I Can’t Vote for Biden, but I Feel Like I Should Be Able To

Well, it is obvious why I can’t vote for Biden. I am not a USA citizen, so I do not have any say in the matter at all. However, I do care about who the POTUS is and I really do feel that I, and with me, billions of people around the globe, should actually have a say in the matter.

The problem is, the USA likes to position itself as the world’s policeman. It is constantly sticking its nose into other countries’ businesses, pretending to care about democracy and freedom and whatnot, whilst not caring about any of those things, not ever the whatnot.

Not to mention the almighty gall of US presidents being proclaimed the “Leader of the free world”. What exactly is the free world they are considered to be leaders of? And on what authority do they assume that title for themselves?

I am on record saying that the USA was a proto-fascist state since before 9/11  and it has been shedding the “proto” a bit by bit ever since Reagan. It slowed slightly under Obama but compensated for that by accelerating even more under Trump. And now, the self-aggrandizing title “Leader of the free world” is carried by an open fascist who does his best to deny the vote even to the citizens on whose behalf he is supposed to govern.

And all I, and with me the rest of the world, can do, is to watch from the sidelines and hope for the best. I think US presidents should either be voted on globally, or they should stop poking their noses outside the US borders. Neither of those two things will happen, which makes me despair.

I know the idea needs some refinement, but whatever. Please vote for Biden, if you can. More than just who gets to sit in the White House for 4 years is at stake.

The Art of …

… political protest, billboard-style

Just in time for the American election, a billboard project is being held in New York City.In October, Art at a Time Like This Inc., in collaboration with SaveArtSpace, borrows the moniker “Ministry of Truth: 1984/2020” to present 20 artists on 20 billboards around New York City, providing “a platform for artists to comment on the current state of US politics and increasing polarization just in time for the election,” according to a press release.

The twenty artists have been chosen, and below is a small sample of what the installation will include.

Mel Chin’s billboard imagery for “Ministry of Truth: 1984/2020” (all images courtesy of SaveArtSpace)

Dread Scott for “Ministry of Truth: 1984/2020”

Shirin Neshat for “Ministry of Truth: 1984/2020”

Marilyn Minter for “Ministry of Truth: 1984/2020”

The billboards will be placed around the 5 boroughs of New York, and there will be a digital map allowing viewers to plan self-guided tours. The full story is at Hyperallergic.

 

 

Lost Identities: How White Supremacy Maintains itself

As we all know, whiteness is a social construct (because everything is, duh). It is not a concept that has been clear and stable from the dawn of time. Actually, it is even a fairly recent concept as they go, yet it is still one people have naturalised quickly. Naturalising means that people believe that something is not socially constructed but a direct reflection of the natural world, with sex being another prominent one. Because of course you can see the difference between me and Beyoncé, right?

Whiteness as a concept cannot be separated from white supremacy as it is and was tied to it from birth. The only reason to define someone’s “race” via genotype is to establish differences and hierarchies. But since “race” is of course not a natural phenomenon we merely seek to describe, it’s always been in trouble. There is no logic to it, just power, and that power has developed several strategies to maintain itself. One pretty obvious one is including groups that had previously been excluded. You can see that pretty well in how, for example, folks of Irish or Italian descent were included into the “white” category in the USA: give them a stake in white supremacy, use them as a shield against accusations of racism. See, the Irish were discriminated against as well, they overcame it, if black people are still suffering it’s because there’s actually something wrong with black people.

Another way is by folding individual people into the group, erasing their identities and heritage. They can only gain the status of “white” by denying that they were ever anything else.Wait a generation or two and nobody knows anymore that you have indeed ancestors who were not considered white.

My own family history is such an example. I am white, of German heritage, for all purposes of the law and society. My last name, passed down from my paternal grandpa literally means “person from a very boring village 20km from the place I live now”. But my paternal grandma already spoils the picture, as she grew up as a member of the German settlers in the Ukraine. After the war she was considered a “dirty Russian”, my dad had kids bully him, and they did everything to hide that “dirty family secret”. Me? I just noticed that grandma had a different accent than the rest of the family. To me, any part of that heritage and identity has been lost. My cousin’s father in law, who is a hobby genealogist researched grandma’s family and I learned more about them from his essay than from my family. The Russian German families who arrived in the 90s were pretty quickly folded into the “white” category because they are needed to uphold white supremacy against the growing Muslim community and Muslim refugees. Same with Italians. In my childhood, prejudice against Italian immigrants was on par with prejudice against Turkish immigrants, but this has shifted dramatically.

On my mother’s side it becomes even more extreme. Her grandmother’s family used to be Sinti or Roma. I suspect Sinti, because they are more likely to settle and integrate into the community at the price of giving up their identity, but I have no clue. All the family ever knew is that they were G***. They didn’t even have a name for their heritage anymore beyond the slur used by white people around them. All we can trace back is the family name that is of Hindu origin.

None of that makes me not white. I don’t claim membership of the communities. It’s not a quest to seek faux oppression because some of my ancestors had to pay a heavy price for me to be considered white and gaining white privilege (see “my great-great-great-great grandmother was a Cherokee princess, that makes me so spiritual and also you cannot call me racist”). It’s an acknowledgement of their histories. It’s an acknowledgement of how white supremacy works in subtle ways, making sure that people don’t show solidarity with each other, because they’re fighting to be included in the dominant category. It’s an acknowledgement of loss. It’s also an acknowledgement of how these very stories can once again be used to dismiss systemic racism in favour of individual accounts of success and failure.

Mind your Words: Why mainstream journalism often fails us all

Maybe you heard it, but last weekend there was a demonstration of Nazis and people who march with Nazis (esotherics, anti-vaxxers, naturopaths, …) in Berlin. Beforehand there was lots of discussions and an attempt to ban the whole thing because the last time they ignored all the hygiene rules meant to keep Covid from spreading, but a court overturned the ban, because the organisers had promised, pinky swear, that this time they’d follow them, which just proves that Germany is a totalitarian dictatorship where a court will guarantee your right to free speech.

Of course the whole thing ended as foreseen: Distances and mask regulations were ignored and police ordered them to stop, but miraculously all the water throwers they have whenever some schoolkids protest climate change as well as the riot police that was all too present for the BLM protests seemed to be unavailable (well, they probably needed a day off because in order to participate in the protest). The whole thing culminated in a disgraceful “storm on the Reichstag”, where a whole lot of three police officers were charged with protecting the building. The images of people raising the Reichsflagge (long considered the legal substitute for the illegal swastika flag) in front of the parliament obviously shocked mainstream politicians more  than Nazis murdering people, but that’s a topic for another day.

Personally I’ve been wondering what those people thought would happen if they manage to go inside? Did they think both federal and state governments would just shrug, say “you won” and abdicate? What would they have done once the snack machines were emptied? Anyway, this is just the background to my actual topic: How journalists use words as if they’d never gone to school.

Throughout mainstream journalism they never said “Nazis”, “fascists”, or even “right wing protestors”. They took great care to explain that there were also the people who are not Nazis but who sure have no problem marching with them (or as I refer to them: the people who are running the trains to Auschwitz and the people who are just making sure that those trains are running on time). Instead they used the nonsensical “Corona opponents”, “Corona protestors” and “Corona critics” as if that makes any fucking sense? Like, who isn’t opposed to Corona? Have you ever met somebody who says: “having a deadly pandemic is sure cool shit”? And what does a virus care about your criticism or protest? It’s not a sentient being and much like the people in those protests it can’t be reasoned or argued with. It’s more absurd than Dadaism and waiting for Godot combined with a good measure of Ulysses thrown into the mix as a means for communicating factual information. It makes those people look like having a legitimate cause instead of bloody fascists who want to kill their opponents, who publicly say so, and actually do so.

Portland – Required Reading

A lot is happening in Portland, and Big Media reports are often unreliable or outright false. Our very own Crip Dyke at Pervert Justice has been on the ground risking her health and well-being to report the reality of the situation to us. This morning her report, Still a step away from Pinkerton’s, but it’s badis especially gut-wrenching, and it should be required reading. Please, if you haven’t already, head on over and share your support.

For some perspective on the reference to Pinkerton’s, Marcus at Stderr shares a historical look at labour protests in the U.S. with an essay titled How to Riot. It’s an in-depth look at the history of how the American government has handled civil unrest, and it’s frightening.

To round out your reading, I recommend Iris Vander Pluym at Death to Squirrels, whose essay A.G.Barr: Crip Dyke is a “violent rioter and anarchist” hijacking the Portland Protests, brings some insight into why what Crip Dyke is doing is so vitally important. The American government is lying to the public, and it is the on-sight reports from citizen journalists that tell the real story.

I share my thanks to all of these voices for the clarity they bring to a complicated issue.

Crip Dyke, please stay safe.

 

Black Lives Matter Worldwide: From a not so small protest in a small place

©Giliell, all rights reserved: My BLM mask, specifically made for the protest

Yesterday and today there were BLM protests in my neck of the wood and since I was busy yesterday, my dad and I went today. The idea was to have two days so people could space out more, and given that there were a lot of us, that was a good idea.

Now, I must tell you, I haven’t gone to a protest that worried in a while. I didn’t bring the kids. I’m not generally against “bringing kids to protests”. For one thing, kids do have opinions, for another, it teaches them to stand up for what they believe. But with the scenes we’ve been seeing from around the world and also from Munich and Berlin, I wasn’t comfortable bringing them. All those water throwers that all seemed to be out of order when fucking Nazis and conspiracy theorists were violating all Corona rules and literally chasing cops over the Alexanderplatz are apparently back in good condition again. Because who will decide if we are behaving well at a protest against police violence? Right. Spot the problem.

And for sure they were ready in their riot gear. They didn’t get to use it and I hope they sweated sitting in their black gear inside their buses.

One really good thing was that this protest was organised and let by black people, predominantly black women, and not some well meaning but ultimately problematic white allies. They recounted their experiences with everyday racism from an early age. They told the cops that they are responsible for their bad apples unless they want to get tarred with the same brush, that to be silent is to be complicit.

And it’s more necessary than ever, because just yesterday there was an attack on a young black man, who told us about the guy who attacked him with a knife, yelling “you’re black, you must die!” It was heartbreaking to hear him, to see him, shaking and searching for his voice, reliving his trauma. Thankfully the attacker was caught and look and behold, they are indeed suspecting a racist motive.

In the end we sang “Happy Birthday” for Breona Tailor and Tamir Rice, and Amazing Grace, which the moderator mentioned to probably be the first instant of cultural appropriation as it was written by a slave owner after overhearing his slaves sing.

Whom I though was missing were other migrant groups. With a few exceptions I didn’t see any non black people of colour. I don’t know if it was the shortness of time, but I missed the other migrant organisations.

I also met a pupil of mine who was very embarrassed to see me there. He’ll live. And he’ll still have to do Maths with me tomorrow.

Law and Order Are Not Intrinsically Good Things

Trump likes to refer to himself as the president of “Law And Order” these days and his sycophants in the Geezers Only  Party repeat those three words as a mantra. And their voters, presumably, lap it up as a chant worth following, as if those words represent something intrinsically good.

They do not.

Laws can be, and quite often are, impractical, counter-productive, or downright immoral and wrong. Lawful behavior is only as good as the laws that it follows, and unlawful behavior is only as bad as the laws it breaks are good. The order that ensues from enforcement of laws is in this regard completely value-neutral. It has no moral property in itself, it only reflects that of the legal system that has brought it into existence.

To anyone who yearns for Law and Order and not paying particular attention to what kind of Law and what kind of Order, I would like to put forth following points for consideration:

  • In the former USSR and indeed the whole Eastern Bloc order was rigorously enforced and kept by harsh punishments against anyone who disobeyed the law.  And if that is too far in the past for you, today’s China has plenty of laws too, and oh boy do the police keep order there. I could also Godwin it here and say Nazi Germany has had many laws about what can and cannot be done by whom and to whom and its orderliness was quite proverbial, with some quite fancy police departments enforcing said laws.
  • The people who cry for “Law and Order” in USA today are often those who bemoan the dangers of Communism and Socialism and whatnot.

Draw from that any conclusions you want.

A Lawyer Talks About Lafayette Square Gassing

I have never seen LegalEagle lose his cool on camera, although I did not watch all his videos.

I have also never expected to live through a deadly pandemic and USA coming apart at the seams at the same time.

Life is full of surprises. To all our USA readers – please stay safe. Our hearts are with you, although we cannot do anything to help.

Behind the Iron Curtain part 35 – The Elusive Socialism

These are my recollections of a life behind the iron curtain. I do not aim to give a perfect and objective evaluation of anything but to share my personal experiences and memories. It will explain why I just cannot get misty-eyed over some ideas on the political left and why I loathe many ideas on the right.


At school we were constantly reminded that we are living in a socialist country that takes great care of its people, and where everything belongs to everybody. However, one of my schoolmates has once said “If you read the definition of socialism in a dictionary, you realize we are not actually living in socialism”. Which is a pretty deep insight for someone under thirteen. But was he right?

The blaring of propaganda was constant, overt as well as covert, and it all was poised to inform us about all the ills the societies to the west of us suffer (most of which were, even in hindsight, spot-on) and all the wondrous technological and social advancements that the USSR has made over its competitors (which were, in hindsight, grossly oversold). But the system never got rid of several things that it has criticized. Like private property and money-based economics. Which has left it with the pesky problem of ownership of the means of productions, which I have addressed partially in the past. I have seen this named “state-run capitalism” in comments on FtB, which is a term that I have always found a bit peculiar.

And this was the base of my schoolmate’s argument. The people do not own the means of production, the state does. The people do not have a say in how the fruits of their labor get distributed and used, the communist party does that. And thus the society is not truly socialist and equal, because there are still social strata, only not divided by the personal wealth, but by the status within the ruling party structure. After which this stratification got, of course, cemented by personal wealth too, since the party top brass were not too shy about accruing for themselves a bigger piece of the pie than the rest has got, as it always happens.

But did this make the country “not socialist”? I personally do not think so. It was still definitively a state whose policies were leftist and, at least on paper, aimed at the common good. But the peons were expected to shut up and work their asses off for their masters under the guise of working for the greater good, with the promise that the socialist paradise is just around the corner, if not for them, then for their children for sure. And its arrival was postponed for nearly two generations before the system finally collapsed. Any and all actual progress, both social and technological, was made only extremely slowly, because every criticism implying that the current course is perhaps not ideal, however mildly stated, could have dire consequences for the person making it.

The people have learned this lesson the hard way before I was even thought of, in spring 1968. That year the Czechoslovak communist party underwent a widely popular reform and started “Socialism with human face” politics, which has kept the socialist part of the party agenda but has intended to make away with authoritarianism. The USSR did not like it and invaded us. The top czechoslovak politicians were forced to sign a treaty literally at gunpoint and that was the end of any and all attempts at making their version of socialism viable in the long term. Because the “socialism” was not what was problematic with the regime’s politics, the “authoritarianism” was.

But since those two were (and arguably still are) inseparable in the minds of the communist parties of greatest socialist states in history, it is no wonder they are inseparable in many people’s minds both in the west and east to this very day too. Thus the leftist politics of the sixties has built an invisible iron curtain in our colective consciousness between socialism and freedom. And tearing that one down seems more difficult than the real one.

British Feminism: I Want ma Nanny and ma Cleaner!!!!

The state of British mainstream feminism has long been abysmal. All the major players seem to be massive transphobes, there’s court cases about people’s desire to abuse trans people and overall it has the feeling that they’re actually just in favour of them not being bothered by anything than a movement for women from all backgrounds and histories. And never was that White Feminist Approach demonstrated better than this week, when Owen Jones gently suggested that if you have a cleaner, you should pay them to stay at home, because the UK is only second to the US when it comes to Covid 19, with packed public transport posing a major risk for commuters. In case you don’t know who he is, Owen Jones is a British labour activist, a gay dude (this will be important later), a journalist, an antifascist and if that wasn’t bad enough, his major crime is being an ally to trans people. This turned into a furious row on Twitter with the who is who of White British Feminism* descending on him like it was judgement day with at least two published articles to follow.

Twitter screenshot

 

Owen Jones: Declaring something simple doesn’t make it so: if someone can afford a cleaner, they should be paying them to stay at home and doing their own cleaning – they ‘ve certainly got the time to do it, otherwise they are a shockingly selfish human being.

Sarah Ditum: I don’t have more time in lockdown, I have less because I’m sharing my workspace with two teens and and another adult. There’s more dirt, because of the more people [sic]. the cleaning is killing me and this is a bad take.

 

Now, if Ditum had stopped after the first sentence she might have had a point: Corona parents are terribly stressed out because suddenly you’re a teacher for different age groups, have to cook all the meals the family would usually have at school/work and all of that while doing your job in home office. And there are good and valuable conversations about care work and the roll back on gender roles right now. Sarah isn’t part of them. Presumably exhaustion from cleaning. I don’t want to sound like supermummy, but I have two kids and a job as well and my husband is away during the week and so far cleaning hasn’t killed me. Mostly because I ignore it. It’s ok, I chose the flooring with having “how well does it hide dirt” in mind (very well).

Owen suggests that she might actually do something about the division of care work in her home:

Owen Jones: Get your teenagers to clean – we operated a rota system growing up to distribute daily household chores – and don’t force mostly low paid women to risk their health or even lives because that’s extremely selfish behaviour?

Sarah Ditum: Get my teenagers to clean? Declaring something simple doesn’t make it so

Remember, this is somebody who regularly claims that parents are making their children trans because, well, who knows. And hey, I kind of agree, making my teen do her chores certainly doesn’t have a fun tax added, but I’m in the business of raising competent adults who can look after themselves so yes, she still has to empty the dishwasher. We have a sort of clock with their pics on it. Occasionally my husband threatens to take the laundry that hasn’t been put away back to his place and he only washes whatever is in the hamper. But not Sarah Ditum’s poor children (what happened to the husband?)! I think I met a couple of Sarahs in parent teacher talks.

Me: Your son doesn’t do his tasks, only does what he wants and gets very angry when he’s reprimanded.

Mother: He’s never like this at home!

Me: What chores does he have to do at home?

Mother: Chores? My son doesn’t have to do any chores!

If that wasn’t bad enough, her pal Janice Turner chimes in:

 

Twitter screenshot

Owen Jones: I have a twin sister and two elder brothers: we were all expected to do housework from the age of 11, using a daily rota system dividing up chores. I don’t understand why teenagers cannot be expected to do this?

Sounds sensible, doesn’t it? It’s not like those “we used to hop 15 miles through the snow on one foot” pieces of commentary, just a simple memory from a not too long ago childhood. You’re a family, you stick together, you live together, you take responsibility. Apparently for Janice Turner, mother to two teenage sons and supposedly married to a full grown ass man suggesting that your teens do chores is misogyny:

Janice Turner: Free online parenting and household management classes from a childless mansplainer. Mothers thank you for your service, Owen.

Now, apart from the homophobic dog whistle about a “childless man”, mothers are invoked. Welcome to the cult of true motherhood, as evidenced in the next tweet.

Janice Turner: Be great if Owen addressed the reason most families have cleaners. Not lazy bitches “with time on their hands” or crap mothers who won’t draw up rotas for teenage kids. But men. Men don’t do their share. Instead of hating on women tell the dude to pick up a fucking mop.

You mean like Mr. Ditum and Mr. Turner? Because both women are married to afaict able bodied men who are perfectly capable of picking up a fucking mop, as are their teenagers, three of them being of the male persuasion. When are they supposed to learn how to pick up a mop? But as I said, that’s work. Getting a teenager to do something is no task for the lilly-livered, I can tell you, nor is it to have those complicated conversations about the division of housework with your male partner. Turner’s solution: Make another woman come in and do it. That’s how your teenage sons learn responsibility and equality. Because according to her, most families have cleaners. Probably even her cleaner. While she is cleaning other people’s houses, somebody else is cleaning hers. Actually it’s just a big fucking pyramid scheme where we pass around the same 100 bucks to pay each other to clean our houses. This goes well past “middle class privilege” and takes it well into “colonial times erasure of all women who are not part of the ruling class” territory.  It reminds me of the heroines of Jane Austen novels (I love Jane Austen novels): they struggle with financial hardship and consider themselves poor because they can only employ two or three servants.

Caroline Criado Perez, another UK feminist (her dad was the CEO of Safeway, if you need to guess her economic background), teetering on the brink of an epiphany:

Twitter screenshot

Right, where’s the Mr Ditum, Mr Ditum junior, Mr Turner, Mr Turner junior and Mr Turner junior shaped gap in the analysis?

You’d think it couldn’t get any worse, would you? I’m sorry…

Twitter screenshot

Again, Owen Jones agrees: men should pick up the tab instead of making other women risk their lives. Reasonable, or????

Owen Jones: Men should be shamed into doing their fair share of housework: couldn’t agree more.

But forcing largely low paid women, who also have to juggle their low paid work with unpaid household labour –  to risk the health and lives of themselves and their families is disgraceful.

Janice Turner: No one is “forcing” them. People are making arrangementsso their cleaners are safe, providing gloves, anti-bac and staying out of the house whilst they are there. Believe it or not[,] many people, even cleaners, actually want to return to work. It makes them feel useful and normal.

I’m sorry if your jaw is hurting from the impact with the floor, but I did kinda warn you. Remember these people are also huge SWERFS (Sex Work Excluding (Radical) Feminists) who claim that all sex workers are forced into sex work and in need of rescue. When it’s their carpets, suddenly economic force is no longer a thing. Also, Janice, antibacterial shit isn’t any good when talking about a virus. But that’s just the running up to the “Arbeit macht frei” finale at the end of the tweet. Didn’t you know, people who employ cleaners aren’t exploiting usually racialised labour. No, they’re actually doing those women a favour because what sense of worth would they have without the approval of a white woman who keeps mispronouncing their name?

Also, you’re not staying out of the house for the benefit of the cleaner, you’re doing it because that person just had to commute to your place which potentially exposed them to Covid 19.

But we’re still missing some players. Here I present Julie Bindel with an especially interesting take:

Twitter screenshot

Julie Bindel: I can only assume that abny male socialist giving instructions to women about the ethics of having a cleaner chooses not to consume pornography. After all, the women abused in the porn trade have their exploited ‘labour’ to the most extreme degree. [sic]

 

Julie Bindel is a political lesbian, aka somebody who is not actually that much into women but just not into men, who claims that bisexuality is a fake hobby for straight women, and who is here accusing a gay man of exploiting women in the production of porn he may or may not watch. It can’t get any more bizarre than this. Maybe it’s her own apparently confused ideas about sexual orientation that are showing. Does she think that gay men are actually political homosexuals because while they actually fancy women they just don’t want to have any kind of relationship with them because they’re secretly all MGTOW misogynists?

I’ve taken you on quite ride, and it should have a worthy finale, so here it is:

Twitter screenshot

 

Sarah Ditum: Yep that would be a good way to deal with this, if I had a cleaner. But I don’t, I’m just knackered and deeply irritated by Owen’s presumption that everyone has a bunch of free time at the moment

Plot twist: Sarah Ditum doesn’t have a cleaner, but she is willing to lay down the lives of other people’s cleaners for your right to a clean kitchen. But she has since gone on (presumably well paid) record stating that she will get one as soon as she can, because she really doesn’t want to negotiate housework with her household, who are simultaneously grown ass adults and teenagers and who still leave peanutbutter smudges on door handles like toddlers. But instead of calling that piggy back, she’d rather yell at some other woman to clean up that mess.

 

*There are decent British feminists worth that name, somehow they don’t seem to get that many columns and newspaper slots…

 

 

** The author of this text has written it while repeatedly helping her kid with her homework, doing a WhatsApp English class and making the kid empty the dishwasher. Don’t you fucking dare to accuse me of not knowing how busy these times are.

How Czechia Flattened the Curve (Maybe, Hopefully)

Our current prime minister has been in the past often criticized as akin to Donald Trump re: conflict of interests and use of state resources to enrich himself and his family. And rightly so in my opinion, I cannot stand the man personally and politically.

However, when SARS-CoV-2 hit the Czech Republic, he, unlike Donald Trump, has done the right thing. In response to the pandemic, he has left decisions on the policy to actual epidemiology experts from the very beginning. Thus when CZ had mere 116 cases, 12 days after the first three on March 1., he declared a state of national emergency and just two days later virtually everything was put on hold except the absolute bare minimum (grocery stores, delivery services, apothecaries and some more). It was criticized by the opposition (our equivalent of US conservatives) as needless panic-making and fearmongering and the measures as needlessly draconian and a PR for himself and his party. Especially the order of mandatory face masks (home-made and improvised masks are allowed) was met with scorn.

On March 18. I have taken the data of confirmed cases so far, plotted them on a graph and calculated the best-fit exponential curve. It was at a daily increase of 39%, an effective doubling every two-three days, approsimately the same trajectory it has had all over Europe. This growth meant we should have over 140.000 cases today, but we, luckily, do not. We have less than 5.000. Howso?

Look at this graph:

The red curve is the actual cumulative cases as reported every day at midnight. The blue curve is the exponential best fit that I have calculated on March 18. And then there is the orange curve, which is also an exponential best-fit but only for the last week from March 28. to April 3. You can see that the two best-fit lines intersect on March 21.-22.

That is, in my opinion, the day when the enacted measures started to have a visible effect – eight to ten days after they were enacted. I do not know whether I am doing the right thing here mathematically – I have dabbled in statistics at work, but not in epidemiology – but it does seem right to me.

The new rate of growth is still exponential, but instead of 38% daily it is 8% daily. And although the difference between multiplying the cases daily by 1,08 instead of 1,39 does not intuitively look like much, it means the doubling of the cases is prolonged from mere 2-3 days to 10-11 days. Still not enough for an illness that can take up to 6 weeks to heal and kills 1% of infected people, but a very noticeable drop.

And AFAIK that drop is not due to insufficient testing. Testing has grown proportionally, although still not as much as it perhaps should have. But the ratio between positive/negative tests is getting lower, and that indicates that the drop in overall cases is real.

Now there is certainly much more to it than this oversimplified graph. For example, Germany took longer to enact strict active measures, relatively speaking. That is, CZ government enacted nation-wide strict measures when we had just several hundred people ill, whilst the German government did leave many decisions to individual states and instead of strict orders tried to control the situation with recommendations only at first. This has led to a bit of inconsistent reaction and different measures being enacted (and ignored by people) in different states. It worked, but not as much as was desired. Strong nation-wide measures started being implemented only when there were several thousand people ill already- at about the same time as in CZ. And at about the same weekend the curve began to break in Germany as well.

It was similar in Italy too, there the curve began to break at around March 15. (only estimated, I did not calculate the fit curves for Italy, I am doing this in OpenOffice and that is not the best program for this kind of work), about two weeks after the most-hit municipalities were put on lock-down.

Another quick analysis that can be done just by looking at the numbers – In Italy, it took 22 days for the cases to grow from about 100 to 20.000. In Germany, it took 24 days, in Spain 18 days, in UK and France 25 days and in the USA 20 days. The Czech Republic is now 24 days from its 100th case and we are nowhere near 20.000.

So even these amateurish and quick&dirty analyses show that quick reaction, regardless of what the nay-sayers say, is essential in avoiding the worst in case of an epidemic. The enacted measures work as intended. I only hope that our government and our people do not relax too soon.

Stay safe, stay at home whenever possible, and fingers crossed for you and your loved ones.