Covid-19: Pandemonium in our time
While pandemonium has come to mean wild and noisy disorder, the reference here is to John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost and the upheaval following Lucifer's banishment from Heaven and his construction of Pandæmonium as his hub. Today's avalanche of conflicting news on how to deal with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) brings to mind the Trinity nuclear bomb test with Enrico Fermi estimating its strength by releasing small pieces of paper into the air and measuring their displacement by the shock wave. Fermi's result, in fact not far from the true value, emphasised his ability to make good approximations with few or no actual data. The current wave of Covid-19 presents just this kind of situation as it engulfs the world from ground zero in Wuhan, China. Much information is indeed missing, but datasets that might lead to useful ideas on how to handle this pandemic are steadily accumulating.
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