Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Ten Times.


The numbers are in. Jerusalem suffered nearly four times the mortality rate of the rest of Israel. Bnei Brak's mortality rate was ten times greater.

It's actually even worse than that. Much of Bnei Brak's population is very young compared to the rest of Israel, and children rarely contract Covid-19. So, if you're an adult in Bnei Brak, the chances of dying from coronavirus were even more than ten times greater than anywhere else.

Or, to put it in the stark terms expressed in the Kikar Shabbos article: There's a lot of people who died simply because they lived in Bnei Brak.

Of course we don't know all the factors responsible for this tragedy, and there are probably several.

But two things are clear.

First is that keeping the yeshivos open, while the rest of the country was shutting down, was a mistake. The Gedolim were wrong, and everyone else was right.

Second is that Torah didn't protect.

The only question remaining is: How many people will learn the appropriate lessons?

130 comments:

  1. Rabbi Dr. Slifkin: perhaps it is time for you to have a professional evaluation. The serious trauma that you apparently endured in the past seems not to give you any rest. Emotional health is certainly an important factor in your family's well being, and I think that even the Gedolim would agree that a temporary respite from your responsibilities of alerting Klal
    Yisrael about Charedi problems and foibles can do you a world of good.

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    1. Walter, you are clearly very uncomfortable facing the truths about your community. Perhaps you need a professional evaluation?

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    2. I actually am very comfortable about facing the difficulties in my community. I truly wish they would pick up the trash and drive more cautiously and courteously. I wish they would stop stuffing so many silly circulars in my mailbox, and papering the streets with graffiti during election time. I hate it when HaPeleg blocks the streets when I need to drive home. My children once had to get off the train and walk through Shaar Shechem when the nutcases were protesting. None of this validates your silly comment or justifies Dr. Slifkin's obsessive agenda.

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    3. Walter, why don't you work hard to get your community to stop obsessively doing harm to themselves, clal Yisrael and Israel and that will remove any motive for Rabbi Slifkin to constantly hold them accountable for stupidity.

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    4. Thank you Robby for that advice. Now that you have mentioned it, yes, I will be able to get the entire community to change everything. First thing is that darned car with the loudspeaker that is driving me batty, screaming into some screechy 1970's quality loudspeaker, and telling us over and over again who died, who will die if I don't come downstairs now and give money for the operation to save her life, and for the past month: "מנע מגיפה מנחלתך", telling me hundreds of times what the משרד הבריאות said today. Now, if you and Slfkin can just get all these people to start acting rationally, perhaps I can start working on the rest of the world...

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    5. And as we have discussed, the motive for Rabbi Slifkin to hold them accountable for stupidity is not because he wants them to stop acting stupidly. On the contrary, he wants to point out to the world when he thinks they act stupidly, so everyone will remember that many years ago Charedi rabbis said his books were written stupidly. We must not forget! Never Again! Slifkin Chai!

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    6. I’m genuinely curious: How comfortable are you with facing Rav Chaim Kanievsky misguided approach to handing the pandemic?

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    7. I actually am merely a private person, with no communal responsibilities, so I have not had the opportunoty to consult with R Chaim Kanievsky on this matter. Whenever I need to know what he says, I can consult Facebook, or this blog.

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    8. WalterMay 6, 2020 at 11:36 PM
      And as we have discussed, the motive for Rabbi Slifkin to hold them accountable for stupidity is not because he wants them to stop acting stupidly. On the contrary, he wants to point out to the world when he thinks they act stupidly, so everyone will remember that many years ago Charedi rabbis said his books were written stupidly. We must not forget! Never Again! Slifkin Chai!

      HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT HIS MOTIVES ARE? ON THE CONTRARY I THINK
      THAT HE WANTS THEM TO STOP ACTING STUPIDLY FOR THEIR AND EVERYONE ELSE'S GOOD.

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    9. Because I know him, have followed his writings, and carefully oberved his patterns. It is nice to judge a person favorably, though. Kol HaKavod to you. Do half the same for Gedolei Yisrael and Talmidei Chachamim.

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    10. It's sad that NS can't move on.

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  2. Maybe Torah did protect, only we got it wrong as to what it means 'to do Torah'.
    Perhaps 'to do Torah' means to do צדק ומשפט and not to learn gemoro all day, and not to venerate every inch of Eretz Yisrael HaSheleima.

    And that's why Gush Katif people got thrown out of their land and not the Yair Lapid central region voters who want a non-corrupt government.
    And that's why Bnei Brak people got Corona and not the secular non-gemoro learning Tel Aviv Social Justice/Human Rights crowd.

    Of course, this is all playing at being Divine. And I certainly don't know how His justice and loving-kindness plays out. All I know is that what He does is good and right, whether we understand it or not.

    But still, it's food for thought.

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    1. Yeah, nothing corrupt about what the Lapids are calling for.

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    2. Aebourne of OrganiaMay 7, 2020 at 4:27 PM

      A few years back, 250,000 were killed almost instantly by a tsunami in southeast Asia. I dont recall any resolution on knowing why Baal or whomever did it to them. Maybe random bad stuff just happens, and were supposed to behave all of the time no matter what.

      One day, 200 of my people were buchered by the enemy, or so they had thought. We realuzed what we were dealing with, and as a result doubled-down on our peaceful ways.

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    3. FUZZIE.."Of course, this is all playing at being Divine. And I certainly don't know how His justice and loving-kindness plays out. All I know is that what He does is good and right, whether we understand it or not."
      or maybe there is no HE at all. that would explain the man with he funny mustache.

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  3. Maybe it protected the rest of Israel? Maybe it would have been even worse? It was not necessarily the Yeshivot that spread the virus, it could have been Haredi lifestyle/Purim etc.

    How can you categorically say Limud Torah did not have a positive material effect? It is not falsifiable.

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    1. So Torah protects davka the people who DON'T learn it? Now I know what to do!

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    2. @Inspired, you have a point. But BK 60a says something similar, אר״ש בר נחמני א״ר יונתן אין פורענות באה לעולם אלא בזמן שהרשעים בעולם ואינה מתחלת אלא מן הצדיקים תחלה, which too tempts us not to be צדיקים.

      The standard answer to your question is found in דעת זקנים בראשית ד׳:ד׳ וישע ה' אל הבל ואל מנחתו. מכאן תשובה, למינים שכופרים בעולם הבא. דבמה שעה אליו, והרי נהרג מיד, אלא על כרחך צריך לומר, שקבל קרבנו, וזכהו לעוה"ב:, that despite issues of צדיק ורע לו, ultimately the צדיק comes out ahead. (I'm only dealing with your comment, not with the subject of this post.)

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  4. You cite statistics? I don't know about Israel, but here in America, we are now seeing tacit admission that the statistics we have seen thus far - which was supposedly "evidence" of a pandemic - is fictitious. That is, there is now recognition that simply measuring excess deaths fails to capture WHY people died. Moreover, that the numbers didnt take into account long term trends, in which the number of deaths in a given month varies greatly. Still further, that the response to the virus becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because with closures and access to doctors limited, people with quite treatable sicknesses are now more likely to die. And let's not even get into just how widespread the virus is beyond new York in the first place.

    It is far, far too soon to be saying things like the charedim reacted the wrong way. How many times in history have similar statements (mutatis mutandis) been made about Jews or orthodox Jews, only for them to have the last laugh? Let's see how things look a year from now.

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    1. Except one wee point: The charedim did not react the way they did because they had any sort of inside information. They had the same exact information as everyone else.

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    2. "we are now seeing tacit admission..."

      Only among illiterates and a handful of conspiracy theorists.

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    3. The anti-Zionist Haredim in Europe had the last laugh in the early 1940s?

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    4. Again, Nachum, I cant speak to Israel, but I'm well connected to the Chassidishe community in NY. Their decision making was based on a cold assessment of the facts. They felt the same way millions of other people feel: that much of this is political, that much is unknown, and that in all events, there's not enough evidence to justify the suicidal path we've all been forced upon.

      Shlomo - actually all or most of what I wrote was in the NYT, the Bible of true believers. Indeed, there is no one as fanatical as an atheist bigot.

      Avi Rosenthal - not sure what you mean. Orthodox Jews were supposed to be done for. Yet here they are today, thriving. Yeah, I'd say they had the last laugh. You wouldn't?

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    5. I find it deeply offensive and insulting to cavalierly consider the six million kedoshim "the last laugh" of the haredim. Go tell this to your grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers, and two million children under 2 . What an insulting statement. And this coming from a sympathizer of the Satmar rebbe who keeps on telling us that the medinah is treif and will not succeed. Now- this is truly the last laugh-the establishment of a jewish state built on blood and sweat. Not building Williamsburg and Boro park.

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    6. This is the worst I've ever seen DF. He's really gone of the deep end.

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    7. "I'm well connected to the Chassidishe community in NY. Their decision making was based on a cold assessment of the facts."

      Really? Prove it. The current official Satmar position is to scrupulously follow gov't guidelines. They are not contrarians now. Yet Satmar held big tishes around Purim time. Were they held out of habit, lack of knowledge/prescience or, as you claim, "a cold assessment of the facts"? Are you claiming that the decision makers had then suddenly became experts in 100+ years of epidemiology and that sudden expertise made them contrarians in regards to the consensus of epidemiology? And a few weeks later they agreed with the consensus? Or perhaps you're exaggerating when you're saying they had access to all the facts?

      The problem with your theory is that instead of defending the chassidim with a reasonable claim that they simply weren't yet aware of the severity of the situation, you claim that they knew MORE than everyone else and still insisted on doing their own thing. There's an implicitly nasty accusation hidden in your theory.

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    8. No, I wouldn't agree with your "last laugh" argument. Sadly, Charedim stuck in Europe during the war weren't laughing. They were getting murdered by the hundreds of thousands. Zionists who fled Europe well before the war to Israel made out better. None were murdered by the Nazis. And, again, sadly, many lost their lives in Brooklyn due to the virus. Did their hard business sense save them? Not so much. Do you disagree?

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    9. Stop diminishing the suffering in my communityMay 7, 2020 at 8:46 AM

      DF,
      Our communities in NY and NJ have been ravaged by this virus, and your claims that it's all a big hoax and these people were just about to die from other causes but by chance happened to also become infected with covid19 just before they died is one of the dumbest conspiracy theories ever concocted.

      Most people in the community can't even recall a single neighbor who died of the flu, in their entire lifetime.
      Yet we all know multiple people who died from covid19 just in the past few months, and our obituary pages suddenly multiplied in size. But yeah, it's all just a coincidence, we were due for a massive spike in deaths due to regular causes (even though that didn't happen in many decades) and it just so happened to coincide with a deadly virus outbreak.

      Get off the drugs and stop spreading false info.

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    10. "Shlomo - actually all or most of what I wrote was in the NYT, the Bible of true believers."

      Really. Source please.

      Here's a recent NYT article which says the opposite: "The new data is partial and most likely undercounts the recent death toll significantly. But it still illustrates how the coronavirus is causing a surge in deaths in the places it has struck, probably killing more people than the reported statistics capture."
      https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/28/us/coronavirus-death-toll-total.html

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    11. It's a pandemic, the deaths are real. Even with inflated numbers, the icu and deaths are real and many. Denying that makes you flat-earther

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    12. Ephraim - you don't know what's going on in Satmar. They play the political game very well, so of course they make all the right statements about compliance. In reality, they have already opened up yeshivas and shuls. With certain changes, naturally. But the point is they have actually opened them - unlike all the other communities. And since those other communities are jealous of Satmar's guts, they just sit and call them names like some of the commeters here. Pathetic.

      Other commenters - I've already said, several times, leave NY out the conversation. I don't need to say it every time. In the REST of the country, where are all the bodies? Where's the apocalypse? Show me - where is it?

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    13. @David Ohsie

      It's not the worst i've seen DF. I'll never ever ever forget this from EVE May 2nd 2018.

      "I don't know and dont care about David Duke, but I've noticed that anyone who dares challenge official Jewish dogma about the Holocaust is labeled a Holocaust 'denier.' As if to challenge an assumption about the Holocaust is tantamount to denying it.
      The boy who cried wolf already came home a few years ago. For too long the liberal establishment shouted down decent and honest opposition by stifling it with cries of racism and anti-semitism. But such cries have grown weak and toothless in their old age. All these accusations do is harden ill feelings, and in many cases, they actually make things much worse. We are all taught, correctly, not to call our children names like 'liar', because they might shrug and say 'Ok, if they think I'm a liar anyway, what the heck, I may as well act like one.' What do you think happens when we toss around insults like 'Racist' and 'Holocaust Denier?'

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    14. Seems like this conversation is heading from Gedolim in general toward one of daas torah. So, when are we supposed to think for ourselves and when are we supposed to ask a question? If I didn't ask, but hear that an adam gadol said something, how am I to process the information? If my neighbor asked a question of an adam gadol, the same question that I would have asked, how am I to process the response?

      When do we get to think for ourselves, please?

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    15. David:
      Emes Ve Emunah

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  5. If they would have not suffered as many losses as everyone else, they would say "Torah Protects".
    Since they suffered 10x as much, they say Hashem judges the righteous with a stricter hand, see how awesome we are? There is no arguing with "true believers". Cult mentality always wins.

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  6. Natan, you read the news? Just Google; Sweden. They did exactly what God err I mean the brilliant Doctors said NOT to do. Not only were their numbers relatively good - their economy wasn't trashed.

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    1. No. They. Didn't.

      That's all fake news.

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    2. Is this a joke, the death rate in Sweden is one of the worst in Europe, except for Italy and the UK which didn't start a lock-down until very late.
      The economy is Sweden is also suffering tremendously, although possibly marginally better than some other places in Europe.
      And most importantly, Sweden has a policy if not providing ventilators to the elderly and not test them for COVID-19, so many residents of retirement homes are dying with symptoms of COVID-19, but are not part included in their statistics as they were never tested.

      Basically, Sweden has decided to protect it's economy by allowing thousands of older people to die (official death toll is almost 3000, more than 10 times the death toll in Israel)

      Comparing Israel to Sweden is a perfect example of how a lock-down saves lives.

      If you think that the Charedim modeled their response on Sweden (i.e., Old people don't matter as much as the economy), I would be very interested to see a Tshuva supporting that position.

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    3. Lol, amazing how something is "authentic" when it helps someone, and "fake news" when it doesn't. Here's an actual quote from Bloomberg, which surely you lefties have to trust: "Sweden's unusual approach to fighting the coranivirus pandemic is starting to yield results, acc to the country's top epidemiologist... Sweden has lefts its schools, gyms, cafes, bars and restaurants OPEN".

      Exactly.

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    4. Michael Sedley : A lock down is only useful to avoid having the hospitals overun. Crowded hospitals decrease the quality of care and obviously increase the mortality rate.

      Sweden believes she can the manage the relatively small increase in deaths and therefore a lockdown would be counter-productive as it would only destroy the economy.

      Because eventually you lift it, and people will inevitably get sick. You cannot prevent people from working or going to schools for very long. Sweden bet that IN THE LONG RUN the number of deaths will not change whether they lock down or not. So better protect the economy. We will see in the coming months if they were right or cold insensitive sociopaths.

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    5. The official per capita death rate in Sweden, 280 per million, is one of the highest in the world (over 10 times Israel's). And that is almost certainly an underestimate as many people have dies in nursing homes where they are not testing much, and so excluded from the official count.

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    6. Sweden's deaths/million: 280.27 Israel: 26.79

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    7. I guess we'll see in the long run, but at the moment, based on statistics, it is exceedingly hard to argue that Sweden's approach is "yielding results" or that its numbers are "relatively good".

      The number of COVID deaths per capita in Sweden is between 3-7 times higher than in its culturally and demographically similar Nordic neighbour countries.

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    8. "acc to the country's top epidemiologist"
      and according to everybody else?

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    9. With nearly 3000 deaths and an increasing number of new cases daily - https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6 - Sweden has shown us how not to do it unless the economy comes first and deaths in the elderly don't matter.

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    10. Michael is correct. As for the motivations of Swedish authorities, it appears to be a form of tacit euthanasia of "unproductive" people. You'd think that maybe religious people would object to this, but apparently they have abandoned their worship of Hashem or Jesus in order to worship Donald Trump instead.

      Here's what another Scandinavian wrote recently:
      "Pretty much all of us Swedish neighbours in our domestic debates on what to do about our lockdown rules agree that it's worse than that. Swedish culture has been for century at this point to pretend outward that they're really humanitarian while brutally culling the elements of their society they don't like outside the limelight. They were among the last to stop eugenic state programs for example, forcibly sterilizing women with "undesirable behaviour" for all the way into 1970s. And now they seem to be using this virus to cull the two current undesirable population groups: immigrants with clan-based culture who just keep raping and blowing things up and elderly who's numbers are vastly overstressing the wellfare system due to growth of their number in relation to working age people. And they're quite successful at it, their death rates are over ten times ours and overwhelming majority of the dead come from aforementioned two population groups. All while Swedes get to continue to pretend to everyone who hasn't lived on their borders and doesn't know how their culture works to be humanitarian. And to us Finns, Danes and Norwegians, this is just Swedes being Swedes. Nothing new."

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    11. Lol, amazing how something is "authentic" when it helps someone, and "fake news" when it doesn't.

      Unless you can rebut any of Michael's claims, I would say that the results Sweden was after were different than what Israel was after.

      Their numbers are horrible (compared to Israel's), and it's way too soon to know how their economy will hold up. Sounds like Ron's claims are "fake news" to me.

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    12. Sweden has done remarkably well compared to some other countries, but the reported death toll (297 / million people) is still more than 10 times worse than Israel (26.9), and 50 times worse than countries like Uruguay and Slovakia which implemented lockdowns earlier than Israel.
      So yes, Sweden took a big risk which resulted in thousands of deaths but could have been much worse - not sure why this is a model that Israel (or the Charedim) should have followed.

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    13. @DF

      Quoting Bloomberg to bolster your point is weak.

      Here's one Bloomberg articles (written about 2wks after the one you cited) that suggest Sweden's approach is not as great as everyone thinks,
      https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-05-01/covid-19-sweden-hasn-t-cracked-the-coronavirus-code

      and here's a more recent one (written 2 days ago) that compliments th eabove one, and says while Swedes themselves might be doing relatively okay, it would be a mistake for other countries to adopt their measures:
      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-05/don-t-try-sweden-s-virus-strategy-at-home-goldman-sachs-says

      You wrote "amazing how something is "authentic" when it helps someone, and "fake news" when it doesn't".
      Pertaining to how your own quote applies to yourself, I'll quote your final word of that comment: "Exactly!"

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    14. Again Swedish numbers are not that bad. In France where i live we have more deaths than sweden or USA per million people. And we are still in lockdown. What matters will be this rate at the end of the epedemic.

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    15. N8ZL - Yes, I'm well aware that the street runs both ways. And that is precisely why I never cite media - because as the rule goes "so long as there are opinions, facts can be found to support them.' I cited Bloomberg for that exact same point - not to support something I said, but to show the other guy citing some media report or another that five seconds of googling can find a different report saying exactly the opposite.

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  7. https://www.timesofisrael.com/influential-rabbi-claims-ultra-orthodox-more-prone-to-gods-covid-19-wrath/

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    1. That's probably true.

      What's the sin? At the risk of doing what every charedi motivational speaker does (aka 'rabbi'), I'll take a shot at it: Because they refuse to learn best practices from modern times, science/medicine/engineering/technology, or the universe, and continue to compare this pandemic to metzorah and other such nonsense.

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  8. We clearly see from the numbers that Bnei Brak' suffered ten times the devastation than other communities. Its time to face the facts. The Gedolim were wrong to keep yeshivos open and they were mistaken when they said the Torah protects. If people prefer to defend the Gedolim's acts they need to show how the numbers were off or provide evidence that Torah study heals better than medicine. Good luck!

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    1. Their bodies may have died, but their souls will live on forever (where it really matters) because they listened to the Gedolim.

      T.N.Z.B.T.H.

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    2. This is the most insulting statement . Just ask the six million jews if they think the samew way- having listened to their "gedolim" and stayed in Europe and then perished in Auschwitz.

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    3. Stop diminishing the suffering in my communityMay 7, 2020 at 8:50 AM

      What Gedolim, Turk?

      The only decisions being made are by the askanim who control the puppet strings and pressure the gedolim to say what they want them to say by providing these gedolim with false information.

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    4. Um, Ani Maamin, that's a bit of an extreme thing to say. Chazal pointed out it's better to stay one more day in this world than to have more time in the Next one. We generally do our best to stay alive. Judaism is a religion that glorifies life - U'vacharta VaChayim" and all that - and not death.

      So whitewashing people's deaths as being OK because they died listening to rabbis who were themselves mistaken is more than a little off-putting, to say the least.

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    5. I agree. Judaism is a religion of joy and is more focused on this life than on the next. Besides, heaven and hell is a Christian concept, they are not Jewish ideas.

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    6. To Stop dim...

      The Gedolim in Haredi circles.

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    7. "Just ask the six million jews if they think the same way- having listened to their "gedolim" and stayed in Europe and then perished in Auschwitz."

      Come on. It's not like all six million had a choice to flee. Heck, how many of them were still pious enough to even ask a rabbi?

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    8. Aren't we talking about the ones pious enough to unquestionably follow rabbis?

      Sure, all six million would never have gotten out. But SOME would have - it is known that many leaders said not to leave, just as many individuals saw the handwriting on the wall and left.

      Sure, leaving Europe wasn't easy, but some managed it. The people who didn't try had a 100% failure rate. The people who did try... some of them made it. And therefore more could have, had leadership been more on the side of pushing everyone to get out.

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    9. Human nature is to hope for the best, so we can't fault the rabbinic leaders should opt to stay. Though it is unfortunate they did not think like Albert Einstein and left.

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  9. You ain't seen nuthin' yet. Just wait until half a million Haredim come home from Meiron after Lag BaOmer.

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    1. Meron. So, speaking about how the "real judaism" is all about being rational...

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    2. No mass pilgrimage to Meron will be allowed. A few dozen people only.

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  10. The rates of infection in Bnei Brak had almost nothing to do with the Yeshivos and far more with the early failure to observe social distancing in shuls, mikvaos, and supermarkets. And, um, everyone there died while the Yeshivos were closed.

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    1. @hello (...if that IS your real name...),

      Nothing to do with the yeshivos! You're darn-tootin-right. They should have kept the yeshivos open and CLOSED the supermarkets! The Gedolim missed the opportunity!

      Peter the Great once faced a crisis like this...

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    2. Barry FroondellMay 6, 2020 at 9:59 PM

      They couldn't close the mikvaot for other reasons.

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    3. @NR: "The only question remaining is: How many people will learn the appropriate lessons?"

      Actually, what IS the appropriate lesson? Poverty, overcrowding, insularity, over-emphasis on misunderstanding ancient texts, lack of professionalism, lack of public policy understanding, hatred of The Medina, science/medicine/technology ignorance, lack of colour in attire, seams in the stockings, throwing stones at non-self, driving over the speedlimit.... what??

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    4. You do know that there is a lag time between exposure and death, right?

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  11. For all those who unsuccessfully try to argue with this blog and think they are fighting the milchemes Hashem, I have one piece of advice: STOP READING this blog! The only reason this blog is influential is because people who disagree keep reading it and picking fights in the comment section. You will never win. So just stop. When all of the so called rationalists have nobody to argue with, they will also stop reading this blog.

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    1. You have a good point...I guess there is too much time on our hands
      ....that certainly will be one more plus for the world when the Yeshivos reopen...

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    2. Walter's version of an argument is "you are mad and need help." It's a real wonder you haven't convinced us all with your razor sharp wit and logic.

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    3. For the people who dislike what they find on this blog, ask yourself: why are you here?

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    4. Just Stop and Walter:
      Question: How would you know who reads this blog and why they do so?

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  12. assuming that the these numbers actually represent what they are alleged to be indicating, this indicates an interesting phenomenon. ostensibly there were 34 deaths in benie braq out of 2871 confirmed cases, for a mortality rate of just under 1.2%. nationally there were 238 deaths out of 16,314 confirmed cases, for a mortality rate of just under 1.45%. both numbers represent incredibly low mortality rates by international standards, but BB actually has a lower mortality than the rest of the country.
    maybe this is related to population age distribution (just as the high infection rate is related to population density), or maybe it is just a statistical fluke. on the other hand, maybe it indicates that torah does protect after all.

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    1. The statistical anomaly is mentioned in this article Bnei Brak has a younger average population then the rest of Israel. Given that this disease primarily kills older people you would expect the death rate to be smaller though the difference of 0.25% is basically statistical noise and falls under an overlapping margin of error.

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    2. Comparing across countries is not useful because the detection rate differs so vastly between countries. The true death rate where the system is not overwhelmed is likely less than 1%. However even 0.5% is really, really terrible.

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    3. both numbers represent incredibly low mortality rates by international standards, but BB actually has a lower mortality than the rest of the country.

      The consensus worldwide on the infection fatality rate for COVID-19 seems to be that it is in the range of 0.8%. If anything, the numbers from B'nei Brak seem high to me. It could be a statistical thing, genetic predisposition (which we know little about as yet), risk factors, etc.

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    4. Uh, no.
      1.2%, 1.4%, 1 point anything % represents a HIGH mortality rate. (That is more than 10 times higher than influenza, but on apples to apples comparison basis, probably more like more than 100 times higher). But once again as we covered on this site a million times already, CFR depends on too many variables to do cross comparisons. It depends on demographics, how much testing was done (The denominator of the CFR equation is completely dependent on the number of people tested!), what is the inherent deadliness of the actual virus, etc. and only at the very end - Was proper care possible to be given to the patients (or was healthcare system overrun causing CFR to balloon)?

      The better analysis is provided here in the article referenced by Rabbi Slifkin. Total deaths out of total population number. That is a more reliable benchmark to assess than the precise CFR. It tells you which communities were hit the hardest across Israel. Mostly because there is no reason that X number of cases won't produce some (y% of X) deaths, no matter how good your medical care is or what lucky virus mutations came about in the infected population in different areas, or what age demographics are present.

      In terms of total deaths as percentage of cases, Israel is middle of the pack across all world countries. That means, regardless of all the factors that influence CFR and therefore make comparisons extremely difficult, Israel didn't have any spectacular success going on to manufacture a lower death number per the cases they experienced. Middle of the pack means within the normal range of outcomes across the world.

      What Israel did do well was to limit the number of cases. That is going to limit the deaths no matter what the CFR exactly is in every location (and no one really knows or could know).
      Border control and mandatory quarantines did wonders. They also had much better screening and contact tracing than the US. Not perfect, but definitely helped.

      Delete
    5. Yes, it's the population age distribution. When each family has 8 kids, there are very few old people to get infected and die.

      Delete
    6. OK then - the better recovery rate FROM THE HIGHER INFECTED RATE might be due to the population being younger (as per the original posting), but the overall HIGHER INFECTION RATE is most likely due to incomplete quarantining as early as possible.

      Also - and I admit this is speculation that I am pulling out of thin air, but I think it makes sense - if "Torah protects," then the protection is not likely to be a few fractional percentage points. It would be a swooping number, either protect completely, or lower the rate by a factor of ten or something. Again, there are no sources for this (because there are no sources for this in general), but it seems logical. Quibble over the exact numbers, but 0.25% - or even the relative difference of 17.2% [=(1.45-1.2)/1.45] - seems underwhelming for what should be an amazing phenomenon.

      Delete
    7. (I was responding to the initial Anonymous' comment. Student V's response was not yet visible, or I wouldn't have said anything.)

      Delete
  13. I almost always agree with Rav Slikin but here I have mixed feelings.

    34 deaths is a really low number. It is actually a very good "performance" compared to any european city. BB has a higher density than the rest of the country and the religious way of life involves A LOT MORE interaction with other humans than the secular or suburb ones.

    A closer analysis of the 34 deaths would be interesting. We already know the most of israeli victims were very old and already had other health problems.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Better than Europe" is a low bar since southern Europe has suffered more than anyone else.

      Delete
  14. The mortality rate per population is the same in BB as Bat Yam. I would expect BB to be far worse. Unless Bat Yam took social distancing and lock down as casually as BB.

    Clearly torah does protect.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What about Bat Yam? Is that a particularly Chareidi area, that it would have such a high mortality rate, much closer to that of BB than that of J'slem?

    What about the population density? How does it compare?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Apt Words for an Inapt PupilMay 7, 2020 at 5:36 AM

    *RDNS
    "Nothing sharpens vision more than envy, nothings portrays more accurately than hatred, and nothing distorts the truth more than both. an eye sharpened by hatred accurately registers the facts but one's judgement is limited by passion" Rav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch, Collected Writings Vol.2 p385

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm delighted Israel suffered so few deaths, but I'm still amazed at those numbers, and I wonder if indeed they're accurate. They fly in the face of every other country's experience. To have 16000+ cases and only 200+ fatalities is just mind-bending. Either Israel is not being transparent, or Gd has shown some remarkable love for those living in the Holy Land.

    ReplyDelete
  18. A few points

    1) Rabbi Slifkin's argument is not about the relative wisdom of different lockdown of different lockdown strategies, it's about whether there is empirical evidence for or against the claim that Torah (defined the Charedi way) protects from Coronoravirus.

    2) The fact that Sweden has a relatively high death rate NOW, is completely irrelevant. All that most other western countries have done is spread out the deaths over a longer period.

    3) For countries that are able to do it, crushing the virus completely and keeping it crushed is the best policy. However, the worst policy is what other western countries are doing (except Sweden) namely spreading out the deaths over a long period while having an indefinite shutdown that destroys the economy. People who think this is 'saving lives' are complete morons. This may well be the single most evil and destructive thing governments have done since WW1.

    4) It's kind of weird how after decades of portraying Sweden at the utopia to which we all should aspire, politically correct people (I would say lest-wing, but I am also including fakeservatives here) are not villifying it as an evil country that is sentencing its elderly to death, which is plainly absurd. Looks suspiciously like a guilty conscience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Re Point 4 - not unlike all the civil liberty concerns, which the left (still!) laughably complains about, and yet had not problem trampling all over (again).

      Delete
  19. Slifkin presents himself as a talmudical scholar but is only notable based on his ignorance.

    The talmud states that when God gives a damager the permission to damage he doesnt differentiate between a rasha and a tzaddik.

    Thus to say that the torah doesnt protect is stupid. We dont understand Tzaddik vra Lo rassha vtov lo..

    If moshe couldnt understand it not sure how clown slifkin beleives he can.

    Thus to make conclusion "Second is that Torah didn't protect." just betrays his intellectual lack of clarity.

    That people turn to an am haaretz like him for clarity on deep moral questions will continue to befuddle any bar daas...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reb Inigo MontoyaMay 8, 2020 at 6:50 AM

      @Braindead (yes, an appt handle)

      You use words like scholar, ignorance, stupid, understand, intellectual, and clarity, but I do not think those words mean what you think they mean.

      There is no way to distinguish between (1) a system where observably everyone (good or bad) gets things happening to them (good or bad) AND (2) a system where everything that happens to everyone is actually random.

      הַכֹּל כַּאֲשֶׁר לַכֹּל, מִקְרֶה אֶחָד לַצַּדִּיק וְלָרָשָׁע לַטּוֹב וְלַטָּהוֹר וְלַטָּמֵא, וְלַזֹּבֵחַ, וְלַאֲשֶׁר אֵינֶנּוּ זֹבֵחַ: כַּטּוֹב, כַּחֹטֶא--הַנִּשְׁבָּע, כַּאֲשֶׁר שְׁבוּעָה יָרֵא.

      Do you know that, Braindead? Think about that for a while.

      You believe things because that's what you've been told, but you have no way to reason it out for yourself. In fact, the so-called "Moshe couldn't understand it" incident you blithely reference doesn't even really say that, so you should try to read what it says. Maybe you can have a Rabbi available for phone-a-friend when you realize that the incident is not clear cut as you would (quoting it) make it.



      Delete
    2. Sure we don't understand it. Great. But we are still instructed to act in a reasonable, sensical manner - not counter to all evidence.

      And after the fact, when evidence points away from the simple "Torah protects," continuing to hold faith in it instead of reevaluating what it could mean, is, to use someone else's word, stupid.

      Delete
  20. Natan, since when did you become a lefty who deny facts and 'believe' whatever happens to be convenient to believe at the time for one's Personal Agenda.

    Fact: Staying home didn't save lives.
    https://www-nydailynews-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-cuomo-coronavirus-stats-20200506-eyqui4b5lfdn7g6cqswkf6otly-story.html?outputType=amp

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Statistical sleight of hand. The headline is: "66% of new coronavirus patients in N.Y. stayed home"
      The percentage of lung cancer patients who are non-smokers has being rising dramatically over the decades. Does that mean that not smoking is getting less healthy?
      If more people are staying at home that means almost ANY statistic will rise for them. So we'd expect an increase in the percentage of bald people who stay at home. And we'd expect the percentage of COVID-19 free people at home to rise at well.

      But remember journalists are a bunch of science/math illiterates.

      Delete
    2. Ephraim staying at home was supposed to have saved lives. This is something that has to be investigated as part of the strategy of fighting the virus. What's the use of asking an area to stay at home if most will die? If there's nothing to investigate further then have them not confined in New York at home for sure.

      The usual YA

      Delete
  21. What is the source for 'number of deaths'? How calculated. In the UK there are several different 'numbers of deaths'. In particular in the UK it's 'death of those infected with COVID' NOT deaths from COVID. Big difference.

    How many had underlying conditions? How many would have died anyway in the near future from diseases like cancer? How many died infected with COVID, but died from other sources?

    Without detail like that, it's just numbers.

    ReplyDelete
  22. https://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/news/health/hackney-has-third-highest-coronavirus-death-rate-in-uk-1-6640767

    Hackney which is fairly comparable to Benei Berak in many ways, has a mortality rate over 10 times higher than BB.

    More evidence that torah protects.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I assume no one here is actually interested in a sound demographic or actuarial analysis of the numbers so I won't volunteer.
    However, I am disappointed that someone who generally offers nuanced and scientific analysis will rely on a 2x2 table with 3 columns to somehow prove something as yet unknowable.
    The same goes for the shrill references to Sweden, although one can be more sympathetic to Doctors presuming to be statisticians.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll take one if you're offering...

      Delete
    2. Working on it. Do you have somewhere you’d like me to send it ?

      Delete
  24. If you want to real answer answer, see Gemara Shabbos 55. Torah does protect a Jewish nation in general, but not necessarily every person in every situation. When there is a gezeirah and Hashem reveals mida din, it affects the "elders" and those who are shomrim Torah first of all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lazar, do you download your daf yomi lectures from quickdaf.org in mp3 format, or do you stream it from one of the other rapid superficial sources?

      Delete
    2. @Maggid Some speak because they have something to say, others because they have to say something.

      Delete
  25. Mommy gave me a cookie because I did my homework. Tatty patshed me because I broke the pitcher. Mommy got upset at my brother Simcha for something so she was too tired to take us for ice cream. Sad. I wonder what he did to tire her out so much. Tatty can't tuck me in tonight, but that's ok because it's late and he's going to seder at the yeshiva.

    That's what you all sound like trying to account for reward and punishment on a personal or national scale. And if you quote from some source called Rabbi you are too incredibly naive to warrant a conversation, because 'rabbi' doesn't have better access to Tatty than you do.

    ReplyDelete
  26. 34 people died in Bnei Brak versus 55 in Jerusalem. 195,298 got the virus in Bnei Brak whereas in Jerusalem it was 914,559. Bnei Brak in the chart is shown as having the second lowest among the list of cities given by you. In any event suppose you have a city with three deaths and another with two deaths. What do those statistics and the consequent mortality rates tell us according to the math? Absolutely nothing. The numbers have to be statistically significant to be distinguished from other factors especially randomness.

    The usual YA

    ReplyDelete
  27. You have no idea if schools had anything to do with the deaths. It could very well have been packed shuls. Indeed, a study just came out that concluded that children can't even give the virus to adults. A little more scientific humility would be in order. And incidentally, considering all the outrage directed at Bnei Brak, an neutral reader of the mainstream news would probably think there were 3,400 deaths there, not 34.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. a study just came out that concluded that children can't even give the virus to adults.

      I am sure that you misunderstood whatever article you read about this. The virus spreads through the air. Unless children don't breath when they are infected, they can infect adults.

      Delete
  28. And I would stop making comments about Torah protecting or not. Neither you nor I have any idea how Hashem adds up zechusim. We know for a fact that Torah protects. We also know for a fact that tefillah helps. To what extent, and how, Torah protects and tefillah helps, we don't know. But to say they don't protect or help in some manner, seems to me to border on the heretical.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, sure, Torah protects in some manner. But Torah (according to the charedi definition) didn't protect here.

      Delete
    2. Yes it did. The mortality rate in BB is far far lower by a massive magnitude, compared to similar urban areas in other parts of the world. Like Hackney.

      Delete
    3. Yes, Torah protects, but it is not like amulets or red strings. The Torah is not a magical book with the protective power of its own. No, only G-d grants protection. What you should say, Yehudah, is that G-d protects. Anything to the contrary is heretical and is a violation of Torah law.

      Delete
    4. If people agree to stay in the club and follow the rules, the club is more likely to survive as a whole.

      As to individual members of the club... Thanks to the Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Crusades, Chelmylnitski, Nazis, etc... Many Jews aren't available for comment.

      Delete
    5. To Yehudah and "*****?"

      The Torah does not [and cannot] magically protect people from coronavirus. G-d alone protects people from harm. Thus it is the Jews' duty to alienate themselves from these superstitions notions such as red bendels, mezuzahs, omens, amulets, and lucky charms [that these objects inherently have power], all of which are violations of Maimonides 13 Foundations of Torah. Try igniting any one of these items (though disrespectful) and they will burn. If these items cannot protect themselves, how much more so are they incapable of protecting humans (other than for psychological reasons).

      G-d said: "Let no one be found among you who... [is] a soothsayer, a diviner, a sorcerer, one who casts spells, or one who consults ghosts or familiar spirits, or one who inquires of the dead." (Deut. 18:10,11)

      Delete
    6. Yes it did. The mortality rate in BB is far far lower by a massive magnitude, compared to similar urban areas in other parts of the world. Like Hackney.

      It's rather disingenuous to compare rates inside and outside of Israel. BB has a higher per-capita mortality rate than Ramat Gan, which is literally next door.

      Delete
    7. We know for a fact that Torah protects.

      No, we don't know this for a fact. And even if you accept CHaZaL's statements on this matter, the nature of the protection is unknowable, so it's literally suicidal to depend on it.

      Delete
    8. Avi, you need to compare like with like in any sort of statistical analysis. Not two places that happen to be next to each other.

      Delete
  29. For those looking for a breath of fresh air and a nice show of achdus after all this mudslinging
    check out this: http://vayichan.com
    Its a pre-shavuos inspirational program uniting some of the biggest names in the chareidi and modern orthodox worlds.
    Achdus

    ReplyDelete
  30. Interestingly, still much safer than most of the United States (haredi or otherwise). Bnai Brak has about 17 deaths per 100,000 people, Jerusalem has about 6. The rest of the country has less than 2 deaths per 100,000. By contrast, Rockland County in the NYC suburbs has 171, the Bronx has 203. The USA average is about 23. So the "worst" part of Israel is pretty good by USA standards. Lesson: the USA is a mess. (Lest I sound overly Zionist here, I do note that Israel is not the safest country in the world from COVID-19, just above average; some Asian countries are doing better, as are Australia and New Zealand).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing wrong with sounding Zionist.
      Israel's response was a wise one, by quarantining pretty much everyone who flew into Israel. But, if Israel were ever the size of the USA (הלוואי), it wouldn't be able to implement such measures.

      Delete
  31. The mortality rate is not calculated using how many died from the virus but using the figures at the very end of the left side of the chart. The mortality rate is based on that, to calculate the ratio of death to the total infected by the virus and really includes time parameters. Imagine a city with 3000,000 who were infected and loses 5000 people being given the same mortality rate as one with 200,000 who were infected and loses 5000.

    The usual YA

    ReplyDelete
  32. https://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/1858198/mayor-of-beitar-illit-i-feared-we-wouldnt-make-it-through-safely.html

    ReplyDelete
  33. The mechanism you're using is not scientific or mathematically correct. I see it's giving how many died versus not how many people had the disease which is how you measure a mortality rate for a disease but how many lived in a place. I did not notice that that is what the chart measures and is giving that rather as the ratio in the leftmost column instead and further you're ignoring the ratios given even for the chart and simply taking how many died and having the lower amounts indicating the highet resultant ratios and further rather than compare them with the rest of Israel as you say you are doing you compare them with the whole of Israel including themselves, the general death toll. According to your mechanism if Jerusalem had 2 people and one of them died and the whole country had 100,000 people and 12,500 died, Jerusalem's mortality rate would be about 4 times as high as the rest of the country.

    The usual YA

    ReplyDelete
  34. According to the statistics in Israel as of this writing 16,454 had gotten the virus so far and 247 died. If Bnei Brak had had about 10 times the mortality rate given by those figures it would mean more people had the virus in Bnei Brak than in all of Israel, let alone outside of Bnei Brak.

    The usual YA

    ReplyDelete
  35. According to the statistics in Israel as of this writing 16,454
    had gotten the virus so far and
    247 died. If Bnei Brak had had about 10 times the mortality rate given by those figures it would mean more people had the virus in Bnei Brak than in all of Israel, let alone outside of Bnei Brak.

    I see though the article was comparing using the leftmost column Israel's populations' average for death from the virus versus the population of places in Israel and their averages for death from the virus but this is not equivalent to the mortality rate from the virus. Which gives the ratio of deaths to total cases.

    The usual YA

    ReplyDelete

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