Tuesday, May 25, 2021

A very popular minister is ordered to return

Since the beginning of 1993 when Czechia and Slovakia parted their ways, Czechia has had 23 ministers of health. (I have personally talked to 2 of them, Macek and Špidla.) The average one has apparently survived for 28.5 / 23 = 1.24 years. That's a quickly rotating job, indeed. The Covid-19 situation has already led to the firing of 4 ministers of health: Adam Vojtěch, Roman Prymula, Jan Blatný, and Petr Arenberger.



Vojtěch, a contestant in the CZ American Idol in 2005 (nicknamed "Ken" from "Ken and Barbie" there), was singing on TV again in October 2020. Isn't he a stellar singer? How many ministers of your country could sing this well?



In Spring 2020, Vojtěch was praised for having crushed the "first wave" (or the absence of a wave). He supervised the introduction of face masks into the first white nation, among other things. The real reason why Covid-19 was decreasing was that Czechs were genuinely afraid up to April 2020 or so and in May 2020, the warmer weather was already enough to reduce the number of cases. Between April and June 2020, Czechia was loosening the restrictions. Consequently, we had a completely unrestricted Summer 2020, betweeen July 1st and early September, something that made us rare.



When September began, people had no fear whatsoever any longer, the weather got colder, kids returned to schools, and with hindsight, it looks unavoidable that the "slowly growing numbers of cases" in August, like 300/day, grew up to 17,776 at the end of 2020. I hoped that we had some easily obtained herd immunity but it was just a wishful thinking. If we locked our Summer 2020, the same events would have taken place with the delay of a few weeks because the exponential growth is rather speedy.

Later in September, the lawyer Adam Vojtěch was already fired, apparently because of the growing Covid-19 and the perceived (by someone) need to have someone "mean" at the top. And indeed, he was replaced with Colonel Roman Prymula, a great chess player and a hardcore Coronazi epidemiologist who had the ambition to become the new duce, not just visually (this is the legendary TV duce setup, the extras are directors of the largest hospitals including the minister who resigned today). He was fired after some hypocritical violations of his own rules and was replaced with Jan Blatný, a boring blood physician who turned out to be more Coronazi than many of us had hoped. Blatný was fired mainly because the president (and partly the prime minister) didn't like Blatný's personal crusade against Sputnik V, the Russian vaccine. His successor Arenberger, a "skillful" skin doctor, ended up being on Prymula's side and was identified as the most corrupt one. He had 65 pieces of real estate including a square mile of arable land, failed to report these things in tax returns, made sure that the hospital (where he was a director) was renting some rural real estate (which was his personal property), and 15 centimeters of similar violations that should probably send him to jail for decades but no one cares too much any longer.

He was finally pushed to resign today, after 48 days in office. Prime minister and billionaire Andrej Babiš announced that the new minister would be... an old one, Adam Vojtěch, who can become Czechia's long-serving minister of health, Babiš quipped. The angular speed of the ministers along with the recycling theme led to an explosion of jokes within hours. Of course, the ministry of health was compared to the more than 600-year-old Prague Astronomical Clock where the 12 apostles are rotating in a circle. Here are some other jokes. He came and quickly returned from his promised job of an ambassador in Finland (using an isomorphic scene with Homer Simpson), the Grim Reaper said that He needed a vacation after He was given the job to kill another minister and the same one appeared again, and so on, and so on (see also TMBK jokes). I have been using the Apostles-on-Orloj theme for a month but it wasn't quite my idea, I mostly got it from a Slovak friend of mine.

At any rate, I think it is a wonderful political move from Babiš that could help him to beat the criminal Pirates in the autumn election. Adam Vojtěch is simply incredibly popular. Many people don't want to say it this clearly but the numbers speak unambiguously. He is primarily a "good boy" who politely speaks to everyone, especially the real-world doctors. That is also why he knew that Covid-19 wasn't such a big issue one year ago. In a today's iDNES.cz poll, 85% readers said that the second term for Adam Vojtěch is a better choice than the search for a new, fifth apostle.

The other ministers have looked like arrogant, lying apparatchiks to me, to one extent to another. I would never think about constructively interacting with them. But I always had the feeling that it is a great idea to send proposals for further improvements to Vojtěch via Twitter. I am pretty sure he read those things. In his one-month-long tenure, Arenberger already supervised the unavoidably collapsing Covid-19 numbers. Thankfully, he didn't get much credit for that because it is obviously the result of our (mostly natural) herd immunity, not his good leadership. Adam Vojtěch will have the pleasant job of being the minister during another era in which the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths will be nearly zero (the new cases are dropping almost 50% every week now!). I hope that he understands that the epidemics is over and won't return here.

He refused to confirm that he has accepted the job. I think it is a silly game and Babiš wouldn't announce Vojtěch as the new choice (to be appointed already tomorrow, Babiš said) if Babiš didn't have some guarantees that Vojtěch is going to agree. He may have investigated the public reaction but it is clear that while the opposition tries to mock and attack both Babiš and Vojtěch, a big majority of the public thinks that it is a great choice. Also, the minister of finance Ms Schillerová has apparently leaked the fact that Vojtěch must say "Yes" tomorrow.

Let's hope he will accept this "patriotic duty" (words by Schillerová) and if he does, it is extremely bullish news for the Czechs, their everyday lives, the national economy, but even for our currency because we are likely to return to peace and Covid-free normalcy, without self-evident apparatchiks' efforts to profiteer out of useless harassment of 10.7 million people. Real doctors will influence the policies more, instead of the self-serving liars, and tensions in the healthcare sector are likely to evaporate, too. Concerning his current attitude to restrictions, Vojtěch said that he wants to be cautious but it doesn't make sense to introduce restrictions that would hamper the society.

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