July 2024

A climate emergency and a Chinese virus – 50 years ago

(weekend blog)

I think we’ve been here before

Can you imagine a situation in which the world’s leading supposed ‘climate scientists’ are predicting a global climate catastrophe which will result in tens of millions of deaths and then suddenly a new flu virus originates in China and becomes a pandemic spreading throughout the world infecting tens of millions and killing several million?

Oh, that’s what’s happening now. We have supposedly ‘leading  scientists’ doing a great shroud-waving act as they predict dire consequences for mankind due to Global Warming or Climate Change or Climate Emergency or Climate Breakdown or whatever it’s called this month. Plus, of course, we have the wonderful Covid-19 Chinese plague pandemic which the Chinese, ably assisted by the ludicrously misnamed World Health Organisation, sent spreading around the world causing economic chaos and millions of deaths.

But by a curious coincidence, we seem to have had almost exactly the same situation about fifty years ago – in 1968/9.

Scientists’ 1968/9 climate catastrophe predictions

In the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, supposedly ‘leading climatologists’ (that may be an oxymoron) noticed a thickening of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice and a cooling of the Earth’s climate. What was happening? Well, most of us would probably conclude that this was just part of a natural cycle of warming and cooling that the Earth has gone through for thousands of years:

But such a simplistic conclusion was anathema to media-attention-hungry supposed ‘scientists’. They couldn’t wait thousands of years to get their few minutes of fame. So, out poured the ‘doom and disaster’ predictions and articles claiming we were heading into a new Ice Age:

This new Ice Age, would, we were warned, devastate agriculture in the Northern Hemisphere and lead to mass starvation and a population flight towards the Equator as people tried to escape the deadly cold. More importantly, the ‘scientists’ got their moment of fame.

The 1968/9 Chinese virus pandemic

Also in 1968/9 we had a Chinese virus pandemic. It was called the ‘Hong Kong flu’ but actually (surprise surprise) originated on mainland China. The Hong Kong flu (also known as 1968 flu pandemic) was a flu pandemic whose outbreak in 1968 and 1969 killed an estimated one to four million people globally. It was caused by an H3N2 strain of the influenza A virus, descended from H2N2 through antigenic shift, a genetic process in which genes from multiple subtypes reassorted to form a new virus:

The ‘R’ of this flu was estimated at 1.80.

In Berlin, the excessive number of deaths led to corpses being stored in subway tunnels, and in West Germany, garbage collectors had to bury the dead due to insufficient undertakers. In total, East and West Germany registered 60,000 estimated deaths. In some areas of France, half the workforce was bedridden, and manufacturing suffered large disruptions due to absenteeism. And throughout the West people died as hospitals were overwhelmed by flu patients (sound familiar?):

The United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that in total, the virus killed one million people worldwide, from its beginning in July 1968 until the outbreak faded during the winter of 1969–70. Though other estimates have been as high as four million deaths worldwide. The CDC estimated that about 100,000 people died in the U.S; most excess deaths were in those 65 and older (sound familiar?). However, fewer people died during this pandemic than in previous pandemics for several reasons:

  1. Some immunity against the N2 flu virus may have been retained in populations struck by the Asian Flu strains which had been circulating since 1957
  2. The pandemic did not gain momentum until near the winter school holidays, thus limiting the infection spreading
  3. Improved medical care gave vital support to the very ill
  4. The availability of antibiotics that were more effective against secondary bacterial infections
So, what has changed in the last 50 years?

Given the extraordinary similarities between 1968/9 and 2019/20 one might wonder what has changed in the last fifty or so years. What has changed is us – the general public. Fifty years ago we largely ignored the self-promoting supposed ‘scientists’ screaming doom and gloom with their new Ice Age and just got on with our lives. Nobody was transformed into a scientifically-illiterate, self-indulgent idiot weeping and wailing about the imminent extinction of mankind.

As for the media, they soon got tired of the ‘climate catastrophe’ story and the new Ice Age somehow eventually turned into today’s Global Warming scam. Moreover, just to highlight the farcical nature of the whole climate scam, one of the prime proponents of the new Ice Age theory, John P. Holdren, became (I believe) Saint Obama’s key scientific adviser on supposed Global Warming.

Moreover, fifty years ago we largely accepted yet another Chinese plague pandemic as being just a normal part of life and got on with our lives regardless. We didn’t shut down the whole economy and hide in our homes in (mostly media-induced?) terror.

It’s odd that none of the mainstream media seems to have noticed the similarities between 1968/9 and today as they hyperventilate over supposedly ‘catastrophic’ Climate Change and ‘catastrophic’ Covid-19 as if these were ‘unprecedented’. In fact, ‘unprecedented’ seems to be a favourite media word at the moment even though we were in almost exactly the same situation about half a century ago.

Here’s the inimitable Tony Heller reminding us of what the mainstream media chooses to ignore – we’ve been here before. This is not ‘unprecedented’:

11 comments to A climate emergency and a Chinese virus – 50 years ago

  • Roy Hartwell

    To be fair, The Telegraph had a very good article on the ’68 flu epidemic a week or two ago but as you say, very few of the MSM seem to want to acknowledge it’s existence!
    On another point, today’s Telegraph (Saturday) has a letter from a Geophysicist pointing out how there has been a weakening in the Earth’s magnetic field. It’s been shown that every million years (approx.) the Earth’s magnetic field flips i.e. North becomes South. If this happens quickly it’s inconvenient for a while. If it happens slowly and results in a loss of the magnetic field for a considerable period it will probably result in massive deaths (annihilation!) as it would allow cosmic rays to penetrate to the surface. Personally, this is a more realistic and scientifically defensible disaster than the global warming scam but not to the MSM!!

  • A Thorpe

    You are spot on with this. What is it about humanity that has changed in the last 50 years or so? If only history did repeat itself and we had learned from the 1968 pandemic. We are better educated than at any time in our history and yet the majority seem unable to benefit from that education.

    There is a connection between human caused climate change and this pandemic and it is that science and mathematics is being corrupted. I do not understand how anybody studying physics and knowing the laws of thermodynamics can accept that we are responsible for climate change. I know little about viruses but I can see that the statistics are being distorted. Deaths are not just from the virus and accurate statistics need several years of data to get an proper assessment of the impact of this virus.

    The politicians, media and so called scientists are lying to us constantly and the majority are unable to see that. We should always be seeking evidence for what we are told. There is no evidence to link our activities to climate change. There is no evidence to show that the virus control policies have prevented any deaths and the consequences for future deaths and the impact on the economy have been ignored. Evidence is vital to all our decisions but we have replaced this with hysteria and virtue signalling.

    Galileo had problems with the church and said: “In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual”. Einstein said the same but more relevant to today, “Blind belief in authority is the enemy of truth.”

    I have recently found the writing of Thomas Sowell and he said “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than putting those decision in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”

    We need to wake up before it is too late.

  • William Boreham

    A couple of recent reports sort of confirms that young folk have little to fear from covid-19, yet we have destroyed our whole economy in a vain effort to protect those who were ready for the bone yard anyway: – ROME — The overwhelming majority of deaths with coronavirus in Italy have occurred in the presence of two or more serious chronic illnesses, according to a report from the country’s national health authority (ISS). Italian health authorities announced in a recent report that only 4.1 percent of fatalities testing positive for Wuhan coronavirus happened in the absence of serious comorbidities, while the average age of the deceased was over 80 years.
    And Germany’s federal government and mainstream media are engaged in damage control after a report that challenges the established Corona narrative leaked from the interior ministry. Some of the report key passages are:
    The dangerousness of Covid-19 was overestimated: probably at no point did the danger posed by the new virus go beyond the normal level. The people who die from Corona are essentially those who would statistically die this year, because they have reached the end of their lives and their weakened bodies can no longer cope with any random everyday stress (including the approximately 150 viruses currently in circulation).
    Our own Office of National Statistics reports confirm that over 90 percent of those who die are in the over 70/80 group and most of them with ‘underlying health issues.’ Those who are aged under 50 are virtually immune.

    The situation with the sun seems far more worrying, this from an American survival site:
    “Without the sun, life on Earth could not exist, and so the fact that it is behaving so weirdly right now should be big news. Sadly, most mainstream news outlets are largely ignoring this story. At a time when the world is already being hit with major crisis after major crisis, our sun is behaving in ways that we have never seen before.  For as long as records have been kept, the sun has never been quieter than it has been in 2019 and 2020, and as you will see below we are being warned that we have now entered “a very deep solar minimum”.  Unfortunately, other very deep solar minimums throughout history have corresponded with brutally cold temperatures and horrific global famines, and of course this new solar minimum comes at a time when the United Nations is already warning that we are on the verge of biblical famines throughout the world, So we better hope that the sun wakes up soon, because the alternative is almost too horrifying to talk about.

  • loppoman

    Will not believe anything the UN tells me.
    Have they ever been right about anything?

  • Bob t

    You were warned long ago, now you will meet your fate.

    Aldous Huxley Interview

  • david brown

    Peter Hitchens covered 1968 pandemic a number of times in his opposition to Lockdown. 1968 UK was another country to 2020 UK
    Most of the people who died than and now of the virus where old with other underlying conditions.
    The Figures for hard Italy said that 10 of 11 Deaths where to people in their late 70s with other underlying conditions.
    The massive damage to our economy will close down companies, destroy a few million jobs, drive up suicides.

  • OneBornEveryMinute

    As an NHS doctor, I’ve seen people die and be listed as a victim of coronavirus without ever being tested for it. But unless we have accurate data, we won’t know which has killed more: the disease or the lockdown?

  • A Thorpe

    I’m no expert in statistics but there are obvious problems in these discussions and references. There is still talk of people dying of Covid19 not with it, but the majority have comorbidities. It is a distortion of statistics to claim the deaths to be only due to Corvid19. All we really know is the total number of deaths in a given period, say a year. Several years of data are needed to produce statistics. There will be a variation from year to year but this is expected. This year extra deaths from the virus might not be statistically significant but we need enough data to determine this and we don’t have it yet. It is only a judgement about the main cause of death, but when we have the data we can see how many people died with different diseases, which gives us the relative death rates. Covid19 will be very low on the list. Listening to the news it seems that not a single person has had seasonal flu this year, so there is something to celebrate.

  • OneBornEveryMinute

    NO social distancing here.why do you sheeple comply??

  • Hardcastle

    A Thorpe,you rightly point out that we are better educated than in the past and that should enable us to avoid the absurdities that now engulf us.I would as a teacher for 40 years disagree with the better educated.Yes there is more “education” about but as with most things,more does not necessarily equate with quality.During my career I witnessed the following trends.The dumbing down of key areas of the curriculum under the disguise of relevance.Important vital elements were rejected as being too difficult,how patronising is that,for pupils who were judged,often incorrectly,as having insufficient ability to understand certain concepts or content.That allied with the concept of mixed ability resulted in swathes of pupils only being exposed to a diet of low level mediocrity.Little challenge equals boredom and low achievement.The school leaving age was raised to 16 and then to 18 meaning youngsters raring to grow up and get out into the world of work were denied the opportunity to mature and fly.It should not be underestimated that for many young people school was not the place where their education commenced.I witnessed many bright,able youngsters achieve great things once out in the workplace.Schools are largely controlled by academics who often have a very narrow view of the educational process which despite the constant concerns from industry are still dominant.With regard to your comments on numeracy levels,or rather the lack of them amongst the general population.During my career I witnessed the gradual decline and virtual elimination of any mathematical elements in areas of the curriculum other than Maths.My teaching subject,Geography,when I was at school and when I started teaching had large elements of applied mathematics.I can remember teaching how to calculate gradients from OS maps as a basic skill with Yr9 students,I wonder how many University students can do that now? If pupils are not introduced to the relevence of Maths skills to others areas of study,how on earth are they ever going to make the connection? 50% of the population does not equate to a more educated population.In fact I think it has led to a less mature,more entitled generation with little if any exposure to the real world of work at an age where it would make a significant impact.The infantile reactions from large sections of the population,to this present situation,I think,justifies my argument.I could go on at length,but have said enough.

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