European Croaking Contest

After a slow start the European Croaking Contest is finally making headlines but it’s the poor performance of Germany that’s puzzling commentators.

The German Problem
The leader board for the European Croaking Contest shows Germany lagging well behind in bronze position.

Their poor performance may be down to their late January start.

The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have been transmitted to Germany on 27 January 2020, when the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Bavaria. The majority of the COVID-19 cases in January and early February originated from the headquarters of a car parts manufacturer in Bavaria and, seemingly, from there to Northern Italy, where the company has offices, based on phylogenetic analysis of viral DNA.

Later, new clusters were introduced by travellers from Italy, China and Iran.

On 25 and 26 February, following the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy, multiple cases related to the Italian outbreak were detected in Baden-Württemberg.

Other cases, which were not related to the Italian clusters, occurred in multiple regions including Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.

A specific cluster formed in Heinsberg was linked to the Carnival in Gangelt.

Currently, the largest number of COVID-19 cases in Germany are in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Either way:

The German Death Count was stuck at zero for about six weeks.

The first deaths, a 89-year-old woman in Essen and a 78-year-old man in Heinsberg, were reported on 9 March.

Unfortunately, the German results are mired in controversy.

On the one hand:

The detailed data shows 10,999 cases and 20 deaths.

On the other hand:

The leader board data shows 15,320 cases and 44 deaths.

Unsurprisingly, rumours are circulating that cheating is rampant.


The rumours are underlined by the highly variable Death Rates.

Wherever the truth may lie it’s apparent that every region in Europe is trailing a long way behind Lombardy which is heading towards 18,000 cases and 2,000 deaths.

Finding an explanation for the Lombardy data is a challenge.

The Death Rates for Lombardy and Wuhan are continental outliers.

Lombardy and Wuhan both have air pollution problems.

But most significantly:

Lombardy and Piedmont contain “important clusters” of silicosis.

Silicosis is a form of occupational lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust. It is marked by inflammation and scarring in the form of nodular lesions in the upper lobes of the lungs. It is a type of pneumoconiosis.

Silicosis (particularly the acute form) is characterized by shortness of breath, cough, fever, and cyanosis (bluish skin). It may often be misdiagnosed as pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), pneumonia, or tuberculosis.

Silicosis resulted in 46,000 deaths globally in 2013 down from 55,000 deaths in 1990.

The name silicosis (from the Latin silex, or flint) was originally used in 1870 by Achille Visconti (1836–1911), prosector in the Ospedale Maggiore of Milan.

4590 deaths from silicosis were observed in eleven years, 98% of them among men. The average age at death was 79.8 years.

In fact, the historical presence of mining activities can be found in many important clusters, as in Piedmont in the Canavese area (mining and processing of gneiss rock, with over 30% of silica and talc) and in Chisone Valley (graphite extraction, talc mining and milling); in Lombardy in Bormio (quarries of quartzite and granite, both rocks with a high silica content, and gneiss); in Trentino-South Tyrol (porphyry quarries, with a silica content equal to 30-35%); in Tuscany in Scarlino (processing of titanium minerals) and Piazza al Serchio (silver mines); in Marche (sulphur removal); in Apulia (extraction of bauxite at Ugento); in Sicily (sulphur mine in Assoro); in Sardinia (coal mining in Buggerru, bauxite and granite in Orotelli).

Silicosis mortality in Italy: Temporal Trends 1990-2012 and Spatial Patterns 2000-2012
Giada Minelli, Amerigo Zona, Fulvio Cavariani, Pietro Comba and Roberto Pasetto
Annali dell’Istituto superiore di sanita 53(4):275-282 – October 2017

Gallery | This entry was posted in Economics, History, Medicine, Science. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to European Croaking Contest

  1. Flour dust also causes symptoms and death similar to silicosis.

  2. malagabay says:

    Entertaining and educational blogging from France by John Ward.
    Well worth a visit in these troubled times.

    I don’t want 550,000 deaths any more than you do: but COVID19 is what it is.

    Does anyone seriously believe that an additional risk to eight out of a thousand people is worth such an invasion of the civil rights of nine hundred and ninety-two out of a thousand people?

    Given I say this as somebody slap-bang in the middle of the vulnerable target hosts for C19, I humbly submit that you should give me the benefit of the doubt when I say, “This reaction is out of all proportion to the risk”.

    COVID19/CRASH2: the bare-faced scam that insists a virus is running the World
    The Slog – John Ward – 18 March 2020

    Only one question now remains:
    who’s going to pay to clear up this mess? You will be unsurprised to learn that the answer is “us”.

    The rush of naive and narrowly educated kids into an admiration for the unnatural means there is no longer a social bedrock aware of the fact that milk comes from cows, not bottles and tetrapacks.

    The self-isolation model now adopted by both Macron and Johnson will not see off Covid19: all it will achieve is a reduced level of embaressment for such neoliberals when their poor investment in public health comes to light.

    COVID19/CRASH2: Why the élite solutions are merely next year’s problems
    The Slog – John Ward – 20 March 2020

    The Slog – John Ward


    Tom Luongo hitting the ball out of the park [again] in rural Florida.

    Anxiety on Your Part Does Not Constitute a Crisis on Mine – Tom Luongo – 20 March 2020

  3. malagabay says:

    There is something wrong here.

    You do not destroy the world economy on this magnitude to even save 25,000 lives.

    Even if 40% of the population got this, with a death rate which is less than 3% (8% among the elderly), it does not warrant this economic destruction.

    They are wiping out small businesses, countless people have lost their jobs, others their entire pension fund, and there is no putting this back together again as nothing happened.

    This is a intentional economic destruction that is being carried out for an undisclosed purpose.

    Armstrong Economics – Martin Armstrong – 21 March 2020

  4. Patrick Donnelly says:

    The economy is banjaxxed anyway…

    The point of a gradual lockdown, apart from the wet dream of fascists, is to delay and string out the inevitable bank run.

    The reset is locked in, but getting the moolah out of the banks is still tricky… The Rich want it in their hands as well as in the tax havens, in binary code.

    Germany is clearly not playing cricket!

  5. malagabay says:

    Balcony Music: Italy vs Spain vs England
    Es Ka – 19 March 2020

  6. malagabay says:

    + + + Google Translation + + +

    The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak has killed 1,325 people in Spain and keeps at least 24,926 infected, according to the latest balance offered by the Ministry of Health.

    The fatality rate associated with the disease is currently at 5% and includes, above all, people over the age of 70 and 80.

    In order to delve into these data, the Ministry of Health will publish a detailed report of the coronavirus by age group.

    At the moment, what is known in this regard is that around 50% of those hospitalized are over 70 years old, while 70% of those admitted to the ICU exceed the 60-year-old barrier, according to Sierra.

    “The group of people under 30 years has an incidence of 5 or 10% maximum and those under 20 account for 1 or 2% of the patients admitted,” said the expert.

    Última hora del coronavirus: Pedro Sánchez avisa de que “la ola más dura” está por llegar – 21 March 2020 18:54

  7. Patrick Donnelly says:

    Deaths registered seems to be based on date of registration, not death? Xmas recess distorts figures.

    This is a great test of the sheep following orders. The old Chinese, police action in Korea, trick of identifying the prisones who would try to escape versus those who would not saved manpower re guard duty.

    “OBEY the rules, ‘citizen’ or else we put you away ‘cos Corona, you killer”!

  8. Patrick Donnelly says:

    The war on TERROR:

    WE lost;

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  11. malagabay says:

    Updated on March 21, 2020, at 17:20 GMT

    A total of 473 cases have been identified in Iceland since the first case on February 28th.
    One person with COVID-19 has died.
    Twelve individuals with COVID-19 are hospitalized.

    Government of Iceland

  12. malagabay says:

    European total mortality continues to decline!

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