About COVID-19: the pandemic
caused by a new Coronavirus:
What are the Coronaviruses?
They are a family of diseases that cause illnesses that range from the common cold to bronchitis, pneumonia, or severe acute respiratory syndrom (SARS)
The World Health Organization described one of them -- the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) virus -- as follows:
"COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer, are more likely to develop serious illness.
The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently, and not touching your face. 1
Depending upon the quality and universality of the country's medical system, a few percentage of people infected with COVID-19 will die.
Initial detection of COVID-19:
Dr. Li Wenliang, 33, was an opthamologist working at Wuhan Central Hospital in China. During 2019-DEC, he saw test data that showed seven patients had developed an unknown disease that resembled SARS -- the virus that killed 774 people in Asia during 2003. He tried to inform others. However,he -- along with seven other "rumormongers" -- were silenced by police for "making false comments on the Internet."
He continued working with COVID-19 patients, and contracted the disease from one of them. He was diagnosed on FEB-01, and died on FEB-07. Sadly, Li's wife, Fu Xuejie was pregnant with their second child at the time of his death.
A later official inquiry 2 exonerated him from any wrongdoing. The Communist Party of China offered a "solemn apology" to his family and terminated the charges against him.
Various Chinese governments at the state and federal levels ordered nonessential business to close, restricted travel into their country, required individuals to stay at home in isolation, etc. Their health organizations generally recommend that, where possible, people work from home, and isolate themselves from others. When they have to leave home to work, shop, etc., they are advised to remain two meters -- a little over six feet -- away from all others, and to not shake hands or otherwise touch other people.
The U.S., and some other countries have since taken similar actions.
Phoney "cure" for COVID-19:
On 2020-FEB-12, Pastor Jim Bakker invited Sherill Sellman to be a guest on his TV show. She describes herself as a "naturopathic doctor" and allegedly claimed that a material called "silver solution" could cure at least some coronaviruses.
"“This influenza that is now circling the globe, you’re saying that silver solution would be effective?"
“Well, let’s say it hasn’t been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it has been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours. Totally eliminate it, kills it. Deactivates it. And it boosts your immune system so then you can support the recovery, ‘cause when you kill the virus then the immune system comes into action to clear it out, so you want a vibrant immune system as well as an ability to deactivate these viruses." 3
The office of Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit against Jim Bakker and Morningside Church Productions, Inc. for misrepresentations about the effectiveness of "Silver Solution."
Spreading of COVID-19 -- and wideapread fear of the virus -- around the world:
By 2020-MAR-11, across the world, there were 118,000 known cases and more than 4,000 deaths from the virus. This was a fatality rate of 3.4%. The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic. The WHO Director-General Frosted Adhanom Ghebreyesus said:
"If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of novel coronavirus cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission."
Zia H. Shah, writing for the Muslim Times said on 2020-MAR-20:
2017 saw 2,813,503 registered deaths in the U.S. (from all causes.)
To date, Covid 19 virus had caused 109 deaths.
Public fear is universal and in some cases unhealthy and extreme. Fear can reduce a person's immunity to disease and increase their risk of catching the COVID-19 virus.
Shah, a Muslim, chants a verse from the Quran: "Is not God the best of the Judges?" (Quran 95:8/9). He says:
"This calms me down and puts my thoughts and emotions into perspective. 4
Reliability of the COID-19 tests:
Adam Miller, writing for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. found that the most common COVID-19 test method can be unreliable. He wrote:
"In the first few days before symptoms typically show up, researchers found, the chance of getting a false negative result ranged from 100 per cent on Day 1 to 67 per cent on Day 4.
After symptoms began to show, false negative results fell to 38 per cent on Day 5 and to 20 per cent on Day 8 –- but rose again everyday after that. "
Lauren Kucirka, a resident physician at Johns Hopkins and a lead author of the study, said:
"The focus should really be on ruling in positive patients rather than ruling out patients on the basis of the negative tests."
Dr. Anna Banerji, an infectious disease expert and faculty lead for Indigenous and refugee health at the University of Toronto, said:
"Anyone with symptoms consistent with COVID should stay at home – period – even if their test is negative. It's not that you don't have COVID; it's just that the test is not that reliable." 5
2020-JUL-04: President Trump assures nation:
During his Fourth of July speech from Mount Rushmore, President Trump claimed that:
""Now we have tested, almost 40 million people. By so doing, we show cases -- 99% of which are totally harmless -- results that no other country can show because no other country has testing that we have. Not in terms of the numbers, or in terms of the quality." 9
His "99% ... totally harmless" remark appears to conflict with reported fatality data. On the order of 2.8 million people had been infected by the coronavirus by the time of the President's speech. Of them, about 129,000 (or 4.6%) of them had died.
According to CNN's writer Maeve Reston:
"... an increasing number of top Republican officials from the nation's governors to members of Congress pleaded with Americans to redouble their efforts to curb the spread of the virus, warning of the dangerous consequences if current trends continue." 9
On CNN's "Newsroom, historian Douglas Brinkley said:
"Can you imagine Franklin Roosevelt in the middle of World War II not invoking the spirit of World War II? ... At the very least Donald Trump should be giving a speech on this Fourth saying we have new heroes, the medical workers in America, the nurses and the doctors and technicians that we now can be proud of and some day there will be hospitals and memorials named after them. ... It's been an abysmal performance by him." 9
On JUL-05, Mayor Steve Adler (D), the mayor of Austin TX, discussed Trump's speech saying:
"It makes me angry. It is dangerous not to be sending a clear message to Americans, to folks in my town. When they start hearing that kind of ambiguous message coming out of Washington, there are more and more people that won't wear masks, that won't social distance, that won't do what it takes to keep a community safe." 9
The Associated Press reported that a group of thirty Czech volunteers developed a functioning lung ventilator for use on individuals who are suffering from the pandemic. They called it "Corovent." The project was funded in a few hours by crowdfunding, and a working prototype was completed in five days -- an accomplishment that would normally take a year. The device is now being accepted by many countries worldwide. 6
Up to date information on COVID-19:
The Washington Post publishes a daily Coronavirus Updates Newsletter. See: https://subscribe.washingtonpost.com/
Reliance on disease Reproduction numbers "R" and "Rt":
"R" is the average number of people that each individual with a specific disease goes on to infect others in a given region or country. If R = 1, then, on average, each person who has the disease will infect one other person. So when the original person either recovers from the disease or dies, there is one more person to continue the infection within the population. When R is greater than 1.0, then the infection is spreading. When it is equal to 1.0, then the total number of infected persons is remaining constant. When it is less than one, the disease is dissipating.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, maintains a website that shows the value of "R" as it existed about a week previously for each country and for other small regions across the globe.
Unfortunately, although the concept of "R" is easy to understand, and has been embraced by many politicians, it can be an incomplete and even deceptive measure of the status of a disease. David Adam, writing in Nature, said:
"R is an imprecise estimate that rests on assumptions, says Jeremy Rossman, a virologist at the University of Kent, UK. It doesn’t capture the current status of an epidemic and can spike up and down when case numbers are low. It is also an average for a population and therefore can hide local variation. Too much attention to it could obscure the importance of other measures, such as trends in numbers of new infections, deaths and hospital admissions, and cohort surveys to see how many people in a population currently have the disease, or have already had it.
“Epidemiologists are quite keen on downplaying R, but the politicians seem to have embraced it with enthusiasm,” says Mark Woolhouse, an infectious-diseases expert at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, who is a member of a modelling group that advises the British government on the pandemic. “We’re concerned that we’ve created a monster. R does not tell us what we need to know to manage this.”
"... when politicians and scientists talk about R, they usually mean another variant called Rt (sometimes called Re, or ‘effective R’), which is calculated over time as an outbreak progresses and considers how some people might have gained immunity, perhaps because they have survived infection or been vaccinated." 7
On 2020-JUL-06, the website cited above showed that on JUN-29 that Rt for the United States was, alarmingly, in the range of 1.25 to 1.50. That is, the number of persons suffering from coronavirus was increasing. More encouraging values were seen in the UK (between 0.0 and 0.5) and in Canada (between 0.5 and 0.75).
When Adam wrote this, there was no vaccine available for the Coronavirus, and no precise knowledge of whether people who have been infected by the Coronavirus have gained partial or full immunity from future infections of the same disease.
"R" is useless at showing how wide spread a disease is currently. It only provides some indication of its present rate of growth or shrinkage. So, epidemiologists downplay "R." But many politicians proudly display Rt when it is shrinking -- and particularly when declines to 1.0 or sinks below 1.0. This is because it gives some indication on the effectiveness of government interventions, by indicating whether the disease is spreading, stable, or shrinking.
On JUL-06, the Associated Press' "AP Morning Wire" reported that Egyptian:
"Rights groups say that at least 10 doctors and six journallists have been arrested since the virus first hit Egypt. Other health workers say they have been warned by administrators to keep quiet or face punishment." 8
Topics included in this section include:
- Part 0: Religious and government interactions with the pandemic
- Part 1: Origin of the virus; Symptoms; Situation on 2020-MAR-31; Religious services; U.S. Gov't recommendations; 2020 Olympic Games postphoned.
- Part 2: Gender and blood type diffences. U.S. situation.
- Part 3: Successes in Vietman; Number of cases increase around the world; U.S. Nursing homes.
- Part 4: 2020-JUL: COVID-19 cases continue to increase in number. Enouraging virus developments. Dangers of reopening businesses.
- Part 5: Developments 2020-JUL-10 to 21
- Part 6: Developments 2020-JUL-26 to until AUG-10
- Part 7: Developments 2020-AUG-11 to AUG-31
- Part 8: Developments 2020-SEP-01 to until now
- Some encouraging information about the virus
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Coronavirus," World Health Organization, undated, downloaded on 2020-MAR-24, at: https://www.who.int/
- "Li Wenliang," Wikipedia, downloaded on 2020-APR-03, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
- Eric Sykes, "Missouri sues televangelist Jim Bakker for selling fake coronavirus cure," 2020-MAR-12, Radio.com, at: https://kmox.radio.com/
- Zia H. Shah, "Corona Fear's Cure," Muslim Times, 2020-MAR-20 , at: themuslimtimes.info
- Adam Miller, "Why testing negative for coronavirus isn't a guarantee you don't have COVID-19," CBC Health, 2020-JUN-13, at: https://mail.google.com/
- Karel Janicek, "Czech volunteers develop functioning lung ventilator in days," Associated Press, 2020--JUL-06, at: https://www.msn.com/
- David Adam, "A guide to R — the pandemic’s misunderstood metric," Nature, 2020-JUL-02, at: https://www.nature.com/
- "Egypt arrests doctors, silences critics over virus outbreak," Associated Press News, 2020-JUL-06, at: https://apnews.com/
- Mave Reston, "Trump uses July 4th address to put forward a dangerously misleading claim," CNN, 2019-JUL-05, at: https://www.cnn.com/
Copyright © 2020 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2020-JUL-06
Author: B.A. Robinson