back to article Europe calls for single app to track coronavirus. Meanwhile America pretends it isn’t trying to build one at all

With the rate of deaths from COVID-19 beginning to decline in Europe, the focus has turned to how to manage virus spread once lockdown orders are lifted. The proposed solutions say a lot about the planet's cultures. In Brussels, EU representatives are hoping to use the European sense of identity to pull together a coordinated …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    explain away why a very, very small number of people should be allowed to hoard vast resources in defiance of every logical argument about efficiency and societal well-being.

    What are you, some sort of goddam communist?

    Don't come round here with your socialist ideals.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Because you posted AC, I think many people are to dumb to note the sarcasm

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Noticed...

        But kinda fed up of the joke by this point.

        I get it. But it just breeds more argument, and right now, we need to let it slide and get on with more important things.

        I totally agree jokes amongst friends are ok... I just think here, it may attract the crazies... and... oh well, I guess they pay for the Reg via it's adsense click through, right?

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Big Brother

      snark aside, I'll just mention this:

      Those who give up their [privacy, liberty, freedom, etc.] to achieve SECURITY will get NEITHER.

      (actually they'll get CUBA, VENEZUELA, CHINA, ...)

      Yeah, it's how COMMUNISM spreads. Don't fall for it. 1984 was a TYPO. Orwell should've said 2020!!

      "They" were looking for an excuse, a gap in which to jam their feet in and prop the door open wide enough to get through and INSTITUTE A WORLD WIDE ECONOMIC SHUTDOWN!

      And then... CONTROL EVERYONE in the name of "for our OWN GOOD" !!! [these ELITISTS need to be STOPPED, EVERY TIME THEY TRY!!!]

      Right now the numbers are starting to say that Corona is REALLY only slightly worse than influenza, so long as it does NOT overwhelm the hospitals and force people to be triage'd. THAT was the justification of the social distancing. But "social distancing" is NOT stopping the virus, JUST SLOWING IT DOWN. Once our systems are UP TO SPEED, we need to LET IT RIP!!! Then, HERD IMMUNITY will kill it off! And, WHEN it comes back NEXT YEAR, and it WILL, you can be sure that WE WILL BE READY THIS TIME!

      But SHUTDOWNS do NOT fix this! Keep people working, use common sense, try NOT to spread it when you're sick, but GET BACK TO WORK!!! Otherwise, we might as well *ALL* *DIE*!!!

      (this is NOT "the new normal" - this is a FORNICATING CLUSTER-FEEL !!!)

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        A deal

        BOB: "Right now the numbers are starting to say that Corona is REALLY only slightly worse than influenza"

        IMHO, Absolutely wrong.

        I'm predicting 1m US Deaths, within a factor of 2. How about a deal. If there's fewer than half a million USA deaths by 2010 I'll make a public apology to you here on this forum, and upvote every post you make for a month. If there's more, you restrict yourself to using captial letters only to start sentences. Done?

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: A deal

          Obviously that is a typo for 2021 :-) missed the edit window

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: A deal

            I assumed you meant ten past eight yesterday evening!

        2. Persona Silver badge

          Re: A deal

          I'm predicting 1m US Deaths, within a factor of 2

          It's a little to soon to predict numbers with any degree of confidence as we just don't know how many people have already been infected with with SARS-Cov2 so estimates of mortality are being based on a known death toll being divided my an unknown number of infections. A new study testing inhabitants of a German town allegedly show that 15% of people have had the virus. Assuming that number is right and making the further wild assumption that this is replicated globally that gives the extrapolated result that were 70% of the world population to go on to contract the disease the final death toll would be 70% of 6.6 X 100,000 i.e. a little under 500,000. To put this in context WHO estimates annual global influenza deaths to be 250,000 to 500,000 a year.

          This is of course based on a wild extrapolation of one study and so will "probably" be wrong. Even so it is numerically more robust than dividing something by an unknown number.

          1. Stork Silver badge

            Re: A deal

            The actual death toll is also unknown. It varies between countries, but in most places people who die outside of hospitals are not tested, and many places they do not test postmortem.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. John H Woods Silver badge

            Re: A deal

            "so estimates of mortality are being based on a known death toll being divided my an unknown number of infections."

            No, it's a little bit more sophisticated than that: most people studying the pandemic already have some idea that not all the infections may have been identified! But there are other complications, not least of which that not all the deaths have been identified, either. I remain pretty confident in my figures of between 1e7, 1e6 and 1e5 for Global, USA and UK deaths respectively (again all between 50% and 200%). We already know this is far more dangerous than seasonal flu, the idea that the global death toll will end up anwhere under a million is, IMHO, incredibly optimistic.

            I mean, I hope you're right and I'm wrong, but I'm really not seeing it ...

          4. Eddy Ito

            Re: A deal

            One big question is how many lives are being saved simply because there are so many fewer folk on the roads. I'm fairly certain there will also be a considerable reduction in influenza and possibly other deaths. Unfortunately there is a likelihood that domestic violence deaths will rise. In the long run, if so many employers discover that working from home is anywhere near as productive as being in the office and continue to allow working from home after the current situation has passed, assuming it does, then there is a real opportunity for this whole mess to have a positive impact going forward.

            1. John H Woods Silver badge

              Re: Eddy Ito: "how many lives are being saved ... fewer folk on the roads"

              Fewer RTAs have to be balanced by the fact that the health and emergency services are stretched, so that there may be lower capacity to deal with the (undoubtedly) fewer RTAs.

              Regardless; the death toll from Covid19 is probably going to be pretty massive. In the three days since Bob posted that it might be comparable to seasonal influenza, the USA (which suffers seasonal flu deaths estimated by the CDC at 12-60k per annum) has seen its Covid19 death toll rise from under 15k to over 20k. I don't think that has ever happened in a USA flu season, and I expect the total death toll to exceed this bracket certainly within a fortnight, possibly 700 millifortnights or less.

              If Covid19 is not the biggest killer in the world this year, I will be most pleasantly surprised, the slight stigma of being publicly wrong notwithstanding.

      2. The Central Scrutinizer

        So you've swallowed the whole bottle of conspiracy theory Kool Aid, huh?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Wel all knew he had before he posted.

          Hell, any of us could have written the same thing if we were asked to respond "as Bob".

          Of course the American corporations want people back in work. They want more money (despite the big republican party socialist corporate bailout).

          They don't need to think long term. Lax laws (which we will get in a few years thanks to our brexit voting morons) mean they can easily fire someone who gets ill, and replace them with another minimum wage employee desperate for work.

          And corporations own the politicians, and politicans know the cold war "pinkie commie" paranoia is still prevalent in boomers, so all they need to is tell everyone they must go back to work for the good of the country, and to avoid the evil communist socilist agenda being derived from a virus that we've been assured is :

          • Fake - fake new media making it up.
          • AND is also just the democrats attempt at impeachment #2 [said by that daft bint, Trish someone from Fox, who Fox ended up firing, because Hennity (who said worse) has higher ratings)]
          • AND is a Chinese made bio-weapon made to target America specifically.
          • AND is a serious issue, butt that's because of Obama.

          So yes, As Boomerbastic Bob says, get back to work NOW! Stop using the fake/real/not serious/serious because of obama virus as an excuse you lazy welfare sponging pinko commie socialist anti-American lockdown immigrant loving SJW sissys!

  2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Kushner's experience

    I am sure Jared Kushner would be offended by the implication that he has zero experience in any relevant field. A quick web search shows he has plenty of skill and experience in getting people killed.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Kushner's experience

      He's one of the most experienced people on the planet if you need to 'Talk to Donald'.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Kushner's experience

        Is that anyway to talk about the imperial heir ?

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So, Musk bought a thousand ventilators

    One would think that a billionaire would pay a bit of attention to what he's putting his money in, so that his PR coup could actually be useful.

    I suspect that he just phoned his PR team and said "get some ventilators to New York, stat !" and they bumbled through Amazon and thought they were doing a good job.

    Well, sorry guys, you didn't. Not only did you not help in a time of crisis, but everyone will remember that you couldn't be arsed to check exactly what equipment was necessary before throwing a few thousand bucks out the window.

    As for Thiel, I can't help but wonder : did he keep his plane crew isolated with him, or did he send them back to fare for themselves ?

    I suspect the latter.

    1. not.known@this.address Silver badge

      Re: So, Musk bought a thousand ventilators

      Given how quickly "entrepreneurs" bought up all the PPE and medical equipment they could and started flogging it for obscene profit on eBay etc, maybe that was all the ventilators that were left?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So, Musk bought a thousand ventilators

        I bought a pallet of N95 masks (easy and inexpensive for me since I buy a lot of stuff from medical vendors) when the SARS outbreak was on the horizon. Technically they all "expired" about 5 years ago but we've given the whole lot away locally now and kept one box for my family just in case.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: So, Musk bought a thousand ventilators

      I doubt he even looked. He gave an order, and the poor schmuck who got the stuck with the job isn't a medical professional. And the company they bought from may be using under qualified help these days?

      Still stinks of marketing...

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: So, Musk bought a thousand ventilators

        Musk has built some ventilators for free distribution - mostly out of car parts. The next step is getting FDA approval. (Warning: when the sentence structure on the Teslarati site is a bit contrived, re-parse the sentence with the literalness of a programmer for the worst possible matching interpretation. On that site bad news packaged to look good with carefully selected parts of the truth.)

    3. Frederic Bloggs
      Meh

      Re: So, Musk bought a thousand ventilators

      Erm... Elon is not the dickhead that is being portrayed. The NHS is now actively using CPAP machines with an added oxygen feed (either by using an inline "T" valve or using the masks that are already adapted for adding extra oxygen). Their purpose to provide added support before patients become too sick, to prevent them having to require sedation and ventilation in a full service ICU bed.

      In other words it is successfully being used for new patients that present with breathing difficulties but can manage with extra oxygen and nursing. Another side benefit is that CPAP machines used in this way don't need 50L of oxygen a minute and this allows more patients to be hooked up the hospital oxygen system at a time.

      Finally CPAP machines are available, they work, and are relatively cheap (£300/£500 a pop to the NHS). Cheaper still if Mercedes F1 get their way. They say they can produce 1000 units per week, starting next week.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Elon is not the dickhead that is being portrayed.

        Well, ok, maybe, but he is a dickhead. And a pedo guy.

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: So, Musk bought a thousand ventilators

        "The NHS is now actively using CPAP machines.."

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52187826

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/52189430

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, Musk bought a thousand ventilators

      OK, I challenge you to go buy something in spec in an emergency.

      Hope they can send the ventilators back and exchange them for something better.

      Your on an IT website, and suggesting you never ever ever bought the wrong ram or incompatible chip/slot in card?

    5. Klimt's Beast Would

      Re: So, Musk bought a thousand ventilators

      I misread that, i.e. 'So, Musk bought a thousand vibrators'

      Imagine the surprise on opening the package!

      I think I know why I misread it. There was a report Belgian VRT Nieuws last night that a Danish sex toy manufacturer have doubled their sales... Stay home, stay safe, stay happy.

      1. Glen 1 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: So, Musk bought a thousand ventilators

        "I misread that, i.e. 'So, Musk bought a thousand vibrators'

        Imagine the surprise on opening the package!"

        They would look visibly shaken.

        1. Klimt's Beast Would

          Re: So, Musk bought a thousand ventilators

          and stirred.

          But can you stick it in a cocktail? (I'll stop now for decency's sake).

          1. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge
            Pint

            Re: So, Musk bought a thousand ventilators

            If the glass is big enough

    6. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: So, Musk bought a thousand ventilators

      "As for Thiel, I can't help but wonder : did he keep his plane crew isolated with him, or did he send them back to fare for themselves"

      Probably had them shot.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Given how long it took them to get Brexit finished...

    ...I do not hold out much hope for a speedy tidy-up and clear-out of the data they get from this.

    Besides, you never know when another crisis like this might occur, so maybe they should keep tracking all EU citizens indefinitely? Deliberately, that is, not just "accidentally". Plus, of course, Covid-19 originated in China so it would be really helpful if they could track your movements overseas on the off-chance they might need to backtrack your movements in the future? You know, just in case you crossed paths with someone (else) who catches whatever it may be...

    Oh wait, they still haven't managed to finalise Brexit have they. And it's only taken what, five years for an (allegedly) one year process... One could almost think they were stringing it out as long as possible in the hope we will just give up, whereas all they are really doing is proving why we need to leave.

    1. Adair Silver badge

      Re: Given how long it took them to get Brexit finished...

      Pleased I don't live in the world you appear to inhabit.

      Have a good day. Ideally mean it too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Given how long it took them to get Brexit finished...

        Hi Adair, just wondering which part you thought was inaccurate..?

        1. Adair Silver badge

          Re: Given how long it took them to get Brexit finished...

          The one eyed cynical miserablist part, I expect.

          Show me a nation or collection of nations that are significantly lacking in the deficiencies you have painted the EU with (as though its faults are the whole story); our own gloriously exceptional UK perhaps?

          Yeah? Nah, they're all full of people like you and I, you know - human beings. Frail, fallible, greedy, stupid and vain human beings; and that's on a good day!

          But then there's the other side of the coin, which we are witnessing in action all over the world: kind, generous, adaptable, forgiving,...

          Funnily enough there is a lot more to the EU, and to the UK, than one comprising solely of bleak, cycnical and gloating finger pointing.

    2. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Given how long it took them to get Brexit finished...

      Brexit is nowhere near finished, and the people who slowed it down most were the brexiteers...

      The most logical explanation is that they didn't really want to leave, they just wanted a scapegoat to blame for everything they did wrong.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Given how long it took them to get Brexit finished...

        Um, no. The people who slowed it down most were the EU "negotiating" team who spent months discussing things like who should sit where on their side of the conference table, then wasted more time in discussions that resulted in slight re-wording but no substantive changes to the EU "offer" every time it got rejected.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Given how long it took them to get Brexit finished...

          Because the UE's proposal was a BAFO.

          No term of it will ever been lowered without any step forward from the UK. It's called a negation.

          When one party gets their pants down, it's called abuse.

          For so many years, various UK PM thought they'll royally shaft the UE, but it won't happen.

          Politicians are not known for their coherency across time, but one thing is for sure, Barnier totally was for the last 2 years !

        2. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Given how long it took them to get Brexit finished...

          Took the UK contingent longer than that to bother turning up.

          Why would the EU change their offer when the UK weren't willing to do the same?

        3. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Re: Given how long it took them to get Brexit finished...

          What obligation was there upon them to make any 'offer' ?

          If a troop of boy scouts are trekking a forest and one of them quits and runs off like a little bitch, it is not up to the rest of them to negotiate with the recalcitrant coward.

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Given how long it took them to get Brexit finished...

      Boris, you are feeling better and posting anonymously here from your hospital bed?

    4. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Given how long it took them to get Brexit finished...

      Oh wait, they still haven't managed to finalise Brexit have they.

      Why do you think it's up to the EU to carry out Brexit?

      1. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: Given how long it took them to get Brexit finished...

        The Brexit retards will love the idea of a pan-European track, trace, eliminate app. The UK will do their own by sheer bloody minded-ness so they won’t be rule takers.

        Perhaps the Council of Europe could lead on this with it’s far wider spread of members and associate/partner countries outside Europe - esp. as we have not left ( and are not leaving) that organisation..

  5. &rew
    Unhappy

    Checks?

    Cheques, surely?

    1. Adair Silver badge

      Re: Checks?

      This is the US of A we are talking about. Definitely 'checks'.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Checks?

      Surely the US get to decide the spelling of cheque nowadays? Given so many other countries have pretty much stopped using them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: USA decide on anything?

        Not these days. It is China that does it all. Under Trumpton, they have gone backwards and are in danger of becoming a pariah nation alongside Norks and Iran, Well done Donald but hey, you get to play golf at taxpayers expense every week. What's not to like eh? /s /s /s

        All my US friends think that he's an embarrasment to the country.

        1. Glen 1 Silver badge

          Re: USA decide on anything?

          "All my US friends think that he's an embarrasment to the country."

          As a UKian, one sympathises.

          1. Glen 1 Silver badge

            Re: USA decide on anything?

            Err... as in We (UK) are in a metaphorical glass house in that regard.

  6. LDS Silver badge

    If you wish to let people move freely across borders, you need a single app too

    It looks to me some people outside EU fails to understand how EU has to work. If you wish to let people move freely across borders, especially those who are living near the borders and often need to cross them to go to work - especially within the Schengen area, it's quite clear you can't have different tracking systems which won't work across borders. Think what would happen if each and every US State would create its own app. Or if UK would get different apps for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

    Still, everybody blabbling about an app still fail to understand not everybody has a smartphone or even a Bluetooth device. Especially older people, which also looks to be the one more at risk. Plus all the people who don't keep wifi and Bluettoth active all the time. It's an attempt doomed to fail, and the resources should be used for something more useful.

    1. Gob Smacked

      Re: If you wish to let people move freely across borders, you need a single app too

      Never heard of best effort? If it works and helps to trace most people... every method would have its shortcomings. It's not so much as "don't put the resources into this, but into that", but take the resources, do this and cover the first 80%, some more resources for that which covers an independent 50+ % of the polulation and maybe some other solution to look into the gaps that you may still have. A concerted effort, thought out well and making smart use of "the resources" - instead of a) does not work fully, b) does not work fully, c) does not work fully, so we can't use a, b or c at all...

      Think big. Not small.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "Never heard of best effort?"

        It doesn't work in this situation. Or you can track infected people effectively, or you have a too big chance the spread will continue. Tracking just 80% of infected people means a 20% is not tracked and keeps on spreading the virus. Remember that it takes very few individuals to start an epidemy, and to keep it alive too.

        Again, not everybody uses a smartphone and keeps Bluetooth on all the time. How do you think to enforce both on 80% of the population? On those who have phones too old to run the app?

        A way to test people quickly would be much more effective than trying to track people with Bluetooth.

        Think right, don't pretend to think.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "test people quickly more effective than trying to track with Bluetooth"

          Yes, but imagine if you could do both.

          Amazingly, they don't cancel each other out.

          Lockdown is not covering 100% of people but is still considered worth doing to reduce the risk. Why would you require 100% inclusion from a bluetooth smartphone app for it to be worthwhile?

          Not knowing where 20% of infectious people are is still better than not knowing where 100% of them are. And ... you can still test as well !

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: "test people quickly more effective than trying to track with Bluetooth"

            Because even people that can work in a lockdown aren't free to wander around and (should) take all the available precautions. Give people an app giving a false sense of security and see what happens.

            I understand they want to run such an experiment at scale. Call it an experiment, and I'm fine - albeit very worried about how it could misused. I'm sure they will find trying what could have been deducted without. What, for example, about people who never had a direct contact but bt connected? I.e. between cars, for example? Or walls?

            Just don't sell it to me as a "solution".

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: If you wish to let people move freely across borders, you need a single app too

      Yes, Kieren doesn't understand the principles of the single market:

      But no, this is the EU and everything must be done through centrally.

      No, but one of the available will be chosen as the "winner". The French will probably still do their own.

      The current pandemic is a goldmine for all kinds of research projects that, if you squint hard enough, look vaguely associated with epidmiology. Rather than writing articles like this Kieren should be getting his grant application in. Especially now that president Trump has removed oversight from the money tap.

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: If you wish to let people move freely across borders, you need a single app too

      Still, everybody blabbling about an app still fail to understand not everybody has a smartphone or even a Bluetooth device. Especially older people, which also looks to be the one more at risk. Plus all the people who don't keep wifi and Bluettoth active all the time. It's an attempt doomed to fail, and the resources should be used for something more useful.

      That's not how bureaucracies work. It will not fail because the Commissioners get to decide the success criteria. In fact, it will be so successful that it could be expanded for other purposes, or just use a combination of GPS & Bluetooth to enforce 2m seperation. Automate fines for anyone caught in more intimate pairings, and it'll be self-sufficient. Might even generate enough cash so Brussels can lob Italy & Spain a few euros so they don't have to go Greek and buy virus bonds.

      But you're right. Turning off wifi, bluetooth, GPS and assosciated cruft is a great way to extend 'smart' phone's battery life, and annoy social media companies at the same time. Which means there'll be ghosts in the system, not to mention anyone chosing to abuse apps for more nefarious purposes.. Which is one flaw to Gate's idea of a pet*.. I mean digital passport as unlike pets, we're not chipped (yet) so no certainty that a phone/cert will remain paired to the person it should be. But if the machine goes bing and gives a green light, it's all good.. right?

      *Mr Eel, so you don't appear to have been tested for Covid, but your rabies, parvo and distemper vaccinations are up to date! Welcome to Belgium, have a waffle!

    4. Klimt's Beast Would

      Re: If you wish to let people move freely across borders, you need a single app too

      What about GSM tower pings?

      Sure, it's not that accurate, but for a large scale training exercise purposes the ID can be anonymised (not that it would be a problem for intelligence services).

      It would be effective cross-border too, smart or grampyphone.

      In (most) EU countries SIM cards have to be registered by law. Having the emergency contact details set up would be helpful too.

      A simpler, minimally invasive first step to other means of contact tracing/cluster discovery or other solutions.

      And all this without mentioning the bigger kettle of fish (BKoF) known as 5G rollout...

      1. Stork Silver badge

        Re: If you wish to let people move freely across borders, you need a single app too

        I bought a SIM for cash in CPH airport last December, no questions asked.

    5. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: If you wish to let people move freely across borders, you need a single app too

      "Think what would happen if each and every US State would create its own app. Or if UK would get different apps for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland."

      The Great Depression, which will now be called the First Great Depression, showed will happen. There were border guards in California to keep the Okies out, as documented by Steinbeck. US citizens didn't have freedom of movement within the US. This is far worse than that. This is the Great Depression mixed with the 1918 Flu pandemic. Things will get bad, worse, quickly.

  7. KBeee
    FAIL

    Generous non self-serving billionaires

    I'd never trust a billionaire or mega corp that announces how "generous" they are in a crisis. It'll probably turn out to be a PR stunt, with headline numbers but hoping no one will keep track of what is actually spent. Look at the pledges to restore Notre Dame Cathederal after the fire to what was actually donated by these people and companies.

    The only good ones give anonomously, with no PR bullshit. One that comes to mind is Sir John Paul Getty Jr. but most of his generosity was secret, only being revealed after his death in 2006. There was a story about him attending a presentation to gather donations for (I think it was) a portable field hospital that could be deployed quickly to places hit by natural disasters. After the presentation he asked how much they cost, and being told £1,000,000, said "I'll buy two of them for you".

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Generous non self-serving billionaires

      Getty was a private person working from his own bank balance. By comparison Gates (plural -it's in his and hers names) foundation handles a large portfolio of stock including Warren Buffet's donation; it makes funding awards just like any large foundation and all it's financials are out in the open.

      I note in passing Getty died about 14 years ago on 17th April - admitted to hospital for a chest infection.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Generous non self-serving billionaires

      Once you've got it, it's easy to give some of it away. That said, the Gates Foundation does deserve some credit for choosing some of the harder, and less popular, problems to tackle such as malaria. A disease, which yet again, will probably kill around 2 million, mainly young, people this year and, as such, easily outkill covid-19.

      What's that you say? Famine due to locusts in east Africa? Let's wait till they're dropping like flies before turning up with the aid and the cameras…

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Generous non self-serving billionaires

        " A disease, which yet again, will probably kill around 2 million, mainly young, people this year and, as such, easily outkill covid-19."

        2 million Westerners, sure. Globaly, barring a vaccine or therapy, Covid19 is going to kill at least 10 million people in 2020. Malarial countries aren't going to get a pass.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Claverhouse Silver badge

    ...making it look like he is using his billions to the betterment of society while keeping firm control of every dollar, setting up unusual corporate structures to hold his cash, reaping maximum tax benefits and publicity and making sure it only goes to specific projects.

    That's Un-American !

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >That's Un-American !

      That's an-American !

      I think your phone autocorrected,

  9. TeeCee Gold badge

    ...there should be only one app that everyone is obliged to use.

    Stalin would be proud of them.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      One App to Rule Them All.

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        Is that google app or an iPhone app?

        1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

          Is that google app or an iPhone app?

          Huawei's Harmony OS, of course.

  10. Danny 2 Silver badge

    I am learning to sew again

    What are you doing that will help?

    I bought a huge roll of HEPA (High-efficiency particulate air) material that I'm going to sew between two layers of cotton sheet in the template of a facemask. Which I will then distribute for free to anyone who has no better option. HEPA material is meant for vacuum cleaner bags and air conditioners but it cuts 98% of particulates, so better than the official N95 masks

    The science is in - a face mask won't protect you from others much, but it will protect others from you. https://xkcd.com/2290/

    It's understandable that the government doesn't have a vaccine yet, or even a test even though other nations do. It's unforgivable that they don't have even ventilators or ICU beds and staff. But PPE kit - front line workers are dying due to lack of PPE kit?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I am learning to sew again

      These masks are medical equipment and so won't protect you from the virus unless you have an iSO13485 compliant supplier evaluation process for the shipping company delivering the HEPA material

  11. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Government not qualified

    The last place you want to look for something during a crisis is a government. Unless, of course, you just want a big group of people dressed in green to go kill something.

    Johns Hopkins has been doing a very good job of gathering information, collating it and getting it out to man an dog:

    https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

    They also have a couple of other rabbit holes you can climb down if you like. Given they are a widely respected medical institution, I trust their data and advice more than say, Boris Johnson's or Donald Trump's.

  12. Danny 2 Silver badge

    No words, no money

    "There are no words, there is no money, that can show our appreciation for the NHS staff risking their lives for us"

    No money can show appreciation? How about quadrupling all their pay as an attempt, a starter? That's maybe not adequate but it would indicate appreciation, might make their jobs easier. Rather than bailing out airlines and cruise ships.

  13. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Even though America is one country while the European Union is 27, in some respects it is less united

    But America has more lawyers than the entire population of Europe. And they are hungry and out for blood.

  14. FrenchFries!

    "I smoked pot with Johnny Hopkins."

    https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

  15. The Kraken

    Already done - no apps required !

    Tracking is already implemented and being used in Australia, both to find those breaching self isolation orders, and to locate persons engaging in "un-necessary travel".

    The police already have the tools to do this without needing anything special in the way of apps.

  16. scarper

    MIT has a better idea

    https://news.mit.edu/2020/bluetooth-covid-19-contact-tracing-0409

    If I understand this correctly, it IS possible to be anonymous, until you realize that you have been near an infected person. At that point you voluntarily break anonymity by getting yourself tested.

    The gummint doesn't have to mandate this: the could use an incentive, like bundle it with free porn ...

  17. jospanner Bronze badge

    "explain away why a very, very small number of people should be allowed to hoard vast resources in defiance of every logical argument about efficiency and societal well-being."

    Capitalism is a very inefficient system, yes.

    State-capitalism or free market capitalism, it's awful at distributing resources to those that need them.

  18. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

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