5 August, 2020

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A Tale Of Two Epidemics: Malaria (1930-1960) And Covid-19 (2016 – 20??)

By Rajan Philips

Rajan Philips

Giving a little background to the topic of my article today would be in order. I am neither an Epidemiologist nor a Historian. I am unrepentantly and incurably infected by politics, and my professional work straddles policy development informed by Urban Planning and Civil Engineering. In the course of reading and writing about the coronavirus outbreak and its economic implications, I have been struck by the need for and the ease with which many developed countries moved to repurpose their established assembly lines (vacuum cleaner manufacturers in England, automakers in Germany and the US, and so on) to produce ventilators and personal protection equipment (PPE) to meet the demand for them among hospital ICUs and frontline healthcare workers, just-in-time for treating Covid-19 patients. The demand has now expanded beyond repurposing and national requirements, which are substantial themselves. The UN has set up a new supply task force to ensure a monthly global supply of “at least 100 million medical masks and gloves, up to 25 million N-95 respirators, gowns and face shields, up to 2.5 million diagnostic tests and large quantities of oxygen concentrators and other equipment for clinical care.” The UN’s World Food Programme will airfreight the PPEs and testing kits to the world’s hotspots from about eight hubs.

Being somewhat familiar with Sri Lanka’s industrial sector both professionally and personally, given my fortuitous association with a number of my Peradeniya contemporaries (N.G. Wickramaratne, B.A. Mahipala, and the late Lakshman Tilakaratne, among others) some of whom played a pioneering role in the development of export products during the 1980s and 1990s, I wanted to elaborate in my Sunday Island column, the idea of using Sri Lanka’s manufacturing knowhow to take advantage of the growing global demand for healthcare products and open a new and somewhat altruistic avenue for earning desperately needed foreign exchange. Needless to say, a number of Sri Lankan firms are already into action, making these products to serve domestic requirements and for exporting overseas. Men and Women of productive action do not wait for government policy or political commentaries. And thankfully so. 

Yet, there is much to write about manufacturing for export in the context of the current epidemic and economic crises. Being more reflective than innovative, I have often thought about two insightful observations by Tanky (N.G.) Wickramaratne, former Hayley’s Chairman, during our occasional conversations. One is that those in the industry do not generally receive product or market specific ideas from economic policy discussions. A point that resonates with Prof. Kumar David’s call for a ‘product mix’ for Sri Lanka’s export industry, that he made with pedagogical persistence throughout the life of the yahapalana government. Nothing worthwhile came out of that regime for the country’s economy, other than Ranil Wickremasinghe’s tedious mantra of a million jobs. Is the new Administration capable of using the current opportunity to come up with something less empty, more strategic and practically innovative ? 

That brings me to Tanky’s second observation that former President Premadasa’s 200 garment factory initiative was a ‘game changer’ (I am paraphrasing) in the export business. Is there anything from the Premadasa playbook that would be of relevance now? That became my question. Looking for answers, I started with Lakshman Watawala’s (the late President’s handpicked man to lead the GCEC/BOI and to launch the 200 Garment Factory Programme) accounts of the garment factory initiative. Then I began going through standard writings on Sri Lanka’s trade, industrial exports and balance of payments, along with new additions like Saman Kelegama’s comprehensive symposium – Ready Made Garment Industry, and Caitrin Lynch’s penetrating ethnography – Juki Girls, until I stumbled on a table of figures in Donald Snodgrass’s 1966 classic: Ceylon: An Export Economy In Transition. 

Table 4-3 in Snodgrass’s book: Malaria Mortality and Morbidity, 1930-1960, which I have not previously remembered as a source for anything, suddenly became the source for everything in the current coronavirus context. The rest is outlined below as a short tale (after this rather lengthy background) of two epidemics: Malaria and Covid-19, under three topical headings: epidemiology, economic impacts and political response.  The original purpose of revisiting President Premadasa’s garment factory initiative will have to wait for another Sunday. Except to say that I have generally been critical of Mr. Premadasa’s urban and housing development initiatives and his creation of the Urban Development Authority with its national mandate at the expense of Local Government. The garment factory initiative is something else, and is worth revisiting in today’s situation.  

Epidemiology

Sri Lanka, then colonial Ceylon, was ravaged by malaria for over two decades starting in 1930. The disease was on a decline after about 1952, but persisted until it was officially eradicated in the 1960s. We have all heard about the malaria epidemic of the 1930s, and endemic malaria has been a fact of Sri Lankan life from pre-colonial times. But in today’s Covid-19 world, it is truly startling to recall the extent of the mortality and morbidity of the malaria epidemic almost a century ago. Snodgrass’s account of the malaria epidemic is  part of his discussion of the “revolutionary changes in the island’s pattern of population growth” during the 1930s and 1940s, which together with World War II and independence brought the “classical era of the export economy to an end and ushered in a period of transition to an uncertain future.”      

Snodgrass (Table 4-3) provides morbidity and mortality data for three decades, from 1930 to 1960. The first two decades (1930-1950) were the worst, when nearly 150,000 people died over the twenty-year period. The number of reported cases were generally over two million every year during the two decades, when the country’s population was only 5.6 million. In 1935 alone, the peak year of the epidemic, a total of 5.4 million malaria cases were treated according to case records in hospitals and dispensaries. Obviously, the recorded cases would have included multiple visits by the same patients, but it is a staggering number relative to the national population. According to a surprisingly brief account of the epidemic in the University of Ceylon, History of Ceylon (Volume 3), Kurunegala and Kegalle were the worst affected Districts, and in one month (1935 January), Kurunegala alone suffered 27,735 deaths.

The malaria statistics from the 1930s should be a sobering reminder to the decision makers of today, political as well as professional, and to their military executors. They are a reminder that if it could have been so bad with malaria, which was not a global pandemic when it ravaged Sri Lanka, how worse things could turn with Covid-19 if the coronavirus were to get out of control now. No body wants to see tens of thousands of deaths in a single month anywhere in Sri Lanka now, as people in Kurunegala helplessly did during the fateful January of 1935. The question is how confident the people can be that the worst is behind them and that their government has the coronavirus under control. The fact of the matter is that no one has the coronavirus under control.   

Malaria, a disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes, the deadlier female Anopheles, is now a known quantity and one that is preventable and curable. Sri Lanka is among the countries that are certified by the WHO for eradicating the disease. But malaria is still endemic in many parts of the world, mostly in Africa, and according to the WHO, there were 228 million malaria cases worldwide in 2018, with 405,000 deaths. The current prevalence of malaria is entirely due to socioeconomic factors. When malaria ravaged Sri Lanka the main causes were also socioeconomic, but there were other factors also. The therapeutic treatment was not as developed as it is now and the use of DDT as insecticide was just being developed. Both made the difference in Sri Lanka, first to mitigate malaria and then to eradicate the disease. 

According to the WHO’s description, Malaria is an acute febrile illness whose initial symptoms are fever, headache, and chills, and if not treated early it could get severe and oftentimes fatal. Unlike Covid-19 which primarily targets the elderly, children, especially aged under five are the most vulnerable against malaria. Quinine was the main treatment against malaria during the epidemic. Prepared from the bark of a Peruvian tree, cinchona, and intercontinentally bandied around by Jesuits, quinine has been in use to treat malaria from the 17th century. In colonial India, gin was added to minimize quinine’s bitterness and the gin and tonic English cocktail was apparently born. 

For the tens of thousands of Sri Lankan victims of malaria there was neither gin nor tonic. Redemption came only with DDT, which was used as a spray to kill mosquitos. Killing the mosquitos (vector control) has been the most successful method to reduce malaria transmission. First synthesized as an organic chemical compound in Austria in 1874, the use of DDT (Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane) as an insecticide was not discovered until 1939 in Switzerland. DDT was available for the first time in the US in October 1945, and by November a spraying program was inaugurated in the Anuradhapura District. The DDT’s effect was dramatic and within two years the program was extended to cover the whole island. 1.8 million houses were sprayed in 1947, and the number increased to 3.4 million the following year. By 1953/54, deaths had dropped to under 1000, for the first time in almost twenty five years, and the number cases fell below  100,000.  

The Sri Lankan malarial epidemic, or ‘the Ceylon epidemic’ as it used to be called, has been extensively studied, and in the 1950s the British epidemiologist George MacDonald used the Ceylon case study in developing the first application of ‘basic production number’ (or rate) for epidemics, the celebrated R0 (R naught or R zero). R0 represents the number of additional infections that one infected person can generate in a population. MacDonald has used estimates of 7.9 and 10 as R0 the malaria epidemic. Based on these numbers the herd immunity [(R0-1)/R0] for malaria without DDT would have been around 90%. 

R0 for Covid-19 is considered to be between 2.5 and 3.5 ( depending on countries and locations), and that would suggest a herd immunity threshold of 60 to 70%,i.e., 60 to 70% of the population will have to be infected before virus transmission can be stopped. Until a vaccine arrives on the scene, social isolation and lockdown measures are the only tools available to reduce the value of R0. Virus transmission ends when R0 is reduced to being less than one, but that is not the end of the virus. 

There is optimism that a vaccine breakthrough might come as early as January 2021. There is ‘ethical’ potential for a new therapy in Remdesivir, a “broad-spectrum antiviral medication” with established safety profile which has been previously developed as treatment for SARS, MERS and Ebola. These efforts may or may not come to fruition, and in the desired short timeline, according to experts. The same experts also acknowledge when nothing else is working against the coronavirus it is natural to be enthusiastic about every new development that is going on. 

Whither Covid-19

Outside South Asia, the general assessment is that the first wave of the virus is now over, the transmission has either stopped or is significantly slowing, and the affected countries can begin to ease up, while being fully prepared for the next wave. For South Asian countries, including Sri Lanka, there is no certainty as to whether or not the first wave is past them, and there is no clarity about what is ahead in the next few weeks and months. There were 600 cases in India, when the Modi government began the lockdown, on March 25. Now, just over a month after, the cases have multiplied fifty times and the total is past 33,000 and the number of deaths is upward of 1000. The stories in Pakistan and Bangladesh are not any different.  

Sri Lanka’s Covid-19 numbers – less than 700 cases and seven deaths – are mercifully lower than what would have been the daily tally during the malaria epidemic. The low numbers should be a cause for cautious optimism, and the country should be in a position like New Zealand. The island country of five million people has about 1000 cases and 19 deaths, and it is confidently returning to normalcy but fully prepared for the second wave of the coronavirus. New Zealand’s much larger neighbour, Australia, an island continent, is almost equally well placed. 

In Sri Lanka, there is no certainty or assuredness about what lies ahead. The country is under a prolonged curfew to enforce social isolation. As many people are in custody for breaking the curfew as have been tested for Covid-19, or sent to quarantine without being tested. Every time there is an announcement of relaxation, there is a spike in the number of cases and the curfew is extended. And the most recent spikes in cases are among the custodians of Covid-19 quarantines – the armed forces. There is growing skepticism about even the Covid-19 statistics that are put out by the officials. In yesterday’s Island, Dr. Vinoth Ramachandra called it strange that after six weeks of lockdown, “the ‘official’ deaths have remained static for the past two weeks and ‘official’ infections are miniscule in comparison with other countries.” He went on to ask the officials “is there another purpose that the lockdown serves?”

The Alliance of Independent Professionals has been raising similar questions in its periodical ‘statement of facts’ on the Covid-19 crisis. Is testing being deliberately kept under capacity to keep the case numbers low? Are clinical case definitions being ignored or tampered with where Covid-19 testing is not available? Are patient deaths being properly recorded with causes prior to cremations? It is unethical and illegal to tamper with official data or their collection. Where data involve helpless patients, it is also heartless and immoral to tamper with them or destroy them. And monkeying with data involving the coronavirus will boomerang spectacularly, because without reliable information there cannot be a plan to break the chain of transmission of the virus.

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Latest comments

  • 15
    1

    Dear Writer,
    .
    My problem is why on earth Dr PADDENIYA and those murderers in GMOA as neuro paediatriacian AND just basic medical degree holders ,seem to have lot to do with community diseases ? even if they bring nothing like such qualification, but take part in most crucial meetings, where the fate of the nation is going to be decided …
    .
    And why should Dr Paddeniya sit with these men ? , while Universiity experts (Professors in Epidemiology, Community diseases aren not called for to sit in such sessions?) in Community disease and control seem to be out of their focus ?

    Are we that stupid nation to see this repeating by Rajapakshes ? Why people stay mum as if they approve it ?

    That alone proves that incumbent RULERS have not the least idea about COVID-19 control. That should be the reason them to have landed far behind even poor African states, in terms of containment of the SARs COV2 aka COVID-19 virus.
    .
    Vietnam – Population 97mio, Per Capita – 7000 US – PCR test performed sofar – 2 20 000- death rate ZERO
    .
    Srilanka – Population 22mio, Per Capita – 4000 US – PCR test performed sofar – 20 000 or less
    death 7 sofar

    Venezeula – Population 28mio, Per Capita – 3000 US – PCR test performed sofar – 458,737 o
    death 10 sofar

    Nepal – Population 27mio, Per Capita – 900US – PCR test performed sofar – 61 000 Zero death sofar sofar

    Taiwan – Population 23 mio, Per Capita – 25000US – PCR test performed sofar – 66000 6x death sofar sofar

    • 3
      9

      My dear leela ge …………,
      /
      No one cared about your ranting……..
      It’s not our fault that you have nothing important to do.
      You and your slow-witted kind did this before presidential election…….
      Who cared….????
      No one listen to your lies.
      Remember “Third preference vote” bullshit..?
      Remember “Citizenship” bullshit..?
      Remember “Common platform” bullshit..??
      No one listen to you slow-witted people’s bullshit.
      /
      We have a President with a whole life of proven achievements elected in a free and fair election.
      He knows how to select and appoint responsible officers.
      We don’t need your blind guidelines to govern the country.
      \
      Get lost mate……..
      No one is going to miss you……..

      • 5
        0

        First how can we be mates ?

        I have no mates of your nature – so first clear it please.

        We are becoming clear that you are an ultra MODAYA::: who would see a nurse if you are really sick…. like wise, your ballige puthas and Gurus leave the nation in danger not being able to see it right yet. Who on earth, GMOA dogs would be placed before the nation, while high levels meetings are being set for saving more lives … as if we dont have UNIVERSITY dons in the areas of CONTAGIOUS DISEASE CONTROL and the like.. and epidemiologists and other specialists as any right thinking leaership would call for right very critical TURNING point of our nation…
        .
        Just imagine, IF NEPAL could control it to the best, making them an Example, it is a shame srilanka as a self-proclaimed MID INCOME earning nation to have failed it right ? THat is the very simple question even 10 year old would repeatedly raise next days.

        This happens when HANG MEN with their lower qualifications get elected as the LEADERSHIP of the country. We once experienced it to the core under STUPID Sirisena,… now again, his masters are in place.. so what good can the people EXPECT from them ?
        :

      • 2
        0

        Eradication of malaria in Sri Lanka was praised and cited as an example by WHO. At that time DDT was very effective in preventing mosquito breeding and chloroquine was very effecting in killing the parasite. But hell broke loose after that. In 1961, government ran short of money leading to ban of imports of foreign goods. Due to cash shortage, Government cut spending on Malaria campaign. This complacence caused Malaria to become rampant again. At the same time mosquitoes became resistant to DDT and parasite became resistant to chloroquine. Since 1967 malaria became endemic in parts of the country. In 1975 Malathion was introduced to spray instead of DDT, but due to the pungent smell it did not receive the same acceptance like DDT. I was asked to oversee anti-Malaria program in Moneragala district at that time and experienced what was happening. Corruption that was widespread in the country, set in among the staff. Malathion was a very good pesticide and was sold to farmers instead of spraying houses and stagnant pools. Also anti-malarial drugs were sold to dispensaries, instead of treating patients in remote areas. Fortunately Malaria did not become a bad killer like in African nations.

        • 2
          0

          Dear Dr GS,
          .
          DDT is a cancerogenic. Even if developed world banned it, it was still used in whole lot of developing countries also in 80ties.
          :
          I think not only because of poor economy, but also resistance of DDT to anopheles and several other factors should have played a huge role the increse of malariya incidents in early 60ties. Malayria was also a threat to europeans in 50ties or so, as my teachers shared me it then.
          I think even today, they srilanken dont care about the precautionary actions that those farmers should take, while using them into their farming, and that is also the main reason, them to be caught by UKKD in Rajarata and the like areas. Those Glyphosat should have made compounds with cadmium and iron so that the cortex of kidneys could easily be damaged. MR govt never controll those chemicals being imported into the country, but he only strenghthened the hands of those abusive agro business men so long MR et al was bribed (as discounts) sufficiently.

      • 0
        0

        SQP
        How many do you think will miss you in a positive way?
        I am not a judge of brain capabilities. But what make you think that you are quick witted?
        There is a more civilized way to communicate I would say.

        • 0
          0

          S.J,
          One shouldn’t punish children for the sins of their parents. But some children really ask for it.

    • 2
      0

      Who are these guys on the picture ?

      Apawithara Wannihamy is reported to be holder of a a Basic DEGREE in Law with her specialization on selling fish/fish mongering (malukara gaeniyek waage kathawa – lately, I heard her saying, ” those countries that selfproclaim to be developed are caught more by CORONA crisis – pointing her fingers at USA and European nations )… cant the bitch yet feel it, that EU offered them over 22 millions of our begging nation few weeks ago ? why should we an another begging nation, make our picture always overestimating it ? Is NOT that the problem that the psychologists should have to analyse rather than the CORONA crisis – giving the priority ?

      why should just a child doctor be the lead of the health care in a situation the incumbent govt is on a crucial discussions about how they could do better to prevent the disease further across the island nation ?

      Epidemiologists – Community disease specialists ( Dont we have them in each medical faculties of the island’s medical colleges ?) should be the LEADING men in such crisis maangement also in POOR tribal countries in Africa. These men should learn it from former far poor country ETHIOPIA and their specialists how they exchange these days.
      .
      All these very basics that are missing in GOTAS administration alone PROVE how their WIYATHMAGA practically works ? Or not ? What do those WIYATHMAGA pseudo interllectuals have to say in this regard ? Would they too respect the decisions being made by STUPID men in leadership today ?

      • 2
        0

        I think THAT Dr Anil Jasinghe the current SECRETARY to Ministry of Health is caught by the Rajaakshe mafia… that may be the reason him to add that there are no more infected patients reported yesterday.


        In fact I found the following information now in the web.. number still go up… they are far away from the TAIWANESE.

        Sri Lanka at of 3 May 2020
        Coronavirus Cases:
        705
        Deaths:
        7
        Recovered:
        172

  • 5
    0

    Gota ‘s nemesis is not reconvening the parliament.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQBmZI1nv3A
    :
    Rohitha Abeygunawardhana – just former driver and black money maker – how can he know about the paragraphs in the Constitution ?

    They dont care about paragraphs in the constitution.
    :
    Entire world will loose the resepct on the GOVT, if parliament would not be reconvened. If the bugger duo would only focus on ego boost – this govt will have no future at all.

    • 6
      0

      If majority of island nation would not grasph it – in a few months now, they will have to clap whatever the step being taken by Rajaakshe medamula pattapal horu.. to the very same manner, you will see under the following video
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6can6Xy5NpU

      We dont want to become ananother NOrth korea right ?

  • 3
    0

    Sorry but Sri Lanka is a lost cause and it will be like that for some time to come. SINHALESE elected a person with no experience or competency to lead a country but with number of criminal allegations.

    Don’t expect them to leave any time soon, with Covid 19 they have another windfall like Tsunami and the same players have got in position.

  • 1
    0

    Thanks to Dr.Hoole for reminding us of the Malaria epidemic. Many who are agonizing about the hundreds of Covid-19 cases , are unaware of the carnage that Malaria caused. This includes those at the top who think vedamahattayas have all the answers. It makes one ask the question whether all this free education really makes any difference ?
    “strange that after six weeks of lockdown, “the ‘official’ deaths have remained static for the past two weeks and ‘official’ infections are miniscule in comparison with other countries.”
    Hasn’t the author heard of the sudden epidemic of rat fever in Navy camps?

    • 0
      0

      Dear Old Codger,
      .
      Dr Ratnajeevan Hoole – we owe him so much that he is always in our minds.
      .
      It explains your Freudian Slip. You obviously meant to thank Rajan Philips, who regularly writes sound articles without pretending to be an unassailable authority.
      .
      Pasqual (above) and Helios (below) scorn the efforts of the average intelligent persons (the indefatigable “leelagemalli”, you, and, no doubt next me) to use common sense to understand what is happening.
      .
      I think that we must see the “Naval deaths” spike as being the result of “Special Circumstances” (the need to look after the Rajapaksa Brothers) and many months from now, if they are ignored, we will perceive a steady increase – I’m sorry, this is an even gloomier prophesy.
      .
      There are areas where we can extrapolate data gathered by others; other areas where we know things at first hand.
      .
      How this epidemic will affect Education is hardly a pressing issue right now, but I’m grateful to
      Hasini Lecawasam
      of Peradeniya University for highlighting the problem:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/free-education-in-the-time-of-corona/
      .
      Retired teacher though I am, I’m aware of many aspects of this problem. I must think, and then comment. Panini Edirisinhe

      • 0
        0

        Dear S.M,
        Yes, that was a slip. I thought the piece was written by Prof.Hoole’s brother .
        I rather think there is too much fuss being made about this epidemic considering that tens of thousands of people died even in this country due to Spanish flu and Malaria. Of course those of our age group are most at risk, but haven’t we lived our lives? We must think of the millions who will be out of work and close to starvation. Printing money and creating sunshine stories about self-sufficiency won’t do. People MUST be allowed to work, with reasonable precautions in place.

        • 0
          0

          SM,
          I have seen your complaints about this “captcha” business.
          It really is simpler than it seems. You don’t have to type in the capitals as in the image. Simple letters will work fine.

          • 0
            0

            Thanks for the tip, old codger.
            .
            Let me try it out. The captcha that I have been given now has no “O” or “0”. That is another ambiguity.
            .
            And, I think one gets used to some of the other characters. I see q, but the 9 is quite different, isn’t it?
            .
            We shouldn’t all be trying to run this website, should we? Let Uvindu K. &Co, manage it for us.
            .
            I also agree with you about our having lived our lives. We must be prepared to go, only I don’t want to delude myself that “there is a place in heaven prepared” for me.
            .
            “leelagemalli” is a sweet guy who is appalled when I say such things. We’re being realistic, not fatalistic. He’s the only guy who has so far responded to the pretty Hasini on Education.

            • 0
              0

              The captcha worked here, perfectly, bur not when I tried it out elsewhere.
              .
              However, two other things have happened on this page. It is still said that I’m logged in as “Sinhala_Man”, but the comment has appeared under the name of “Panini Edirisinhe”. I don’t mind that at all.
              .
              SJ has become Sivanandam Sivasegaram, the odious Pasqual’s first name is “Chaminda”.
              .
              However, all Gravatars have also disappeared -from all articles written after the birthday of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes – the 23rd of April.
              .

    • 1
      0

      OC
      Even if the government is cheating on numbers as you suspect, the difference between real and official rates of infection and death cannot be significant.
      A noticeably large number of deaths will make waves among the public, at least locally, and whispers about suspicious deaths will prosper.
      We are lucky to have a low death rate, despite the government.
      Vietnam has zero rate.
      There are many with low rates.
      Let not our suspicions about the regime affect our objectivity.

      • 1
        0

        SJ,
        .
        hope not that MEGALO BROTHER DUO would kill all the infected at once so that they could achieve their 2/3 quicker. I donot trust the duo – they are born with killing friendly brutalities in their genomes. If Sirisena could ignore the 300 of worshipers being killed on that easter sunday bombing… why cannot his mafia bosses for whom SIRISENA paved the way return ?
        :
        See how they get on with the destitute that struggle for that 5000 bucks ( 25 dollars) these days. we talk high about people and their levels of economic improvement during the recent past, but now the ground realities came up – thanks to COVID 19 crisis.. over 40% of our people are under poverty line. If COVID crisis would not find its end soon, the dichotomy between poor and rich will be almost like that of neigbouring india (in india around 70% of their population are under poverty).

      • 0
        0

        SJ.
        Whatever the real death rates, I would be happier if they didn’t use them to buttress the “management skills” of the Great Man.

  • 4
    6

    The writer does nothing more than proving his already admite fact that he is” neither an Epidemiologist nor a Historian”. Unfortunately that is the only relevant fact in the article.
    =
    His ignorance on the detail of the subject has taken him to the realms of conspiracy theories about such matters as clinical case definitions, Covid-19 testing, patient deaths recording and a host of other mattes, leading him to the ‘discovery’ that it is unethical and illegal to tamper with official data.
    =
    The charge of data manipulation is so absurd, it is not worth commenting on, other than to ask the question, “Why on earth a person with such a limited knowledge base on the subject tries to write a compendium on the very subject.,

  • 6
    3

    Helios,
    Are you a historian or epideomiolist? Do you think Srilanka’s president is a political scientist or an statistician or economist? If you do not understand what is in the article, please keep away from commenting.

  • 2
    1

    Illiterate comments of individuals like Helios diminishes the quality of Colombo Telegraph. Such individuals must have their anal canals emptying into their craniums. Anyone is welcome to be critical, but when such criticism is befouled with personal insults and irrelevancies, the individuals shows themselves up as having other evil agendas. This god of the sun is anything but.

    • 1
      0

      Sonali
      Rude comments generally pass without protest as long as they support our long held views and become an issue only when the comment contradicts our views.
      This is no defence of the uncouth comments of Helios and SC Pasqual on this page.
      Do we care to protest against name calling and vile provocation?
      Offensive reference to caste is made regularly by someone, but very few object.
      There are a few who seem to think that calling others fools, imbeciles etc. makes them appear intellectually superior. Do we bother to protest?
      Upholding norms cannot be confined to a few selected themes.

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