Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Some Reassuring News About Coronavirus

There are a number of reassuring items in the news that I would like to share. But first, some sad news; I was extremely upset to learn that my friend R. Tzvika Ryzman of Los Angeles has been hospitalized with severe coronavirus. Probably some of you have seen his fascinating emails/sefer "Ratz KaTzvi," and he also (naturally) dedicated the tzvi exhibit at the new Biblical Museum of Natural History. Wishing him, and all the other sick, a refuah shelemah.

I should also mention that sharing any good news about coronavirus does not mean that one should relax the restrictions. On the contrary; it's largely thanks to the restrictions that there is any good news to report. (And I wish to again clarify; in my first, very naive post on this topic, I predicted that the restrictions wouldn't last long. But I never said or meant that one should not observe them!)

So onto the reassuring news. First of all, all of us were horrified to learn that over ten thousand people have died from coronavirus in Italy. Well, it turns out that this is not true. Yes, over ten thousand people have died in Italy over the last few months, and they had coronavirus. But Italy has a population of over 60 million people, some of whom naturally suffer from various medical conditions, and many of whom are elderly. Due to the peculiarities of how Italy reports things, it was reported that they died of coronavirus even if there was a combination of factors involved, and even if just happens to be that they had coronavirus when they died of other causes.

Second: Israel is doing really, really well, from a health perspective. The mortality rate has been extremely low. The rate of new cases, rather than rising exponentially, is not rising at all! In fact, if you deduct the charedi population from the test results, the rate of new cases has actually been steadily dropping (I am mystified as to why this fact has not received more publicity). While the government is ramping up the restrictions on a regular basis, many of us are hoping that Bibi will recognize that it is time to differentiate between different sectors of the population. The government will hopefully place more effort in enforcing the restrictions on those sectors which disregard them (Litzman himself suggested quarantining the entire city of Bnei Brak), and it can soon start to relax them on other sectors of the population.

Third: There's lots of reassuring news about amazing technological innovations and logistical developments for fighting coronavirus. For those of you on Facebook, I have created a group called "Comforting News About Coronavirus." Join it at this link.

Fourth: Many people are wondering what they will do on Chol HaMoed Pesach if they are stuck at home. Don't worry, the Biblical Museum of Natural History has you covered! We are offering a number of live online tours over Chol HaMoed, including a six-part series that covers almost the entire museum in detail! You can learn more at www.BiblicalNaturalHistory.org/live. Please, please, spread the word, by sending this link to your community and friends!

9 comments:

  1. you say "(And I wish to again clarify; in my first, very naive post on this topic, I predicted that the restrictions wouldn't last long. But I never said or meant that one should not observe them!)"

    Your post seemed accurate to me at the time. Where did you go wrong?

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  2. "In fact, if you deduct the charedi population from the test results, the rate of new cases has actually been steadily dropping (I am mystified as to why this fact has not received more publicity)"

    Partly because nobody government or similar leader would say something so divisive, it implies abandoning responsibility for what happens to charedim, and invites hostility to them (despite being true). Partly because such a statement might lead non-charedim to relax their distancing because "it's over already". Partly because non-charedim can still get infected by charedim so there is little practical difference to who exactly is getting infected.

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  3. Israel is 'doing really well' because everybody has been 'locked up'. They have one of the strictest quarantines in the world.

    The question is what will happen afterwards....

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  4. Very nice post. I am glad things are looking better, in Israel and Italy. Me must be cautious of fake news. I just got an email about a rumor that Trump wants to quarantine the nation for two weeks; send the national guard. It’s not true. So this essay helps brings the good news to light. Again, as the rabbi wrote, this does not mean to break off with observance of the Bibi restrictions. Guard them as you would Torah-observance.

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  5. Actually, the figures from Italy need to be at least tripled. Many Italian towns are reporting death rate three or four times what they would normally expect and these people are not treated, let alone tested. See here. Moreover, there is nothing 'peculiar' about the way Italy is categorising deaths, this is exactly the same way that everyone categorise deaths from flu, measles and any other disease. What is peculiar is how other countries, especially, Germany are categorising deaths as not being from Coronavirus on spurious grounds.

    More generally, while Israel really is doing well so far, most western countries are doing appallingly. The lockdowns are not working and they won't work either. Soon the majority of people who are keeping the rules will realise they are wasting their time as long as the government fails to enforce them on the minority and the whole system will break down. No-one has enough masks, no-one has enough ventilators, no-one has enough beds and no-one has a plan to get them. Meanwhile, 95% of South Korea is functioning as usual because they have smart, competent people in charge who actually care about their country.

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  6. Like influenza, Covid-19 poses a particular risk to people with underlying medical conditions. So, even if the people in Italy died of a 'combination of factors' Covid-19 was and is nevertheless the catalyst to these deaths.

    Also,although the elderly are the most vulnerable, I have read about quite a number of instances of people, aged 20-40, who died because of Covid-19 despite not having any underlying medical conditions. In fact, just this morning I read about a case in the UK where a 19 year old male, who had a fever and coughs for about a week, was told by the doctor that he is "young and strong and doesn't have to worry about the bad flu". He died the very next day; and didn't have any underlying medical conditions.

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  7. "and it can soon start to relax them on other sectors of the population."
    On the contrary, the charedim who have already been exposed are the ones who will no longer need the restrictions. The rest of the population will have to stay in lockdown because they are still vulnerable to contagion

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  8. I would love my kids to watch your tours, but it seems that a lot of free events at the moment, singers like Shwekey and Uncle Moishy doing free virtual concerts, so I think in these times it would be appreciated if you could provide some free offerings too

    ReplyDelete
  9. The product can N95 Mask be applied with proper equipment and traditional material. Once treated, the surfaces are safe to touch with no known risks of toxicity. The active ingredients are safe and are not known to cause irritation or sensitization.

    ReplyDelete

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