronavirus - 2,978
For a few days, there was some modest hope that the death curve might be flattening, albeit at the grim toll of 350 or so per diem. That hope was ended yesterday when the death count resumed its climb upwards:
March 1st - 5
March 4th - 28
March 7th - 36
March 10th - 168
March 13th - 250
March 16th - 349
March 18th - 475
We will bring you today's toll right here when it is released shortly after 1pm North American Eastern Time/5pm GMT.
UPDATE: Today the total of Italy's deaths (3,405) from Politburovirus surpassed China's official number (3,245):
March 19th - 427
A national tragedy is unfolding in Italy. Meanwhile, China has no new domestic infections and has re-opened Wuhan. Having successfully exported it to every other country, they're now the only nation without it. Hmm, that couldn't have gone any better had they planned it...
~America's sports arenas, theatres, multiplexes, shopping malls, bars and restaurants might be closed, but at one business it's business as usual:
SPLC Releases Fear-Mongering 'Hate Map' Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
You'd think, given their #MeToo problems, they'd just hunker down and grope the interns for the duration.
~In support of some of the livelier Internet rumors, actor Idris Elba, heavily favored to be "the first black Bond", now says he got the virus from Justin Trudeau's missus.
~The who-got-it-from-whom shtick always reminds me of this syphilitic round from Candide, music by Leonard Bernstein, words by John LaTouche, sung by Pangloss:
Oh my darling Paquette
She is haunting me yet
With a dear souvenir
I shall never forget:
'Twas a gift that she got
From a sea-faring Scot
He received, he believed
In a shallot
In a shallot from his dame
Who was certain it came
With a kiss from a Swiss
She'd forgotten his name
But he told her that he
Had been given it free
From a sweet little cheat in Paree
Then a man from Japan
Then a moor from Iran
Though the moor isn't sure
Where the whole thing began
But the gift you can see
Had a long pedigree
When at last it was passed
On to me!
~If the above jollity is too mordant for you, there are more straightforward musical pleasures to be had in this week's live-performance video edition of our Song of the Week: "Avalon", a hundred-year-old song from the bizarre combination of Al Jolson and Giacomo Puccini (with a tip of the hat to Vladimir Putin) and given a vigorous workout by two of my favorite guests, singer/pianist Carol Welsman and guitarist Russell Malone, with the Steyn Show band.
When she was on our Christmas show, Carol was talking backstage with another of my Yuletide guests, Randy Bachman of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and Randy happened to mention a song of his he thought would be just right for Carol. I'm delighted to say it will now be a track on her forthcoming CD. For the first time, Carol is launching the album through Kickstarter, and there are still a few opportunities left to attend the recording sessions in Toronto and Los Angeles (once the quarantine is lifted and the US/Canadian border reopens), or get an autographed CD and other goodies. For more information, please click here.
~Members of The Mark Steyn Club are welcome to weigh in with their comments on any of the above. I'll be back here to take your questions tomorrow afternoon, Friday, on our latest Clubland Q&A, and on Saturday we'll be commencing a brand new Tale for Our Time.