What’s the real story with corona virus? Is it the deadliest plague since the 1918 “war fever”? Or should we ignore it?
There is more than just a disease involved, as The Guardian reports: “When disinformation is rampant it can swing an election and undermine democracy. In 2020 that threat is real. Academics and experts warn that this year’s election will see a wave of disinformation from domestic actors who have learned from foreign interference in 2016. This year’s tsunami of fake news may well be homegrown as agents seek to sow lies and stir division … Hyper-partisan news sources, factories of disinformation and a deluge of fake news on social media are no basis on which to inform the American public in 2020. There has never been a greater need for a robust, independent press guided first and foremost by the truth.”
Mark Hemingway, writing on RealClearPolitics, “Media Can’t Keep Politics Out of Coronavirus Coverage”, agreed with the Guardian’s editorial comment: “Some of [the media response] is just inappropriately intemperate commentary from opinion columnists … Naked hostility to Trump is so pronounced it has actually impaired some journalists’ ability to impart necessary information to the American people.”
I wonder what those criticizing Trump for not doing enough would say if President Trump followed Italy’s example.
The Israeli response may sound extreme, but it is much easier in a nation of only 8.7 million people.
But there is good news: President Trump’s latest action has received a good response from the stock market. Trump’s response first: “The White House is set to ask Congress for a payroll tax cut and economic assistance to hourly workers to help those hurt financially by the coronavirus.”
The stock market reaction to all this: “The S&P 500 surged as much as 3.7% in the morning, only to see those gains evaporate by midday. The index then bounced up and down before turning decisively higher after President Donald Trump pitched his ideas for a break on payroll taxes and other economic relief to Senate Republicans.”
There is also good news from China (same link), granted that we have to view it somewhat skeptically: “Beijing saying its efforts to control the virus are working as government officials reported the lowest number of new cases since January … ‘If we can see a country have more than 80,000 cases now start to see a decline, that is more than hope, said the World Health Organization’s Maria van Kerkhove during a press briefing. ‘That is evidence showing that this can be done.’ “
CDC is no longer reporting cases of coronavirus. You have to find the reports for each state separately, it seemed. So I began searching for a few state totals. Fortunately, I discovered that Livescience had beat me to it, and they did the job thoroughly. Their report says there have been 959 cases nationwide, with 28 deaths nationwide. This site also lists each state’s reported confirmed cases separately in a neat column, confirmed cases and deaths side by side, with detailed reports by state below.
There’s a related link at that site which compares coronavirus to the flu: “So far, the new coronavirus has led to more than 100,000 illnesses and more than 3,000 deaths worldwide. But that’s nothing compared with the flu, also called influenza. In the U.S. alone, the flu has caused an estimated 34 million illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
They qualify that statement in the next paragraph with this warning: we don’t know very much about COVID-19 yet. Is it seasonal, like the flu? Lots of unknowns. True, but the Chinese government first detected it in December 2019. That’s only three months ago. Three months during the most favorable time for the spread of a flu-type virus, and while it’s been troublesome and a worry, I think we need to keep it in perspective, especially since China is now reporting a decline in new cases.
There’s another link from that site which explains why Italy’s death rate is so high (5% vs world average of 3.4%): Italy’s population is the oldest in Europe. Older people are more vulnerable. (Great. I’m seventy now.) Also, it is now known that there are two strains of corona virus, one of which is milder. It seems that catching the milder strain is a “natural vaccination” against the more virulent strain, and not many in Italy have caught the milder strain.
Considering LiveScience’s comparison of the two, what do you think would be the world’s reaction if it were announced that flu cases and deaths could be cut to the current level of corona virus cases and deaths? That would be 3/10ths of one percent of cases, and 15 % of the deaths that flu has caused so far this season. So coronavirus has a higher percentage of deaths per number of cases, but a microscopically lower number of cases, resulting in a total number of deaths that is a fraction of the deaths caused by flu. Personally, I don’t consider that something to panic over. Unless you’re a Democrat trying desperately to get rid of President Trump. The surgeon General’s advice: “The Surgeon General is stressing preparedness over panic. That includes avoiding close contact with sick people, don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth and wash your hands frequently.”
And of course, the most obvious of procedures for Christians. Greg Laurie gives us an example, which as you would expect, includes prayer.
I’m glad to see Vice President Pence is praying for wisdom, and not apologizing for it in the face of criticism.
Some more common-sense solutions from various places:
Abba, we thank You that the hope of believers in Your Son Jesus does not rest in this world. Since we are still in this world, we ask for the calmness and wisdom and faith that will bring those minds that are open to truth to focus on You during this corona virus, and we hope for years afterward. We ask that we be spared from this disease, but we know that someone among us are likely going to have to suffer along with the non-believers. Please give those You select for that overwhelming grace to live a victory in front of the world, no matter what the personal outcomes. And we also pray on behalf of everyone in this battered world, believer or not, that this virus may die an early death and trouble us no more. In Jesus’ holy name, amen.