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Prof. David Passig: “The worst scenario is about 300 million people who will die”

On days like these, from anxiety about the coming and a sharp feeling of Amala-what-is-going-to-happen here, you should also listen to Professor David Passig.

Passig is the head of the Department of Communication in Education and Head of the Virtual Reality Laboratory at Bar-Ilan University, but is best known for his future predictions – probably the most recognized futurist in Israel.

He watches the events of the last few days, and refrains from shouting “I told you so!”

And what he wants to tell us – is very scary.

“I have been talking about this issue for at least ten years,” says Passig in an interview with Zman Yisrael, “and if what we see now is the thing we have been wary of – it is going to take years. Five to ten years. It will completely change the 21st century.” […] “If the deadly virus that breaks out  constantly improves, then the worst scenario we have is about 300 million people who will die.”

What is the virus you were afraid of?

“We are talking about it being just a matter of time before a very sophisticated virus, which is constantly mutating, spreading in the world and it will be very difficult to find a vaccine. If the corona is the virus we were talking about – then its results will be as I said before.”

On what basis could such a virus be expected?

“First of all – because time and time again it happens in history. And it always happens from a virus of some kind of animal. A hundred years ago it happened with the Spanish influence and went a hundred million people. A hundred million people in a year and a half!”

“We are currently in a more interesting stage of the human race, where there are about eight billion people, very dense, and for the first time in history we are raising a huge amount of animals to provide us all with proteins. So it was clear that such a virus was only a matter of time, just a statistical matter and nothing else.”

“It was clear that something would jump out of animals, especially in more crowded areas with humans eating all kinds of different animals. Bigger than everyone thinks. ”

That is, in your estimation – what we see in financial markets now is just the beginning?

“True. In any case, what we are currently seeing will last between one and two years. At best.”

Forget the Olympics

Pessig’s rage prophecies may sound puzzling – but he is hardly eccentric.

Passig was the next-generation Knesset commissioner in the early millennium; He is a member of the National Research and Development Council and has served as a consultant to entities such as Bank Hapoalim and the Air Force. He has a doctorate in forecasting technological, socio-economic and educational trends.Among other things, he attributes the prediction of the twin disaster, after warning in the 1990s against terrorist action at a famous destination; And accurate warning of the fall of the markets in 2008, after predicting a global fall in the 2006 book.

In short, Passig’s field of expertise, if you can call it that, is the future. And he is the competent man to assess if there is anything to worry about.

“In my estimation, what we see now expires in only a year and a half,” he says, “and the pressure will only increase. Panic rather than relaxation is a matter of policy and worldview.”

“We’re at the beginning of the road. All those who try to calm us down do us all a disservice. Like most countries that tried to calm down at first, they got the most bang. It’s better at first to panic than to calm down. It’s a matter of policy and worldview.”

“I come from a worldview, which is always worth thinking about the wildest scripts. We call them wild cards. The scenario we see before our eyes, the likelihood that it will occur, as it is currently occurring, was 60%. The script I talked about earlier is 30%. This is a reasonable percentage – crazy who doesn’t prepare for these scripts.”

I mean, do you estimate that the likelihood of this crisis lasting five to 10 years and backing the lives of hundreds of millions of people is 30%?

“That’s right. It’s a whole lot of a lot. And those are the things that if they don’t warn them, then they really come true. That’s the purpose of all those scripts.”

And what preventative measures are being taken now are reasonable?

“No. They are not enough. Very simple.Only if you perceive it at the beginning and with great rigor can it be dealt with in such a way that the health system will not collapse. And that’s the goal”.

And what about those who repeatedly try to reassure that it is just the flu, perhaps a little more severe, and that you should not be so excited about it?

“The flu is also dangerous. The impact of the Spanish has killed a hundred million people. We have to understand – we are constantly in an unusual competition with viruses and bacteria. This lasts for millions of years. Anyone who thinks it is over does not understand what evolution is.

“It’s not just competition, by the way. There are theories that talk about it being a mechanism that helps us keep getting better and better. Some people argue that the fight with viruses develops both physical and mental resilience. There are correlations between viruses and the brain. Proofs are unequivocal. But we are definitely in a strong fight with viruses. ”

There is an interesting thesis that the Corona virus actually forces us to take steps that we had to take to deal with the climate crisis: stopping meat eating, dramatically reducing flights, massively reducing consumption and industry.

“There’s a theory called the Gaia theory that talks about an ecosystem on the planet that has an immanent, internal intelligence that allows it to balance itself all the time. It is that the mechanisms on earth regulate themselves in order for life to continue to exist, for their complexity and diversity. ”

These are already theories that sound completely new to the New Age.

“This theory has empirical evidence. It’s not just a theory. There are studies that show how an ecosystem you purposely take it out of balance finds ways to balance itself in order to continue to exist and survive. It’s one step further, as if this reason is also self-conscious. From a scientific point of view, there is no proof that this wisdom is conscious.

What would you recommend to the anxious citizen watching the dizzying events and not knowing how to drive?

“Anyone who eats food – makes the biggest mistake that can be made. Because in extreme situations, it will become a target for other people who have not been pooling. So the best way to start managing right now is to organize communities. Only communities can defend themselves. There will be a chance of surviving far more than any single cargo, no matter how many. Even tons of food. ”

How are you getting ready?

“Fortunately, I’m a dome-wearing person. We already have organized communities. Our communities are real support communities. Emotional support, also mental support, and financial support. Higher than each individual individually. Even if he is as ready as possible. The opposite – the more willing he is, he will become a target. ”

So do you actually see possible scripts in the form of the angry Max movie, All in All War on Survival?

“Yes. Sure. Anyone who ignores it, doesn’t understand what humans are. I hope we don’t get it, of course. Think – this is a community too. A country that protects us as a collective will have to provide food for people who don’t have it, and so on. Distribution of water when needed. Energy distribution when needed. There is currently no more local community.”

“The community I’m talking about is something that needs to be organized. People need to start organizing around institutions. From community centers to synagogues and clubs. The community name should start to come to fruition. People should not think that the state, which is the largest community, can take care of them at more advanced stages of the crisis. Local Organizations – This is currently what is missing.”

“But now the Israeli consciousness is, ‘The state has to worry about me.’ ‘The state is to blame.’ ‘The state has to tell me what to do.’ One stage, and after that she can’t anymore. ”

“We knew it would come. We talked about it. Of course, we didn’t know it would happen 100 percent now, but 60% – that’s a huge chance. You never know that. But 60% – that’s a huge chance. We knew it was approaching. And they don’t listen. Just they don’t listen. Even now they are not listening ”

“What I told you now, I’ve already said in the most closed forums that invited me to give an opinion. And I don’t see people starting to organize in a community way. I just don’t see it. I don’t see anyone talking about it out loud.”

“I know there are some who say that once we start talking about it in a voice it will put people in more panic. But panic is better at this point, than later. At this point, panic will not be violent yet. Later, panic will already be violent.”

And will the violent “later stages” you talk about happen in weeks? Months?

“No, no. A year or two.”

Oh. I relaxed.

“All of this, of course, provided that it turns out that the virus we are dealing with today is the virus we have been alerted to. It will turn out to be very violent and constantly changing. At this moment we do not know exactly how this virus works.”

And what do you estimate the probability of the optimistic scenario that tomorrow morning scientists at some university will enter a dramatic press conference and announce that a solution is in place?

“Zero percent that will happen. If it does, it will happen in a year and a half, and even then this vaccine will be found it not will work for everyone. It will work for 60% -50% of patients. Vaccines doesn’t work for 100%, either.”

Original: Zman Yisrael (Hebrew)

Header: Israelis line up outside Rami Levy supermarket in Ashdod on March 14, 2020. (Flash90)

Passig is a respected academic, adviser to Knesset panels and government committees. And however outrageous his assessment, it’s not a million miles from the warning delivered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Thursday night, when he said the pandemic was unlike anything the world or modern Israel had seen, and reached back a century to the Spanish flu for a comparison. “Tens of millions of people died from it,” Netanyahu noted, “at a time when the world population was a quarter of today’s.”

On the other hand, watching some medical experts on Israeli television in recent days, one can reach very different conclusions. “The panic over the coronavirus is more damaging than the actual coronavirus,” the outgoing president of the Israeli Medical Association, Professor Leonid Eidelman, told Channel 12 on Saturday.

And on Sunday, Prof. Jihad Bishara, the director of the Infectious Disease Unit at Petah Tikva’s Beilinson Hospital, insisted that “there’s unnecessary, exaggerated panic. We have to calm people down… People are thinking that there’s a kind of virus, it’s in the air, it’s going to attack every one of us, and whoever is attacked is going to die. That’s not the way it is at all. It’s not in the air. Not everyone [who is infected] dies; most of them will get better and won’t even know they were sick, or will have a bit of mucus.”