Liechtenstein stays open

The petty fiefdom and offshore banking centre is keeping its concert hall open for the time being.

The Liechtenstein Symphony Orchestra will continue to perform in the capital, Vaduz.

What do they know that we don’t?

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      • Here we are again. If “CV-19 is not dangerous (N.B. ‘not dangerous’, not ‘not a risk’) for the vast majority” is a lie, it follows that “Everybody, regardless of age, health, obesity, or occupation, is in equal danger of serious illness and death from Covid-19” must be true. Is that your position? The global statistics tell a different story.

        I do understand the politics of the message, and the danger of encouraging complacency. But there is also a danger in feeding people easily falsifiable untruths – they will then be much less inclined to trust anything else you say. You of all people should know that all misinformation is harmful.

        (But I now do see a flaw in Anthony’s statement: the ‘vast majority’. In certain highly developed Western democracies there are disproportionately large numbers of older people, and of younger people suffering lifestyle and/or poverty-related diseases such as obesity or addiction, as well as many others with chronic illnesses. So perhaps only a minority are ‘healthy working-age’ – but for those the danger will be less.)

        And re Doc Martin’s post on re-infection. Certainly, anybody taking an intelligent interest knows by now that being infected by CV-19, as with the common cold and like seasonal flu, does not confer long-term immunity. But the site he linked to, dated September 21, reported six cases of non-immune compromised individuals ages from 25-51. Of these, one required hospitalization on the second episode, two had serious symptoms but did not require hospitalization, one was asymptomatic on the second episode, and two were asymptomatic on both episodes.

        • Anthony Sayer’s post is not a one-off. He posts misinformation wantonly. This is just one instance.

          COVID-19 is dangerous to everyone, in the sense that nobody knows ahead of time what the end result will be of an infection. There are actuarial trends that suggest that person A may be more susceptible than person B, but no guarantees.

          For example, the statistics show that healthy people under 50 are less susceptible, yet one former neighbor of mine was killed by COVID-19. He was in his late 30s or early 40s and healthy. He left behind a wife and two young daughters.

          In the U.S., there have been over 220,000 deaths with over 7,000,000 infections. That’s a death rate of about 2 1/2 percent. The actual death rate may be higher, for actuaries have determined that the U.S. has suffered over 300,000 more deaths thus far this year than otherwise ordinarily expected.

          Three people I know were killed by COVID-19.

          Of those not killed, many have suffered long-term damage which may be permanent.

          One person I know, a wind player on the Julliard faculty, may have permanent damage to his lungs. He was hospitalized, and had a long recovery. Needless to say, any damage to the lungs is of great concern to a wind player.

          Of those not killed and maimed, many have had symptoms far beyond the ordinary flu.

          One person I know lost her sense of smell and taste for over a month, among other symptoms. At least in her case it wasn’t permanent.

          Of those who are asymptomatic or who have only a mild case, they can spread the disease to other people, possibly unknowingly.

          So yes, I’m calling out all those who repeat lies and misinformation about this pandemic. This virus *is* dangerous for the vast majority of the population. In fact, it’s a danger to the entire population.

          Unfortunately, here in the U.S., the leader in the spread of misinformation is the orange enemy of the people himself.

          Today is Election Day. I hope that the electorate votes him out of office, and that he peacefully leaves office.

          The latter is not assured. One of the great strengths of the U.S. democracy, is that, in our 240 year history, there has always been a peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next. This has been the case even when the two men disagreed profoundly on the issues, such as when President John Adams handed off the presidency to President Jefferson over 200 years ago. Even in the case of the Civil War, the southern states may have attempted to secede after the 1860 election and inauguration of President Lincoln, but the handoff from President Buchanan (generally acknowledged to have been the worst president in our history until Trump) to Lincoln was peaceful.

          The orange enemy of the people has threatened not to accept the results of a Biden victory. He has teams of lawyers trying to undermine the vote. He is jining up his armed right wing white supremacist supporters for battle. We already saw a bus full of Biden supporters forced off the highway by supporters of the orange enemy of the people.

          The next few weeks, from now until Inauguration Day, may be a dangerous time in U.S. history. I’d love to be proved wrong. Time will tell.

          In the meantime, we still have a pandemic raging in this country, that has been woefully mishandled and mostly ignored by our Federal government.

          Even though I wish that Doc Martin would open his ears to beautiful 20th century music, he’s on the money as far as the pandemic is concerned. I’m glad that he’s countering misinformation from the POV of a doctor.

          • Perhaps we are talking at cross-purposes here, with different definitions of ‘risk’ and ‘danger’. Of course the pandemic endangers the whole world, in many different ways, in terms of economics as well as of disease. Have I denied this? Have I sought to diminish the death-toll or minimize the very serious symptoms suffered by some, including younger fitter people? Have I ever implied that it is wrong that every precaution possible be taken so as to limit and control the spread of the disease? None of the covid-19 facts you parade are new to me (I pass over the political half of your comment).

            Of course “nobody knows ahead of time what the end result will be of an infection” and “there are no guarantees”. Life is like that.

            But it is still not ‘misinformation’ to say that a healthy 81-year-old is far more likely to become dangerously ill with CV-19 than a healthy 35-year-old, and that the risks of dangerous life-threatening illness for a healthy 35-year-old who contracts the disease, though not non-existent, are small.

          • In part, it depends on whether one takes an individualist view of the pandemic, or a collectivist one.

            From an individualist POV, it’s a roll of the dice. Do you get infected, or not? What do you do to avoid getting infected? What are the odds for you if you do get sick? If you do, are you asymptomatic, or do you experience mild flu-like symptoms, or more severe symptoms, or are you hospitalized, and/or maimed with permanent damage, or do you die? If you need to be hospitalized, is your local hospital overloaded, or able to take care of you? In an Ayn Randian POV, it’s all about the individual.

            Even so, people are at serious risk of infection, sickness, permanent injury, and death.

            From a collectivist POV, it’s a completely different story.

            How many millions of people have been infected? How does that fact affect all of society? Industry? The stock market? The GDP of nations? Food supply? Geopolitics?

            How many of the asymptomatic will infect others, because they don’t know that they’re infectious? Or because they may be selfish, and may not be taking adequate steps to keep themselves from spreading the pandemic to others?

            How many will die unnecessarily, when the pandemic could have been slowed until a vaccine and/or treatment is developed? At least in the U.S., hundreds of thousands have died unnecessarily already.

            Why will all of these people die unnecessarily? Because other people spread the infection? Or because of overloaded hospitals who cannot treat the sick? Or for many other reasons?

            How many people will be unnecessarily infected by others? How many will become sick? Maimed? Killed?

            The political part is crucial to understanding the outsized infection and death rate in the United States.

            The orange enemy of the people ignored the pandemic for the crucial early months, and has actively stifled and undermined most Federal action against the pandemic. This is fully documented.

            The Orange One models terrible behavior for the populace. He refuses to wear a mask, except under extreme duress. He refuses to socially distance. He holds mass gatherings, putting his followers, White House staff, and many others at risk. And more.

            His wanton behavior led to his own infection. Even after rebounding from it, he remains unrepentant for his behavior, and he continues to put others at risk.

            His supporters behave tribally in following his lead. They refuse to wear masks. They gather in mass gatherings. They flout other health guidelines.

            The Orange One’s nefarious combination of negligence, active interference, and setting a terrible example to the populace, allowed the pandemic to spread unimpeded and undocumented, until it exploded in the U.S. (He is not the only culprit, but he’s the most notorious one.)

            These deaths are on his hands, and on the hands of his henchmen who enabled him.

            We in the U.S. are suffering the consequences of bad decisions by an incompetent and corrupt President, as well as the bad behavior of large swaths of our populace.

            This pandemic does not kill with the percentages that, say, Ebola does.

            That notwithstanding, it is a deadly disease. I have talked with people who have been sickened by it. They suffered greatly. It has killed people I know. They suffered until they died.

            This disease remains a danger to the populace, as well as to individuals. Too many people take this disease lightly. Actions based upon this negligence can be deadly to themselves and others.

          • William, of course it is wrong to look at this disease merely as it affects you or me personally, and that is not what I was doing. What I was pleading for was honesty, and rational discourse, without emotional (some might say hysterical) and misleading rhetoric.

            For instance, you wrote “How many will die unnecessarily, when the pandemic could have been slowed until a vaccine and/or treatment is developed? At least in the U.S., hundreds of thousands have died unnecessarily already.”

            I’ve just looked up the latest CDC covid figures: 230,893 deaths since January 1, plus 520 new deaths. (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_totaldeaths.) “Hundreds of thousands”?
            If you had written “Approaching 250,000 people have died so far (according to CDC statistics), and, if proper measures had been taken in time to slow the spread of the disease, many of these deaths might have been prevented” I would have agreed with you unreservedly.

            If we want to have a discussion about how governments should deal with this situation, we have to try to look at all the facts about this horrible disease, as they become available, rationally and calmly, however anguished we are personally. One of the factors to be taken into account is the much higher danger of serious illness and death to older and unhealthier people. How this affects policy will depend on demographics – countries where the majority is under 35 and obesity is not a problem may be able to take a very different approach from those with a higher proportion of old people and obese people.

            And another difficult political balancing act is between the damage caused by over-reaction and the damage caused by under-reaction. Getting it just right is not easy.

            Enough!

          • This pandemic should have been slowed down in the U.S., the minute that the authorities were alerted to the danger back in January.

            The orange enemy of the people refused to act. He ignored it, because he felt that acknowledging it and acting on it would worsen his election chances.

            He continues to fail to lead. People continue to die at rates far above that of most other countries.

            He is not responsible for the existence of the pandemic.

            He is responsible for his obstinate failure of leadership.

            We could possibly have had a reduction of literally hundreds of thousands of deaths at this point. Two hundred thousand is, in fact and quite literally, hundreds of thousands.

            He refused to act. He actively undermines attempts to take action.

            Too many people treat this disease as if it’s trivial, from the orange enemy of the people right on down to certain people who post comments to this blog.

            Enough!

          • I can only express sympathy for the fate of those in your entourage. I know people who have had CV-19 and of one who has died. One could just as easily claim that the risk that traffic brings is equally spread out over society as anyone could be run over. This, naturally, would be disingenuous.

            Your point of view may well be coloured by your personal experience, but that is no reason to preach that what you have experienced is the norm. It is not. You also seem to be obsessed with Donald Trump. Many of us are not, so that’s something else we do not have in common. If you consider indicating the existence of statistics compiled by medical experts the wanton spreading of misinformation, then I would suggest the problem is not with me, but to be found closer to home.

          • In the U.S., many people have been brainwashed by the orange enemy of the people to believe that the pandemic is fake or trivial.

            We see these attitudes repeated, including by commenters on this blog. Several of them are clearly supporters of his. Several may conceivably be bots.

            I contradict these lies, as does the doctor and others.

            By the way, I use the term “orange enemy of the people,” because Trump regularly attacks the free press as the “enemy of the people.” People outside of the U.S. may not be aware of this fact. I turn this attack around on him.

            I mention the illnesses and deaths of people I knew, because it helps humanize this disease. For those who believe that the pandemic is fake or trivial, letting them know that there are names and faces attached to the deaths often helps them to take to heart the seriousness of this pandemic.

            Many naysayers also have this impression that it’s only liberals who are dying, in part because the first major outbreak in the U.S. happened in the New York City metropolitan area. Why this should be a good thing I leave for a separate discussion, but I digress.

            In answer to this, I mention the registered-Republican neighbor of mine, a police officer, who died of COVID-19 after over a month on a respirator in the hospital.

            In the U.S., we just had what was the most important Presidential election of the 21st century.

            For four years, we have had an incompetent, unsuitable, corrupt, corrupting, racist, white supremacist, xenophobic, dictator-wannabe leader, who has been credibly accused of sexual assault among other offenses.

            He has actively worked to undermine democratic institutions in the U.S., to further his grip on power.

            The fate of American democracy itself was on the ballot.

            As of when I am typing this, we do not yet know who won the election. Ballots are still being counted.

            The orange enemy the people is doing his best to undermine the results of the election, by opposing the counting of any votes against him and prematurely claiming victory.

            This is part of his anti-democratic (as in democracy, not the political party) movement.

            It is a scary time in the U.S.

            I’m sure you know the quote: “When France sneezes all Europe catches a cold.”

            Well, America is sneezing. Watch out, world.

            In the meantime, the pandemic is real, it sickens, it maims, it kills. Please take appropriate precautions against it.

          • Your Trump obsession seems to colour your world view. Just because he’s the centre of your universe, please try to remember he’s certainly not the centre of ours and fashion your posts accordingly for a readership which extends beyond the borders of your troubled nation.

          • The world is in a pandemic, irrespective of the current political leadership of the U.S. Over a million people have died. Many millions are infected. Many of them are profoundly sickened. Many of them are, in all likelihood, permanently maimed by it.

            Ignoring or deprecating this fact is to be the proverbial ostrich, sticking its head into the sand.

            Because of the current political leadership, the U.S. is in a pandemic far worse than it should be.

            This fact affects the world, and is therefore important to “a readership which extends beyond the borders of your troubled nation.”

        • Actually, Marfisa, there is no flaw in the statement: the vast majority of those at risk who contract CV-19 also recover. It is just that, among those who fall ill with the bug, they are the ones most likely to die of it. Even if one removes the most vulnerable from the equation, we might still be looking at around 80% of the population. Four fifths of the population is still a vast majority.

          CV-19 is a risk for everyone to varying degrees but our current approach does not warrant the hysteria we have been witnessing these last few months.

          No sane person is encouraging complacency. CV-19 has played a part in the deaths of over a million people since it appeared. However, compared to other fatal ailments, it ranks pretty low on the list of lives lost. No-one knows what its future trajectory may hold, but it behoves us all to maintain the structure of society while we find out, and not to scurry under the stairs at the slightest hint of an excess death.

    • Wrong you are not a clinician, UK excess deaths caused by Cov-19, it is more infectious than Flu has a 14 day incubation period, with symptoms developing up to 28 days with some patients having “Long Covid” issues post recovery.

      The first person in UK to acquire Cov-19, in November was a student working in Wuhan he required ventilation and oxygen therapy, he did recover but was never quite the same afterwards, he has now died aged 26.

      • It ‘s worth pointing out that there is nothing to distinguish Doc Martin’s impressive-sounding pontifications from those of millions of other online pandemic militants who neither are nor claim to be doctors. On the internet, anyone could be anything, or nothing.

        • As a general point about the Internet, your point is valid.

          The difference here? He is correct on the facts and informed opinion.

      • People of all age groups are also re-infected with flu. Yes, some do suffer lingering side effects. CV-19 is certainly not the first ailment to have that effect on people but certainly the first time we’ve stopped the planet for a bug with a 99% recovery rate.

        You don’t need to be a clinician to understand statistics compiled by industry experts. No doubt you also disagree with the Great Barrington Declaration. Are all those highly-qualified experts clearly wrong, or do you know better than the top dogs at Oxford, Stanford and Harvard etc? Those with guaranteed incomes and their heads in the sand might want to do some real research before spluttering ‘dangerous lies’ in the face of irrefutable evidence.

        • Flu has nothing to do with Cov-19, it is much less infectious than Sars-cov-2 and does not trigger a cytokine storm, that is over stimulate the immune system leading to anoxia, pulmonary embolism requiring, anti inflammatories, oxygen therapy and ventilation. The winter excess deaths figures from ONS are much higher than for the same period last year, evidence that Sars-cov-2 causes increased mortality.

    • “The first British man known to have caught coronavirus has died following a “tragic accident” at his university.” So not from covid-19. But very sad, in any case.

  • “the petty fiefdom”….Now that’s some quality journalism right there. Maybe they are just applying the same common sense to their covid policy as they do to their regular governance, which is why they are certainly wealthier than wherever the author hails t from ?

  • I’m glad of this news. A friend and I cycled to Liechtenstein from Germany on leave and loved this remnant of the Hapsburgs from whom Harnoncourt descended, now part of the Sanderling empire. There was no orchestra in Vaduz then, and the castle’s famous art collection was closed for repairs, but there was music by a zither player at our inn,

    We pedaled up to a high pasture reached by two tunnels, one for cows, one for people, crossed the Rhein and ran into the Swiss army on manoeuvres near St. Gallen, A young officer lectured us severely for not having bicycle insurance cards, which was very bad. This was on an alp perforated with artillery aimed downstream at the invasion route that was not used after German staff officers observed earlier Swiss excercises. “You have an excellent army of half a million. What will you do if we send a million men against you?” aA Swiss oficer said, “We will each fire twice.”

    • – Regarding Habsburg:
      The Principality of Liechtenstein never was Habsburg possession sensu proprio.
      It was formed after Prince Johann Adam I of Liechtenstein acquired the “Herrschaft” (Lordship) of Schellenberg in 1699 and the County of Vaduz in 1712, both territories privileged with Imperial immediacy (“Reichsunmittelbarkeit”) of long standing. Imperial immediacy meant that the entity was subject only to the supreme (and often quite nominal) authority of the Holy Roman Emperor, and not to any suzerain in between.
      Through this acquisition, the Liechtensteins became themselves direct subjects of the Holy Roman Empire. County and lordship were formally united in 1719 and elevated to a Principality, again subject only to direct Imperial authority. (To most purposes and intents, a ruler like the Prince of Liechtenstein was an own agent.) The family name of the ruler, Liechtenstein, was thus transferred to the land, as earlier in Saxony. The Habsburgs happened to occupy the Imperial throne during this period; but this does in no way make Liechtenstein a Habsburg possession.

      – Regarding the Swiss bicycle insurance plaque (“Veloplakette”, later “-vignette”):
      It was compulsory for Swiss bike owners from 1893 to 2011 (so you must have passed through Switzerland before that final date). Foreign tourists passing through were not subject to the legislation, and usually not bothered, provided they could identify themselves.
      The insurance covered the bike owner against accident liabilities.
      It had the added advantage of identifying the rider as Swiss in neighboring countries (where the insurance was valid). It was a modest symbol of social responsibility and solidarity. No wonder was it abandoned.

  • Dear Mr. Lebrecht,

    we ask you to be better informed in the future before writing new messages. Stefan Sanderling has not held the position of Chief Conductor since 2018.

    “The petty fiefdom Liechtenstein … ”

    Where does your sweeping resentment of the Principality of Liechtenstein and its cultural scene come from?

    By the way, our symphony orchestra is made up of musicians from Liechtenstein and other EU countries. At the upcoming concert we are looking forward to the conductor, pianist and organist Wayne Marshall and the multi-talented student of Alfred Brendel and graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London, Kit Armstrong – both from Great Britain….

    What do you know that we don’t?

  • Hey, guys! Think of that: to support people culture is quite important. That is our main task: we want to give them something to beliefe in. Our music gives them hope!!
    And second: We do ALL to be secure, for our audience and the orchestra.

  • Can anybody exactly tell me what is condition of covid in Liechtenstein and is country still open for outsiders
    And what is condition in educational institutes
    Thanks

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