John Oliver in his inimitable way has a great take on the Corona virus. A bit over the top, as usual, he treads well the dangerous path when joking on something deadly. His take “we should be scared a bit” seems very appropriate to me.

As I read the currently available data, we are facing a pandemic in nearly every country. The death rate may be “only 2%”, but it’s markedly higher at my age :). This rate may be wrong either way by a factor of 2; in Germany it’s probably < 1%. I’ll try to avoid crowds and wash my hands frequently for 20 s.

Nomenclature: WHO designated “SARS-CoV-2” (SARS for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) to the virus, and the resulting lung disease “Covid-19” (for Corona virus disease 2019). Many just call it “Coronavirus”, which is actually the family name of the virus.

Being confronted with serious illness in my family right now, I’m not being flippant here.


For world-wide comparison, from the European Society of Cardiology:

causedeaths/year
air pollution8.8 million
smoking7.2 million
HIV/AIDS1 million
malaria etc.0.6 million
violence0.53 million