Jane Kenwood is a feisty independent on a city council rife with skulduggery. When there is to be a vote on a casino project that she has been outspoken in opposing in a hung parliament, she disappears mysteriously.
Dr Phillip Keane, her partner, is a forensic scientist and sets up a think tank of her friends to investigate, with help from the police. The story has forensic science to savour and reveals corruption in partisan politics that disable governments.
The friends search systematically and find evidence of causal links between the perpetrators’ motives, suspects’ characteristics, crime scenes and the victim’s condition. Hypotheses reconstructing the heinous crime are related by an Euler walk, a theory of the crime able to convict, keeping you guessing until the dramatic final dénouement.
If party politicians join independents on the cross-bench, would developments wanted by the public be more or less likely to be approved?
‘Presumed Dead’ is a novel by Martin Knox set in a fictional council chamber within the Westminster system. Corruption at the big end of town is suspected when Jane Kenwood, a feisty councillor, disappears.
Herd immunity is the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that results if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through vaccination.
The prospects for a vaccine are, according to New Scientist, 21 March 2020, p45, ‘. . . the fastest we have ever cranked out a vaccine in response to an outbreak was with Ebola – and that took five years . . .‘
The other way is to allow 50-80% of the population to become infected quickly so that survivors will be in an immune herd. The strategy has ethical objections that it practices eugenics, aiming to improve the genetic quality of a human population. Some consider it is more ethical and politically viable to suppress the pandemic with economic and social restrictions that wreck the economy.
An article in aljazeera asks: Which countries have allowed the elderly and the sick to die in numbers, as an alternative to widespread economic damage caused by more stringent suppression measures?
Countries have responded differently, as is evident from this table.
|Deaths per million|
It remains to be seen if stringent suppression has merely delayed deaths until later, with more and longer lasting economic damage. A short sharp economic shock from epidemic virulence could possibly be less damaging overall, except for people who are without medical treatment. Countries that adopt a balance between medical and economic constraints may be best placed to countenance the uncertainties.
A possible philosophy is to keep hospital beds treating as many COVID-19 cases as possible.
Data: https://www.worldometers.info/ April 16th, 2020