The global reaction to the Coronavirus has caused flights to be grounded, schools to be closed, the stock market to drop, countless businesses to fail, grocery store shelves to be empty, hoarders to stockpile, lines to become overwhelming, face masks to be commonplace, and loved ones to be separated geographically & emotionally.
We are in such a unique time given that billions of lives, for the first time in my lifetime, are being affected by the same thing simultaneously.
The news media has been describing a dangerous, newly evolved virus that can only be dealt with by mass quarantining and social distancing, of which most governments have adopted and mandated.
THERE IS HOPE
1 Peter 5:10 (NIV) – And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Yes, in this world there is and will be trouble, but Jesus has overcome the world. He offers us hope when hope seems lost. Jesus created you for a purpose and a plan. He loves you and sustains all life. In fact, He is preparing a place for you in Heaven.
Of course, no follower of Christ wants to die, but if we do… what and where is the sting of death?
My heart for you is sincere, so please read this article all the way through. I hope it brings you peace.
Given the current situation, we must ask two simple questions.
1. What is the Coronavirus?
2. What is a Quarantine?
WHAT IS THE CORONAVIRUS?
Contrary to what the news media has been communicating, the Coronavirus is not new. In fact, the Coronavirus has been studied since the 1960’s and has been known to be a unique type of virus with many sub-strains. In fact, the journal of Medical Microbiology published in 1996 stated that, “Coronaviruses cause acute, mild upper respiratory infection (common cold).”
The above quote seems contrary to what we are hearing and seeing on the news, so what does this study mean?
The disease is officially called COVID-19, but the virus strain causing the disease is called SARS-CoV-2. If SARS is sounding a bit familiar… yes, the Coronavirus strain from the 2003 outbreak is officially named SARS-CoV-1. The current virus seems to be new to humans, but is so similar to SARS that it has been aptly named SARS-CoV-2. The CDC did a study on the similarities of the two viruses, feel free to read it and draw your own conclusions. CDC Source.
Although the media has been telling us how dangerous the Coronavirus is, Tufts has published an article describing what the data actually says.
“From the information that we have at this point, in some ways, COVID-19 has behaved similar to the flu, though perhaps it’s a bit more contagious in the right conditions. The caveat is that this assumption is based mostly on information from cases seen in the Chinese population. But from that data, it appears that for most people, COVID-19 is a mild disease—probably a little flu-like, but maybe even milder and more like a cold.” – source
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has published a new proposed death rate for COVID-19. The current data is showing the numbers to be much lower than what was originally communicated.
“If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.” – source
The data is, overwhelmingly, in support of the fact that for most people the COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus is mild and no more dangerous than catching the common flu or cold. The World Health Organization has stated that most “people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.”
Of course, like with any new strain of the cold or flu; those of whom are immune compromised, the young, and the old will have devastating symptoms. The 80+ category is currently (at the time of this article) experiencing a risk rate of mortality at 21.9% of confirmed/reported cases. Which means that almost 80% of those over 80 with the virus will survive! 🙂
Surprisingly, unlike most pandemics, the COVID-19 disease has caused zero fatalities in children under the age of 10.
The COVID-19 mortality rate has been consistently reported higher than the common flu, because COVID-19 is so mild for the young and non-immunocompromised population. This sounds counter-intuitive, but many of the healthcare professionals who are actively treating our loved ones have communicated under-reporting to be commonplace. The symptoms, in general, are so mild that most COVID-19 cases never get reported. Swiss Medical Weekly has published a word of caution when estimating the mortality rate of COVID-19, by stating “it is tempting to estimate the case fatality rate by dividing the number of known deaths by the number of confirmed cases. The resulting number, however, does not represent the true case fatality rate and might be off by orders of magnitude.”
Tom Hanks and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 and were treated at a hospital in Australia. Upon a full recovery, Hanks stated that he and his wife “felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches.“
Currently, 95% of the confirmed/reported cases of COVID-19 are in “Mild Condition,” yet Italy seems to be the exception. Of course, the news media runs on sensationalism, but if we step back and study the factors and data being recorded in Italy, it becomes abundantly clear as to why the Coronavirus has been so devastating there.
Recently, I produced a short film called BOTTOM OF THE LIST. It reveals the struggle for clean, safe drinking water in the most impoverished country in the world.
The United Nations ranks the 189 countries on a scale of human flourishing called the Human Development Index. For example, the countries that have high life expectancy, great healthcare, high levels of education, and good income, places them at the top of the list. In contrast, the people of Niger have low life expectancy, sparse healthcare, sparse education, and an average income of $912 per year. Niger is ranked 189 on the Human Development Index. Why did I shift the conversation from Italy to Niger?
Three major factors of Niger’s poverty are linked to the devastating effects of the Coronavirus in Italy.
1 – Given their sparse healthcare coverage, the people of Niger have little to no pre-existing conditions, nor are there many people who are immune compromised. When someone in Niger gets sick they usually die.
2 – The life expectancy in Niger is 62 years old and only 2.68% of the population has made it past the age of 65.
3 – Niger has the youngest population with 70% being 25 year old or younger and 50% of the population being under the age of 15. This is due to the fact that Niger has the highest total fertility rate of any country with an average of 7 children per woman.
Niger has a young healthy population and according to data at the time of this being written, Niger has had ZERO deaths due to COVID-19.
Not surprising, Italy has the opposite situation of Niger.
There are also three major factors in regard to the devastating effects of the Coronavirus in Italy.
1 – The World Health Organization has rated Italy second best in healthcare only to France. Given their excellent healthcare coverage, the people of Italy have survived in spite of disease, but now have a multitude of pre-existing conditions. There are also many Italians who are immune compromised. When someone in Italy gets sick they receive great healthcare and live to see another day.
2 – The life expectancy in Italy is 83 years old.
3 – Almost 23% of the Italian population is over the age of 65.
Although Italy has great healthcare, their population is on the older side and many folks have pre-existing conditions. According to data at the time of this being written, Italy has the highest number of deaths due to COVID-19.
As previously stated, the news media has been describing the Coronavirus to be a dangerous… which is true for the elderly, for those with pre-existing conditions, and for the immunocompromised.
Yet, the data surrounding this situation has shown the Coronavirus to not be all that dangerous for young and healthy people.
Now that we have a better understanding of COVID-19, the validity of mass quarantining and social distancing needs to be explored. But, first…
What is a Quarantine?
The word QUARANTINE originated from the Italian language in the mid 17th Century and it describes a period of forty days.
WEBSTER DEFINES QUARANTINE AS:
“a term during which a ship arriving in port and suspected of carrying contagious disease is held in isolation from the shore”
THE CDC STATES
“Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.”
Until now, a quarantine has never been used to restrict the movement of people who are not suspect to having been exposed to the contagious disease in question.
We are being told that quarantining at home and engaging in social distancing is the safest and most responsible way to move forward. Of course, by definition, healthy folks do not quarantine, so this reasoning is flawed before we get started. Yet, let’s take a closer look at the claim of mass isolation being the most responsible action in regard to the elderly, the immune compromised, and flattening the curve.
Perhaps you have seen a graph like the one above, or you have seen the hashtag #FlattenTheCurve on social media. The idea being communicated is that if we see a spike in those who acquire the Coronavirus, our healthcare facilities will be overwhelmed. If that happens, then people will be denied treatment and subsequently die from COVID-19.
Flattening the curve of a dangerous pandemic makes sense. Obviously, nobody wants to see their loved ones dying in the street, but let’s look at three claims in regard to flattening the curve.
FIRSTLY, as we have covered previously in this article, the data that has been pouring in clearly shows the Coronavirus Pandemic claims to be completely overblown. The virus in question is so mild that medical professionals are estimating the number of potential unreported cases.
SECONDLY, flattening the curve does make sense in regard to the capacity of our healthcare system, but the data tells a comforting story.
At the time of writing this article, there have been approximately 350k confirmed COVID-19 cases globally. Of which, over 100k have already recovered and approximately 15k have died.
According to the CDC, on average, the United States Healthcare System hospitalizes 140k-810k individuals each year due to the seasonal flu. Given that COVID-19 patients have similar symptoms to influenza patients and there is no vaccine, healthcare providers have been treating confirmed cases similarly. Since each cold and flu season is different and there is a swing in hospitalizations of 670k patients each year, the U.S. healthcare system could have treated & easily absorbed almost double the global number of past and present COVID-19 cases.
In fact, my home state of California has approximately 75k hospital beds, and at the time of writing this article the entire United States has had only 55k Coronavirus cases of which only 1,175 cases have been reported as serious or critical. Remember, most cases are mild like that of Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson and do not need hospitalization. Yes, we could potentially run out of hospital beds if we start treating those with cold-like symptoms.
Recently, I went on a walk and happened to pass two different hospital emergency rooms. They both seemed to be prepped for the in-flooding of COVID-19 victims, but it was a ghost town.
What about your local hospital(s)?
The only reason anyone should attempt a global effort to flatten the curve would be if there actually were a dangerous virus, quickly spreading through the nations, overwhelming our healthcare systems. Even if that happened to be our reality; is mass quarantine and social isolation the only means to survival? Later in this article we will learn from countries like Sweden, and their out of the box approach to COVID-19.
THIRDLY, there is a false narrative hiding within the #FattenTheCurve movement. Many folks are falsely thinking that a flatter curve will save the elderly and the immune compromised. Not true. All of the “Flatten the Curve” projections do not reduce the number of people who will acquire the COVID-19 disease. Flattening the curve only delays the inevitable and safeguards against the shortage of medical supplies and hospital beds.
It seems that the healthcare system is fine. Do we need to be destroying the economy, inhibiting our precious freedoms to gather socially and religiously, but then still eventually exposing the elderly & the immune compromised to COVID-19?
If we are in a mass quarantine in order to keep the healthcare system from being over run, are those in power correctly interpreting the data in regard to COVID-19?
Could it be that we are in mass quarantine in order to keep the elderly & the immunocompromised safe?
Most Americans have heard the sad story of European explorers bringing the common cold, flu, and other viruses to the New World; decimating the native population in the process. In fact, this heartbreaking story has happened over and over again to many indigenous groups.
The idea is that a disease spreads through a people group and, over time, group/herd immunity is built. Yet, if that people group meets another people group that has never experienced said disease, the disease spreads rapidly through the new group. Continents that have been separated for eons and their inhabitants are, essentially, large scale quarantines. So, if we are currently quarantining in order to keep the Coronavirus away from certain folks, how long must we quarantine? Will the quarantine be sufficient after forty days, or maybe 400 days?
A recent study (Suppression and Mitigation Strategies for Control of COVID-19 in New Zealand) released March 25th, 2020 showed that a massive quarantine of 400 days will only delay the epidemic.
“Suppressing transmission for 400 days. At low levels of suppression the peak number of infections is still many times the effective hospital capacity but the outbreak is over within a year. At higher levels of suppression, the epidemic can be held in check for the 400-day control period, but a major outbreak occurs when control is lifted after 400 days. Any strategy with the final number of total infected less than about 60% will have a second wave of infections once controls are lifted.” – source
The above image is a scenario predicted by the Imperial College of London. It is another study showing that a quarantine delays the inevitable.
“Once interventions are relaxed (in the example in Figure 3, from September onwards), infections begin to rise, resulting in a predicted peak epidemic later in the year. The more successful a strategy is at temporary suppression, the larger the later epidemic is predicted to be in the absence of vaccination, due to lesser build-up of herd immunity.” – source
What would have happened to the indigenous peoples of North America if Columbus didn’t sail the ocean blue in 1492? What if someone else came two/three generations later in 1592? Would the indigenous people have had a lower rate of infection? Science tells us no.
Sweden, however, seems to be one of the few countries that understands the shortcomings of a mass quarantine and according to CNBC, they are taking a drastically different approach to COVID-19.
“Unlike its immediate neighbors Denmark, Finland and Norway, Sweden has not closed its borders or its schools; neither has it closed non-essential businesses or banned gatherings of more than two people, like the U.K. and Germany.”
Perhaps at this point, folks might claim we should quarantine until a vaccine is available. This makes sense, but many companies are working on a vaccine and most projections are 12 to 18 months away. Figuring into the equation the fact that vaccine efficacy is always far below 100%, plus the logistical challenge of vaccinating 7.7 billion people, and somehow paying for the cost of producing and shipping billions of vaccines; how long will this quarantine need to last?
Data confirms this current strain of the Coronavirus to be far from dangerous for the majority of the Global population.
Flattening the curve is an unnecessary effort that is destroying our freedoms and finances for no logical, nor scientific reason.
History has shown that people groups without immunity will suffer when they come in contact with a virus. If we quarantine forty days or forty years, the population will eventually mix and those without immunity will suffer.
We cannot live our lives in fear. We cannot bubble wrap ourselves and our loved ones. We all know that tens of thousands of Americans die from the flu each year. Tens of thousands die in automobile accidents. Healthy people get cancer and some folks just die. No one is promised tomorrow.
Of course we shouldn’t make choices to intentionally shorten our lives, but ultimately we must understand that God is in control of who dies and who doesn’t. As a follower of Christ I am not panic stricken over the Coronavirus because it is a mild disease and because I know death is the beginning of a better, eternal life. I love living and I love those around me. Do I want life to end? No, but I am not afraid of what will happen when it does. 🙂
What I am afraid of has to do with the lives of the lost souls that will indeed die, but are not sure of where they will go… Heaven or Hell. I am saddened by my own carelessness and the carelessness of the Church in regard to the Gospel.
Everyday we go into this fallen world and we take chances. God promised in John 16:33 that in this world there WILL BE trouble, but to take heart because HE has overcome the world.
1 Corinthians 15:55
“Where, O Death, is your sting?”
I am and will be doing my part, by socially isolating and staying home to “flatten the curve.” I don’t want to be careless, but I also MUST be realistic and open to what the data actually says.
I am obeying the law, being socially responsible, and loving my neighbor by doing what the government is asking of us even if the data suggests otherwise.
I understand this is a stressful time. We as individuals and as a nation will be divided on how to best handle it. Yet, as believers, we do not need to be divided. For we are children of God and we know our place is ultimately in our Father’s house.
I pray you hear my heart. Please know that my concern is for the truth, for the lost, for those who feel hopeless, for the lonely in isolation, and for those who are unable to physically get what they need.
Much love & Godspeed,
WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN YOU DIE?
Jesus of Nazareth claimed to be God. He claimed to be preparing a place for those who become the children of God.
Your soul is precious, eternal, and I hope your true home will eventually be with Jesus in Heaven.
CLICK HERE to learn more about your soul and the plan Jesus has for you.