DailyOh! What's the recovery rate for coronavirus patients to why Nero couldn't fiddle while Rome burnt

DailyBiteMar 12, 2020 | 18:45

DailyOh! What's the recovery rate for coronavirus patients to why Nero couldn't fiddle while Rome burnt

China declares that the peak of the coronavirus is over but why the threat for the rest of the world has risen.


The coronavirus, it seems, has taken over everything else that the world was concerned with. Now, we know there is no world collective that together gets concerned about something or becomes indifferent to something else. We just said it as a way of saying it. But let’s not digress; let’s focus on the virus and its spread.

India, you must have heard, has cancelled all visas except diplomatic and job visas. Other countries are also doing whatever they can to protect their citizens.


New York has cancelled the St Patrick’s Day parade for the first time in its 258-year history because of Covid-19. The New York parade is the second biggest one after Dublin. Never heard of St Patrick or St Patrick’s Day parade? Never mind. The parade is held every March 17 to mark St Patrick’s death anniversary.

St Patrick’s Day parade in New York, in 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

St Patrick was a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Early medieval traditions credited him with being the founder of Christianity in Ireland. Later, it was found that Christianity had found its way into Ireland before St Patrick but he continued to be regarded as such. We are fine with that because, quite frankly, who are we to not be fine with that.

Anyway, legend has it that St Patrick drove away all the snakes from Ireland. Where did he leave them? In the sea. Now, we are not fine with that legend because Ireland, to begin with, never had any snakes. The reason why snakes don’t like Ireland is because it is an island. The Irish sea is over 50 miles wide so it is difficult for any land animal to undertake such a long swim. What about sea snakes, you may ask. Well, sea snakes tend to like warmer waters, which the frigid Atlantic doesn’t provide.


Now, we got talking about the likes and dislikes of snakes because we were talking about St Patrick whose death anniversary this year won’t see the ritual parade held in New York because of the coronavirus.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the disease outbreak a pandemic, which means Covid-19 is international and out of control. And since large parts of the world are taking note, pandemic is our Word Of The Day.

China’s National Health Commission has declared that the peak of the coronavirus is over, but that is only for China, where it all began. For the rest of the world, the disease is spreading, with newer cases being reported every day. A disease is considered pandemic only when it is ‘sustained’ in some of the newly affected regions through local transmission.

The word pandemic comes from the Greek ‘pan’ meaning ‘all’ and ‘demos’ meaning ‘people or population’. Pandemos meant all the people. A pandemic affects all (nearly all) of the people. So is it time for us to switch the panic button?

Not before you have read this. The devil, they say, is in the detail. But this devil could be to our liking. While the world is busy counting the number of people who have been tested positive, very few are talking about the rate of recovery.


According to China’s National Health Commission, of more than 80,000 confirmed cases in the country over 60,000 have recovered. That is a success rate of 70 per cent. John Hopkins University has estimated that of all the 126,136 global cases, 68,219 people have recovered and gone back home. This again is a success rate of over 50 per cent.

And if you don’t trust John Hopkins, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead of the WHO’s health emergencies programme, has also said that 80 per cent coronavirus patients will recover. But that doesn’t mean you take the disease for granted. Take all precautions that you are being advised to take. Don’t take advises from all and sundry though. Trust experts.

Prince Charles seems to have taken some advice on precautions for sure. Did you see the video where he ditched the handshake for namaste?

Talking of Charles, did you know that the heir apparent to the British throne has a car that runs of wine? If you are an alcohol lover in Bihar and reading this, please know we totally get your pain.

The Prince of Wales’s Aston Martin Volante runs on wine totally because Charles likes to keep it environment friendly. He has apparently had the car since he was 21 (he is 71 now). Imagine the amount of petrol/diesel he has saved. Okay, you can imagine the amount of wine he has wasted as well. Actually, it wasn’t wasted because it was anyways going to be wasted. This wine is actually surplus stuff bought from vineyards.

Since we are talking of alcohol and Prince Charles we are reminded of this really funny incident when Prince Charles sent a bottle of Scotch to singer, song writer and actor Ozzy Osbourne as a get well soon gift. We say, it is one of the best gifts to gift someone. But it is the worst gift for someone recovering from alcoholism. Yes, Ozzy was a recovering alcoholic when he got the gift. Lols to that.

There is so much talk around the coronavirus that there is hardly any talk about other subjects. Indian Parliament, however, is also talking about the riots that hit Delhi in February. For the second day today, parliamentarians debated the issue.

Yesterday, Home Minister Amit Shah briefed Lok Sabha about the steps the government is taking to bring the guilty to justice. He, of course, also blamed the opposition for stoking the riots but we are not getting into that. Shah said the government is using technology to nab rioters because technology “doesn’t discriminate between people”.

So, the investigators are using facial recognition softwares to identify the people who killed others and set fire to public property. Good to hear that technology is being used in this way.

Now, facial recognition over the past decade or so has gained traction in a big way to control crimes and nab criminals. In China, surprisingly, it is also used to stop the theft of toilet paper. And this was happening even before the coronavirus began to spread.

A lot many people believe in picking up toilet rolls from public toilets. Probably because they find them in abundance and assume there is a surplus. In China, toilet paper theft is a particularly big problem. We do not know why exactly.

What we do know is that China has installed machines in public restrooms that scan people’s faces before releasing toilet paper. So there is a certain limit to how much paper is released per person and then the machine won’t release more paper to the same person until after nine minutes have gone by.

We guess, by that time the prospective thief — you can’t call a person thief until the theft has taken place — runs out of patience and walks out. A restroom is anyway no place to rest.

Tomorrow, we will tell you why exactly a toilet is called a restroom.

For today, let’s come back to the debate over Delhi riots. So, yesterday Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury quoted the saying, “Nero fiddles while Rome burns” in an apparent dig at Amit Shah. The charge against Shah is that he was missing in action for three days as 52 people died in Delhi. History will judge Shah on whether he acted swiftly or actually just “fiddled” but history tells us that Nero did not fiddle as Rome burnt.

Some biographers claim Nero rejoiced as he saw Rome burn from a tower. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Not that he was dousing the flames, just that there was no fiddle back then to fiddle with.

For those who do not know, Nero was the notorious emperor of Rome and a descendant of Julius Caesar. He played the lyre. His biographer Cornelius Tacitus wrote in The Annals that Nero was 30 miles away from Rome, when Rome burnt. Later biographers claimed that he rejoiced as he saw Rome burn from a distant tower.

Rome was burnt. Rome was also rebuilt. Yes, it wasn’t built in a day.

But that will be all for today.

Meet you tomorrow.

Last updated: March 12, 2020 | 18:45
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