Why take the newest China Virus seriously- and how to handle it with sanity

"Why take the newest China Virus seriously, and how to handle it with sanityby 

1. Why Take It Seriously
I face a dilemma. I do not believe a thing coming from CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, MSNBC, the Washington Post, or the New York Times. They have lied to me so often, and particularly these past three years, that I do not watch them, do not hear them, do not bother with them. I do read the headlines of the daily Washington Post and sometimes open a story, but rarely. Even a broken clock is correct twice daily.
Dov Fischer
Rabbi Dov Fischer

Likewise, when I watch Fox News, the only American news I can bear to watch on my TV, I do so mostly with a grain of salt. Some of them have my confidence: Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Bret Baier, Brit Hume, Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and the occasional appearances of VDH and Mark Steyn. And, except for his adoration of animals and some of his salty references, Greg Gutfeld probably is the closest thing there to me.

As it happens, I watch one hour of Israel news every night. I do so because, although my mastery of Biblical Hebrew is strong, my day-long immersion in and love for the quirks and nuances of the glorious English language impel me to listen to an hour of spoken contemporary “street Hebrew” daily in order to maintain that added fluency. I also have come to enjoy the news coverage there because they cover Mideast, European, and Asian developments better and more objectively than does American news, and because it enhances my perspective on what’s cookin’ in Israel. This has proven to be particularly valuable for me as I follow the coronavirus scare because it affords me an in-depth second perspective. For the past month it has seemed to me that they are three weeks ahead of us. If so, we all will be expected to stay indoors by April, on pain of arrest and fine.

 Laura Ingraham Show (Photo: Media Matters)
On one hand, I am like so many supporters of President Trump who are so disgusted with the Corrupt Journalist Corps and their non-stop lies that I have no patience to watch or hear their “coverage” of COVID-19, which basically can be summarized as: Trump is to blame for the disease. Trump failed to foresee it when he was born. Trump should have had everyone wearing gas masks. All deaths are Trump’s fault. Oh, and did we mention that he is a RACIST!? How can he call it the Chinese virus? Because of Trump, we do not have enough test kits, enough masks, enough toilet paper. Impeach! Because, if only we had Joe Biden right now in the White House he would know what to do.

I have no patience for that garbage. When I watch and compare what is going on in Israel, and their coverage of Europe and Asia, I see that President Trump has led very effectively. All the countries were unprepared — in some same ways, in some different ways. Israel also did not have enough test kits and also is trying to line up more masks and ventilators. In Italy and Spain, they really messed up. RACIST!

Sure, it is easy for the perpetual Trump Haters now to say that he should have done more before. But when he closed down air travel from China, the same garbage-heavers went apoplectic:

Now the governors of more and more states are imposing serious quarantines that are requiring all residents of their respective state to remain indoors, alone with family, allowed to exit only for the most urgent needs: seeking urgent medical care and buying toilet paper.

Screen capture from video of a Chinese laborer, suspected of suffering from
coronavirus, being brought to Barzilai Medical Center, January 2020. (YNet)
In Israel, the country now is “b’hesger” — closed down. The only exceptions are for life’s urgencies: again, medical needs, shopping for food and pharmaceuticals, and — because it is Israel — attending political demonstrations (but staying six feet, or two meters, apart). Can you imagine what the Trump Haters would have said if he actually had ordered quarantines and businesses and people off the streets during the earliest days? CNN and MSNBC would have been hosting mental-health “experts” saying that Trump finally broke and now is like Hitler preparing to impose martial law and to impose the dictatorship-for-life that CNN’s and MSNBC’s crack commentators have been predicting insanely since he traveled down the escalator.

Nancy Pelosi doles "impeachment pens" to Dem managers of the case
(Photo: Associated Press)
Meanwhile, objective history will record forever that, as the rest of the world was coming to grips in January 2020 with the realization that we had a pandemic brewing, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats were focused on souvenir pens, impeachment to nowhere, and tearing up speeches throughout the month, bogging down the President with a Senate trial that required huddling with legal counsel when the Congress and the country instead should have had eyes on Europe and on the newest China virus.

Regardless of the politics, I take this thing very, very seriously. My law students are in a safer age cohort, but my congregation includes several beloved families who are over age 60 and 65 and beyond. Some live very dynamically but with chronic health conditions that place them in the higher-risk categories. Some take meds to control those conditions and assure them longevity but that compromise their immunity. Even though the death rate or any severe results from this newest China virus among people under 60 is minuscule, those are precisely the sweet and kind people who unknowingly can transmit death to those in the higher-risk categories. So I do not regard this thing as an “overblown exaggeration.” My people do not eat bats, snakes, and dogs, and we do not have an established tolerance to China viruses.

COVID-19 both is less serious than the flu, and it is far more serious than the flu. On one hand, coronavirus numbers are a minuscule splotch compared to the annual numbers of American and worldwide flu infections and deaths. We Americans lose 30,000-60,000 Americans annually from the flu, and no one pays much attention. By contrast, almost everyone under 60 who contracts coronavirus comes out pretty solidly. So that makes the China virus seem milder. Even the 60-69 group sustain fewer than 10 percent dead. Even the overwhelming majority of the septuagenarians and octogenarians who contract come out alive and kicking. More than 80 percent in those age groups survive, even at that age. All that is one perspective — that the whole thing is way overblown, aimed at taking down Trump now that the Democrats and their Corrupt Journalist Corps failed with FISA and with Christopher Steele, with Blasey Ford and with Avenatti and Stormy, with Michael Cohen and with Omarosa, with Mueller and with impeachment.

But here’s the thing. People under 60 and without high-risk health conditions know pretty quickly when they have the flu, but do not know for two weeks when they are carrying coronavirus. This difference is critical. When someone has the flu, within two or three days they are sneezing, coughing, red-eyed, and a mess. You know to stay away from them, or you know you also are going to be so sick in two days. Moreover, if you are among the half of Americans who are sensible, you even can pursue partial precaution by getting a flu shot, even a multi-spectrum one for people more at risk. That immunization does not cancel every flu bug, but it helps a bunch and even mitigates flu’s worst symptoms for many who nevertheless get stricken.

The problem with COVID-19 is that it takes a long time — two weeks, a fortnight, even longer — before the carrier knows he is infected. That is why they quarantine for 14 days, not two or three days. And carriers tend to transmit it more broadly, to more people than flu carriers, perhaps because they are oblivious to their own infection. So all these robust and healthy people kiss a spouse, hug a kid, visit a grandma or grandpa, shake a hand, place hands on a coffee-shop table, borrow or lend a pen, hand-pick some fresh produce at the store, and transmit the bug. And then — two weeks later — it turns into a 1960s “Star Trek” episode, where everyone on the planet except for Kirk, Spock, Bones, Sulu, and Uhura ends up dying before the first commercial.

Unlike flu, we do not yet know for sure what we are dealing with because (except for Andrew Zimmerman) who eats bats? The flu season often ends in the warmer months, but Australia now is in summer because everything there is upside-down — lucky for them there is gravity! — and they have the China virus spreading there, too. Not only do we not fully know what we are dealing with here, but we also cannot be sure whether next winter the thing will mutate into a variant. So it is a real concern. Look dispassionately and objectively at what has befallen Italy and Spain to grasp what could be. Which raises the next epidemiological concern:

Let’s say, based on some people having stronger natural immunities and some being more susceptible, that this newest China virus eventually will hit “X” number of Americans in each of the various age and health categories. Even if the ultimate number of people stricken cannot be avoided, there is an enormous premium on slowing down the rate, the tempo of the spread so that not everyone gets critical at once. By reducing the speed of the spread, the public’s health system may avoid becoming over-taxed. We have a finite number of oxygen-generating equipment — ventilators, external oxygen machines — a finite number of hospital beds, of intensive-care beds, a finite number of health care workers, doctors, and nurses.

If all whom the coronavirus will strike get sick during the same time frame, the system will be forced into the ultimate “Medicare for All” nightmare: not enough resources to treat all the older, the immuno-suppressed, and the chronically weakened — so hospital administrators and medical personnel will have to make life-and-death choices as to who gets the ventilator and who is selected to die.

That concern is at the core of Israel’s response, as they have moved increasingly from the more relaxed early steps we have taken here. By now, they are enforcing home stays, except for limited exceptions. In their latest move, they actually are at the edge of the envelope of personal privacy, having engaged technology that, until now, they have employed only to track, monitor, and surveil potential terrorists. They have technology that enables them to go back and track retroactively to determine where an infected guy had been days earlier, and to identify and locate every person with whom he came into contact back then. And then they text those people to go into 14-day quarantine. The Knesset and Israeli Supreme Court are actively monitoring the implementation to assure that this desperate life-saving mechanism does not turn into our corrupted FISA court system.


Democrat California officials immobilize 40 million residents and most of economy for 4-weeks to limit Chinese Virus

Democrat California Governor Gavin Newsom alerts National Guard to deploy; warns of potential to enforce martial law.

Los Angeles joins the entire San Francisco Bay Area and major metropolitan areas like Sacramento — the seat of California’s government and Newsom’s current home — in confining residents to their homes for all but essential tasks.
In readying the National Guard for action, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office emphasized that it’s for duties routinely performed during natural disasters and other emergencies. But Newsom grimly added that “we have the ability to do martial law... if we feel the necessity.” (Photo: KTVU - TV)

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti with Kathryn Barger
Photo: Damian Dovarganes /AP/Shutterstock
At a 5 p.m. press conference Thursday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger announced a “stay at home” order for Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles starting at 11:59 p.m. Thursday for one month (which may be extended prior to April 19, 2020). 

"L.A. Mayor Says He’ll Deputize City Bureaucrats to Enforce “Stay at Home” Order" by Jennifer Van Laar in Red State March 20, 2020

Subject only to the exceptions outlined in this Paragraph and Paragraph 5 below:

1) All persons living within the City of Los Angeles are hereby ordered to remain in their homes.  
2) All businesses within the City of Los Angeles are ordered to cease operations that require in-person attendance by workers at a workplace.  
3) All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a residence are prohibited
4) All travel, including, without limitation, travel on foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, automobile, or public transit is prohibited.
5) Failure to comply with this Order shall constitute a misdemeanor subject to fines and imprisonment.
Subject to this list of exceptions.

Just minutes after their press conference ended, California Gov. Gavin Newsom held his own press conference from Sacramento and ordered all Californians to stay home, and all businesses to close (with exceptions for workers in federally-defined critical infrastructure sectors).

Garcetti soon afterwards appeared on CNN's Cuomo Prime Time: 

Chris Cuomo (then) asked how his order would be enforced. Will it be enforced? Garcetti referenced a question he was asked at the press conference that was along the lines of, “Is this an if you see something, say something situation?” 

Garcetti then said:
Yes. But don’t call a cop. Go and tell somebody they shouldn’t be doing that. Then if there are cases where people are blatantly violating this order, yeah, we’ll visit them.
Would that be a visit or a “visit”?  Garcetti continued his explanation, and shared how he would find the personnel to enforce his order.
You know, people are getting guns. They’re going crazy. I’m saying crime is actually way down and generosity is way up. This is different than a riot or a public safety emergency; this is a public health emergency, and we have to remember that it’s on all of us to do this.

But we’re certainly going to deputize many city employees to walk those streets, to drive around. If we see any folks that are still open, we’ll just pay them a visit and let them know that this is something they have to comply with and it’s for their own health. 
In the very rare cases where somebody doesn’t comply, of course we can enforce that.
Aside from the fact that it’s a terrible and expensive idea to deputize the city’s bureaucrats, who understand that corruption is the ticket up the corporate ladder, and task them with “walking the streets” (heh) and driving around looking for “violators” to harass, Garcetti’s assertion that these drastic measures are needed to blunt a deadly public health crisis because “all human lives are precious” is a massive hypocritical slap in the face to the families of more than 1,000 homeless people who died on the streets of Los Angeles last year.

Noting the exceptions for healthcare facilities and workers, those USPS, Amazon and Postnotes delivery drivers, pharmacies, telecommunications workers, grocery stores, food banks, some schools, services for those with lesser financial resources, banks, outdoor farmer’s markets and gas stations, among others, the LA City and LA County order will see restaurants remaining open on skeleton staff but only available for pick up. People will be able to travel on L.A.’s usually crowded roads to care “for children, elder adults, family, friends and people with disabilities,” the order says.

Gov. Gavin Newsom shuts down Californians for at least four weeks
Just minutes after their press conference ended, California Gov. Gavin Newsom held his own press conference from Sacramento and ordered all (nearly 40 million) Californians to stay home, and all businesses to close (with exceptions for workers in federally-defined critical infrastructure sectors).

Newsom orders all 40M Californians to stay home in nation's strictest state lockdown by Jeremy White in Politico,  3/19/20

Days after he instructed the California National Guard to go on alert, Newsom said Thursday he would deploy about 500 guard personnel to help with humanitarian work and food distribution.

In recent days, Newsom, mayors and health officials across the state have clamped down on social gatherings as reported coronavirus cases and deaths have steadily increased.