COVIDAPALOOZA: LETTERS VERSION

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Lots of Time at Home for Writing Letters

What is missing is proportion. The all-or-nothing approach to this problem only creates more problems and worse problems. I work in a hotbed of the Corona virus–Oakland County, Mich. As Senior Pastor, I have a church of 500 plus, a school of 260, a music academy, and we are the sole sponsor of Bethany Villa–a 240 bedroom community for Seniors. I understand the threat. My wife and I are both 63 and I have several health issues already. So I am a good candidate for death, should I get this virus. My mother is 83 with congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic lung issues, and more. My wife’s parents are both 93. Again, I get the threat more than most. However, I also understand the threat of closing down an entire country and the tens of thousands of deaths nationwide and hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide that economic collapse and ensuing poverty will cause. What effect will that have on my four married children and soon-to-be 13 grandchildren? Already I have had two people directly and indirectly die this week, not because of the Corona virus, but because of the reaction to the virus. One man had his “elective” surgery put off, and as a result he died yesterday. Another man in my church lost is livelihood on account of the virus and unexpectedly died of a heart attack last Sunday. He was 59 and in good health, but broken over the loss of his job. Many leaders have lost all sense of proportion. There is no risk-free utopia. We need measured responses, not hysterical responses, some of which have a godless political agenda. Dr. Bill Bennett says the missing element is proportion. Pandemics have happened before and they will happen again. Some people will die no matter what we do. We must do all we can to reduce death from the virus and simultaneously do all we can to reduce death from economic collapse, depression, and impoverishment. Any approach that ignores this dual responsibility is off-balance. Some hot-spots must be shut down, but not the whole country. In my state the Governor (Dem) has shut down just about everything. Amazingly, liquor stores, pot stores, Planned Parenthood, and Abortion Clinics are fully functioning and open for business. They are “life-sustaining” businesses. By the way, 800,000 babies will be murdered this year in America. Where’s the outrage and panic over that?

Michael

Michael, thanks for your work, and God bless.

Regarding your post on the panic: Amen and Amen!!

David

David, thanks very much. And from the initial returns, it looks like there will be a lot more to write about before this is all said and done.

So it looks like after voluntarily shutting the economy down, we are going to make 2 trillion dollars appear out of nowhere and pass it out to quite a few folks whether they need it or not. So far it looks like I will be in the category of not needing it but receiving a bundle anyway.

Do we cash the check or not? If the money is out of the government coffers either way, I guess we cash it but I am not sure if that is the case.

If we cash it, what do we do with it?

I did burn through some savings gathering food and other supplies. I could replenish those savings which were previously allocated for other “needs” e.g. replacing our one and only vehicle which is in advanced old age. I would also like to make even better preparations of supplies and cash savings should anything like this ever happen again.

Or we could identify people that really were hurt badly by this and give to them.

Or we could invest so we have something to pass to our children and grandchildren who will be living in a nation that we bankrupted.

Or we could give all or some to the church and trust that it will be wisely distributed.

Any thoughts?

William

William, yes. Similar questions below, and I will try to answer it after the third one.

RE: In Which I Consider the Propriety of Tying a Bandanna Around My Head and Coming Off the Top Ropes Fantastic title, btw. :)

Thanks for your thoughts. I’m wondering what your thoughts/advice would be on what to do with the stacks of cash the government will be sending out shortly. I know the CrossPolitic guys have talked about your admonition to not take money from the gubment, and I’d be interested to hear more of your thoughts on that in general.

In this case, I don’t think it’s our federal government’s place to throw money they don’t have at everybody. BUT – can I just think of it as a reduction to my onerous tax bill? This “credit” would reduce my total 2019 tax bill to a slightly more reasonable level. Of course, the way my tax bill should be decreased is by a thoroughly debated and considered bill passed in broad daylight in Congress, but we all know that’s not going to happen.

The other difference I see in this instance is that dern near everyone will be getting a check this time around. I don’t want to just join the herd of lemmings, but I also feel less like I’m defrauding my neighbor if most Americans will also be benefiting.

Finally, if I don’t take it, what do I do with it? My thought so far was to just have my church launder it for me. Do you have any other suggestions?

As to my financial situation, we’re doing ok. We’re in the midst of “Dave Ramseying” the last of our student loans, which makes taking the money tempting. There’s also a non-zero chance I could get laid off due to this stock market freakout (I’m the sole provider for our family), but I think we could find a way to weather that storm.

Thanks again for all you do.

Karlin

Karlin, thanks. See above and see below.

Sort of in regards to your recent post “Three Reasons Why the WH must Refuse to Panic” I’ve received money from family members in the mail before, usually for birthdays or Christmas’s, but never from Uncle Sam, and especially not in four figures.

As of this morning, March 25, this may become a reality.

Should a fellow like me cash this check or would I be doing more harm than good because of that sneaky invisible thing called “inflation”?

On the other hand I could pay off my car loan or put it towards my student loans. I could even tithe the sucker.

My conscience feels this is just slothful surrender to my Uncle Sam instead of thankfulness for a gift from my Aunt Vera.

Thank you for your insight. Blessings to you,

-an optimistic pan-millennial baptist

Matt

Matt, thanks. This is a murky area. As a general principle I have taught for years that Christians should resist statism by refusing the benefits first. An ideal situation would be a benefits revolt instead of a tax revolt. That said, this is a unique one. I would encourage Christians who have been directly harmed by the government’s actions, and who are in real need of the money, to cash the check and not worry about it. But if at all possible, I would encourage believers to cash the check and then give the money to people whose lives have been devastated.

Thank you for using a neutral term to describe the COVID-19 situation and describe what might constitute “panic.” My question–one which is rarely addressed among optimists–is, what is a fair price to pay for preserving life? Granted all models are fallible, but what if we can say with x percent certainty that all Americans staying at home for three weeks will stem the mortality rate by y percent? Regardless of what x and y are, what is the moral argument for refusing? It seems the only valid argument is that the cost of doing so would exceed the benefit. But how can we put a price on life? We don’t abide economic arguments for abortion. If we, the top economy in the world, can’t sacrifice three weeks of productivity to mitigate the mortality rate, what does that say about how we value life? And I know three weeks is a best-case scenario which is already unlikely, but I’m speaking hypothetically.

Reed

Reed, thanks. This is a complex question. We reject setting a value on human life as a price offered beforehand, as with chattel slavery or abortion. But we don’t reject in “after the fact” situations, as with a wrongful death suit. And Scripture does the same, allowing a man whose animal gored someone to redeem his life. It is when we get into statistical analysis that we get into trouble. If we reduced the speed limit to 10 mph, we would save lives that way, but what would we lose? And in the case of this pandemic, we are not paying for lives by sitting at home for three weeks. We are paying for lives with lives.

Re “Three Reasons . . .”: Head wound denier: One who suggests that perhaps we might want to consider whether applying a tourniquet around the patient’s neck is really the best possible option for stopping the bleeding.

Kyriosity

Kyriosity, an insightful point. One that ought to be considered more.

I think you’ve provided some helpful thoughts over the course of this crisis. Though I think I have to provide some defense for the “panic,” hopefully I can avoid jumping into the “bonkers” category. What I think is missing from the “the panic is more dangerous than the virus” side is consideration of the systemic risk in addition to the personal risk. I’m a healthy 27 year old, so the virus poses little personal danger to me. That naturally leads to me being much more concerned about the “panic” which is affecting me personally. However, what concerns the epidemiologists is the systemic risk. I think this explains a lot of the disconnect between the two sides of the crisis. One side is thinking primarily about their personal risk, and the other is thinking primarily about systemic risk.

In a previous article, you’ve acknowledged the wisdom in listening experts when they are speaking in their domain, so I think that would lead us to agree with the epidemiologists in their assessment of the systemic risk. We should all be able to agree that COVID-19 is a serious danger, and without proper countermeasures will overwhelm our healthcare capacity (as we have seen in Italy, and are starting to see in New York) leading to many deaths not just from the virus but also from other ailments that weren’t able to be treated because the hospital beds were all full because of the virus.

Now when it comes to discussing what countermeasures we should enact, I think your reference to Sowell is spot on. There isn’t a perfect “solution”, but rather a trade-off space that we have to optimize. There is a thoughtful article floating around titled “The Hammer and the Dance” that argues just this. What we need to do is understand the medical benefits of an action along with its economic cost and do the cost/benefit analysis to reduce the infection rate as much as we can while minimizing economic cost. However, I think we should discuss the trade-off space without also downplaying the danger of the virus.

The other factor that needs to be considered is that economies can be rebuilt after the crisis is over, but we can’t undue the deaths that will happen if our healthcare capacity is overwhelmed. I think that should also lead us to tilt towards the medical side of the issue.

There’s certainly many more points that could be brought in, but hopefully I can at least show that not everyone on “the other side” is bonkers.

Mason

Mason, I agree that not everyone on the other side is bonkers. But there is systemic risk in both directions, and lives are at stake in both directions.

A family member forwarded me a link to your recent blog entry in which you essentially say that the cost to the economy of slowing the coronavirus virus outweighs the value of the lives that action would save. I am extraordinarily disappointed that a Christian leader would advise his readers in this way. We, and by we I mean middle age and younger, are sacrificing work, profits, the presence of friends, and familiar forms of community— and not for ourselves. We know we will be just fine. It’s our parents, our elders, our disabled friends, our weak that we are striving to protect. We are trying to save the older generation in this country. My parents are both over 70 and my mother is in remission from cancer. If they got this virus, it would very likely kill them. Perhaps you’re in this demographic as well. But every single person who has this virus will spread it to several more before they even have symptoms. And each of them will infect many more, with a literal exponential effect, until the sick overwhelm hospitals and suffer and suffocate to death. When you ask “What will this cost me?” you are doing precisely what Jesus instructed the rich young ruler not to do. Maybe you should ask “What about the least of these?” Nobody is asking us to fear the virus. We are being asked to understand it and fight it. Unfortunately the way we “fight” a pandemic looks lazy and cowardly to you, and that is insulting to me. I assure you that no one is being lazy in my home. We work remotely during the day. We read and listen to music and pray at night. Those of us with children are home schooling. Those of us with plenty of groceries are sharing. We connect with our small group via video chat to check in. We check in with our parents often to make sure their needs are met during this strange time. So, while you boast of body slamming or jumping off the top ropes, “we” (the collective we – not just those uppity liberals or those stingy conservatives) we are trying to protect you. I respectfully ask that you reconsider whether your words might lead your readers toward an attitude of disregard, political contempt, and condescension.

Shawn

Shawn, the problem I have with your analysis is that you are setting lives v. minor inconveniences. But the situation is actually lives v. lives. Go back to the top and read the first letter, the life lost there was not an inconvenience.

Re the Bandana article and the Wuhan virus writings: Three things. 1) You quote 1 Sam 14:20 which mentions “confusion.” I was surprised while studying Judges a few years ago at how often “confusion” is a tool used by the Lord as an instrument of judgement. Its present in Ex 14:24, Judges 7:21 as well. This is certainly a time of great confusion and I daresay judgement. Let us, at the very least, consider our Lord’s admonitions in Luke 12 & 13 to repent or perish likewise, and to fear not a body-destroying-virus but the Lord who can destroy body and soul.

2) Have you seen Hans Fiene’s exclusive interview with the Corona virus? Excellent read.

3) These government officials seem to be overreacting, but I think its also a political play. They will have less “trouble” for over-reacting and causing long term damage that isn’t obviously attributable to them than they would have for under-reacting and being blamed for corona deaths. It is a matter of imagination, as Henry Hazlitt describes in Economics in One Lesson. Most people have little imagination and will not blame politicians for the economic downturn, much less the fall-out from a recession. The politically savvy move is to avoid direct blame, and shift indirect blame onto the virus itself. Not good leadership, to be sure.

Nathan

Nathan, thanks.

Exactly!!!!

Doug I’ve really appreciated your wisdom and insight during this bizarre time in all of our lives. Your take on the whole “models” issue in all this is what too many people are completely unaware of. Those experts like to get all jacked up over those “models”. But the truth is that they really amount to jack squat when it comes to what actually happens in reality. They cling to their wisdom and not true Wisdom.

Hating knowledge, counsel, and not fearing the LORD, which will destroy them. (Prov 1:20-33) And these are the guys who we are to trust. Right.

And the Socialist, third crisis you mentioned, is right around the corner. So when we all come out of our homes, after we are told we are aloud to, we will find that there was more than a virus that was attacking our country and our freedom. Oh how THEY CARE.

Yet we have One who does care. And we will “dwell safely, And will be secure without the fear of evil”

Thank you again for sane words in an insane world.

Rob

Rob, thanks.

I have really appreciated your comments and approaches to the Covid events. I wonder if you might say even more in regards to discerning what God is doing in times like this. I would love to see you respond to N.T. Wright’s article in Time: “Christianity has no answers About the Corona Virus. It’s Not Supposed To.”

I would tend to agree with some of what he says about the thread of lament in the Scriptures, but he seems to be missing out on the thread of God’s judgment running throughout Scripture. Two quotes from his article that really troubled me:

“Rationalists (including Christian rationalists) want explanations; Romantics (including Christian romantics) want to be given a sigh of relief. But perhaps what we need more than either is to recover the biblical tradition of lament.”

and

“It is no part of the Christian vocation, then, to be able to explain what’s happening and why. In fact, it is part of the Christian vocation not to be able to explain—and to lament instead.”

Wright’s argument leaves out something vital. Without being able to discern “why things are happening,” we miss out on knowing that we need to repent. I don’t think it makes us rationalists to try to find out what sort of providence we are being given. Is the Church is simply supposed to lament in times like these (though that is certainly one required response)? Surely we are called to more in addition?

I would love to hear your thoughts on his article and these issues.

Thanks,

Randall

Randall, I haven’t had time to read Wright’s piece. But here is a response from a friend.

Re. We Have Revised Our Estimates Somewhat Downwards Here’s a forecaster who really knows his business:

https://robjhyndman.com/hyndsight/forecasting-covid19/

He links to a fun model where you can play with the assumptions:

https://alhill.shinyapps.io/COVID19seir/

Rob

Rob, thank you.

Can you please help me understand what this comment means: “Yesterday I heard the very insightful comment that the coronavirus is the flu with a brilliant marketing team. “

March 27, 2020 “In Which I Consider…”

Alisha

Alisha, it means that with regard to medical effect the coronavirus is simply a bad strain of the flu. But because of “marketing efforts” from the officials determined to stomp it out, it has been made into something much bigger than that.

The proclamation by our governor has lead to some heated discussion in our house: about, just what our household is.

To be precise, do we include our adult children living in the area for worship. Putting my personal feelings aside about the certain over kill of this proclamation, I still want to honor the spirit and the letter of of it. At the same time I don’t want to be pole vaulting piss ants or gnat strangling. I know there is a time to side step because the letter of the law simply doesn’t work.

My experience in side stepping is rather limited and I know when to do it in those limited situations.

So I was wondering how you were addressing this situation.

Frank

Frank, currently we are worshiping at home, and not together with extended family. But, depending on the circumstance, there is an argument for worshiping together with the clan. I hope to get to that fairly soon.

Computer Modeling is Not Science Noted statistician and economist E.F. Schumacher (1911-1977) once opined (in 1964),

It is fashionable today to assume that any figures about the future are better than none. To produce figures about the unknown, the current method is to make a guess about something or other – called an ‘assumption’ – and to derive an estimate from it by subtle calculation. The estimate is then presented as the result of scientific reasoning, something far superior to mere guesswork. This is a pernicious practice that can only lead to the most colossal planning errors…”

If that was true and applicable in 1964 (and I think it was) it is even more relevant now. I’ve taught computer modeling at the university level for the past 30 years and always start with the above quote.

Cliff

Cliff, thanks for sharing that.

You are really knocking it out of the park with your coronavirus articles, Pastor Doug! I appreciate you hitting the sweet spot between pretending that nothing at all of concern is happening and pretending that we are experiencing an extinction-level event that means every usual rule and restraint is suspended. The thing I find most profoundly sad about this is the way people are dying. It is tragic that beloved fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers (and women, too, but 70% of those dying from COVID-19 are men) are dying alone in isolation rooms. It’s tragic that their widows are learning of their deaths via Facetime calls from family who cannot hold them while they mourn. This, too, is a trade-off, and one almost nobody is discussing. We know that COVID-19, even if everybody did the absolute right thing at the absolute right moment, would take many lives, because that is what novel viruses do when they enter a population. It seems like little thought was given or is being given to what kind of deaths those would be, and what kind of mourning their families would experience. That is what happens when “preventing infection” trumps all things, even the ability to die with your loved ones at your side and to not mourn alone.

I think it will be years before all of this gets sorted out and we figure out the actual case fatality rate, whether there was actually a significant overall increase in the death rate, and what the consequences of things like long-term forced shut downs and the limiting of health care to only services deemed “essential” (which, bizarrely, in many places includes abortion but excludes chemotherapy and pacemakers) are. And by that time, few people will care, and fewer will admit they had been wrong.

Lori

Lori, thank you.

Re: COVIDIOCY-19, Posted on Monday, March 30, 2020 – Whew! And to think, it isn’t even close to being November!

Mr. Wilson, sir, I agree with you in almost all respects, the main difference being I’m not nearly as charitable as you concerning these people’s intent. I think most know what they are about because it’s obvious; one has to work at it to not see what is happening.

This leads to my final point, one you touched on in an earlier rant – er… I mean – post: God is in charge and He knew what would happen, including and probably most importantly, the lunatic response so cleverly engineered and planned by our ruling elite. I take comfort in that, and the knowledge He takes care of His own.

Keep up the good fight, I do appreciate your work.

David

David, thanks. Just so you know, I have room in my thoughts that budgets for ill-intent.

Hi Doug, Just a few comments about your “Trampling the Courts of God” article.

If you feel that the Corovid-19 crisis is being exaggerated by your government then I can only hope that you are right. Here in the UK the government has warned the nation that in the next two to three weeks there might be up to 20,000 deaths in the UK–and this is an optimistic figure they stress–it might be considerably worse. So far over the past month or more 1,000 have died in the UK. So even the lower estimation of projected deaths in the next few weeks is staggering.

I wonder, reading your piece, whether there is a bit of contradiction between your emphasis on this virus being a “God Quake” and your playing down its seriousness, or at least your being inclined to think the threat to the US is hyped-up?

A final thought. I wonder (however well intended it may have been) whether your analogy between God’s judgement on sinful mankind and America’s nuclear attacks on Japan in WWII is appropriate?

God bless & look after yourself

Brendan

Brendan, the virus and the panic taken together should be considered as a very severe judgment. The fact that I think the reaction to the virus is doing 90% of the damage doesn’t alter the fact that all of it is a judgment from the hand of God. You mention the estimate of 20K deaths in the UK, but the initial estimate, the one that set off the panic, was 500K deaths in the UK — and 2.2M in the US. That panic and the draconian efforts to save us from that barely existent threat has done enormous damage, and that is what I call the “Godquake.” The analogy to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was simply illustrative, as I emphasized. But the point of comparison was not God’s righteousness and America’s righteousness, but rather Japanese stubbornness and American stubbornness.

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Rob Steele
Rob Steele
2 years ago

Another bit of common wisdom on the utility of models:

All models are wrong, but some are useful.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_models_are_wrong

Howard
Howard
2 years ago

On the subject of computer models:
“On two occasions I have been asked, ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.” – Charles Babbage

Matthew Abate
Matthew Abate
2 years ago

I would love to see the bibliographic citation for Cliff’s quote by E.F. Schumacher, which is brilliant.

Robert
Robert
2 years ago

How long do you think it will take before congress wants to send out another trillion? BTW it isn’t just illegal aliens who aren’t getting the 1,200. According to what I was reading, the legal immigrants with green cards will get the money. There is a question as to whether or not the legal immigrants who are here for the duration under various visas will get money, so if you know such people, and you are looking to help someone, keep hat in mind.

EM
EM
2 years ago

You don’t trust epidemiologists’ models for COVID-19, yet you trust economists’ models. Why the discrepancy?

MW
MW
2 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Agreed. I see it coming, too.
Yet doctors and nurses might argue the COVID-19 disaster epidemiologists predicted is here. They see the dead bodies with their eyes.
Trusting predictions requires faith. Is the predictor, as well as the prediction, reliable? It requires faith.
Ultimately, God is the only infallible, reliable predictor whom we can completely trust; His predictions are always true. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 1:11 NKJV).

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Of course you aren’t seeing nearly that number, because that very model doesn’t predict that you would. 2.2 million was predicted in a single model as the worst-case scenario over the course of 18 months if we did nothing. Since we are nowhere near 18 months and we clearly went for a far more extreme response rather than doing nothing, even the model you site doesn’t predict that we would be anywhere near that number now or later based on our current actions. The conservative lawyer, Richard Epstein, on the other hand, made a widely-distributed “model” that even influenced the… Read more »

William
William
2 years ago
Reply to  MW

Michelle, let me translate Wilson’s response. “I’m firmly planted on both sides of the argument. That will allow me to write a future piece that claims either, “See I told you so. this was serious.” or “See, I told you so, this was a big hoax.” Either way, the lemmings will lap it up.

Heidi
Heidi
2 years ago

I wonder what the result would be if influenza deaths were reported side by side with COVID-19 deaths. Here in Wisconsin, as of March 14, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services “Respiratory Virus Surveillance Report” lists the 2020 year to date influenza associated deaths as 92, and pneumonia associated deaths as 1583. On their table, they tell us that the combined total of these influenza and pneumonia deaths equals 5.3% of all deaths in WIsconsin this year. So far in our state, COVID-19 has caused the death of 16 people. This information was easy to find, but it is not… Read more »

William
William
2 years ago
Reply to  Heidi

Heidi, influenza deaths are reported and easy to find or you wouldn’t have found them. I know you don’t want to hear this, but comparing influenza to COVID-19 is comparing apples to avocados. In all things relating to this pandemic, PLEASE trust the experts in this matter, not some pastor of tiny church in Moscow, ID.

Heidi
Heidi
2 years ago
Reply to  William

Thanks, William! No worries, I have an MD, so I am pretty comfortable coming to my own conclusions on this :)

William
William
2 years ago
Reply to  Heidi

I’m glad to hear it.

Farinata
Farinata
2 years ago
Reply to  William

All right then, what’s the difference? If the number who die of COVID-19 is really a fairly insignificant proportion of the annual flu deaths (as now appears to be the case), is it not perfectly reasonable to treat it accordingly? If these soi-disant experts want to be in charge of everyone’s lives going forward, there should be a persuasive answer to that question. Do you know it?

William
William
2 years ago
Reply to  Farinata

Soi-disant experts?! What are your credentials?

Farinata
Farinata
2 years ago
Reply to  William

Who brought up my credentials? I asked if you had an argument.

William
William
2 years ago
Reply to  Farinata

Silly me. I thought you understood the meaning of soi-disant. You challenged the “self-styled” experts decisions. Unless you have some credentials in the fields of epidemiology or infectious diseases, you are just a pot calling the kettle black.

You wouldn’t like my argument because it is simply follow the CDC guidelines. Full stop.

Farinata
Farinata
2 years ago
Reply to  William

So you don’t know the argument. You are punting on my question in hopes that someone else has answered it. Which they have not, to my knowledge.

William
William
2 years ago
Reply to  Farinata

Why would you care about my argument. I’m not an expert, self-styled or otherwise. Are you? If you are, then you make your argument. If not, why would I care to hear your argument? I’m curious which self-styled experts you were referring to, the CDC, or NIH, or the Pandemic Response Team (scratch them, Trump, in a stroke of foresight, shut them down three year ago)? So, who do you trust for accurate information?

William
William
2 years ago
Reply to  Farinata

Didn’t think so.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
2 years ago
Reply to  William

William, as a card-carrying, 6,000 year old science-denier (ask me about the key to my longevity!), I have seen the light. You’ve convinced me that we should listen to the experts. Here’s what a few of them have to say: Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, microbiology specialist, who was a professor at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and head of the Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene: We are afraid that 1 million infections with the new virus will lead to 30 deaths per day over the next 100 days. But we do not realise that 20, 30, 40 or 100… Read more »

William
William
2 years ago

Good job scouring the internet to find someone you think agrees with you. If I thought it would help, I’d engage with you. But, I’ve seen your interactions with others, no thanks. Enjoy the Trump rally!

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
2 years ago
Reply to  William

You said, “Trust the experts in this matter!”

You even said “PLEASE”. In all caps. I’m nothing if not a sucker for someone who’s so polite.

So I went and found some experts. I even quoted them.

However, your reaction is rather strange. In all my 6,000 years of science-denying, I’ve not come across a reaction as baffling as yours.

What’s the matter, William?

Don’t you trust the experts?

William
William
2 years ago

I think you have “sucker” part dead on.
Three experts vs. the world. Go for it! I hope for your family’s sake you are at least following the CDC’s guidelines.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
2 years ago
Reply to  William

Oh, looky here, William. More experts: Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, German physician specializing in Pulmonology, politician and former chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: Politicians are being courted by scientists…scientists who want to be important to get money for their institutions. Scientists who just swim along in the mainstream and want their part of it […] And what is missing right now is a rational way of looking at things. We should be asking questions like “How did you find out this virus was dangerous?”, “How was it before?”, “Didn’t we have the same thing last year?”,… Read more »

William
William
2 years ago

Oh boy! The total is up to 5!!! I thought you were big on evidence of claims. What’s the evidence of their claims? Are you following the CDC’s guidelines? I know you are scared. Please for your family’s and your neighbors’ sake, follow the CDC’s guidelines. What can hurt?

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
2 years ago
Reply to  William

You said Trust the Experts. I took you at your word.

And now you’re trying to dismiss the experts.

Kinda hard to be scared when I’m too busy laughing at the schizophrenic clown.

William
William
2 years ago

Again, where is the proof of Wodarg’s & Montgomery’s claims? I don’t know why that is so hard for you to understand. Neither are experts in the fields of epidemiology or infectious diseases. They are expressing opinions, not evidence. Surely even you can see that. You’re not helping your cause.

William
William
2 years ago

I’ll try one last time. Did you read the quotes of your last two experts? Wodarg’s questions are non-sensical. It reveals he either has a basic misunderstanding of the COVID-19 virus, or he is putting politics above health. Montgomery, likewise shows a fundamental lack in understanding of epidemiology. He actually makes the case for a lockdown by citing Italy’s failure to stay ahead of the curve. So your last two experts make the case for the CDC’s recommendations.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
2 years ago
Reply to  William

William: “Wodarg’s questions are non-sensical.”

William: “Montgomery, likewise shows a fundamental lack in understanding of epidemiology.”

How to respond to William? Hmmm….

I got it!

William (to Farinata): “What are your credentials?”

This should be fun.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  William

Remember those “this is your brain on drugs” commercials from the 80s…showing eggs frying in a skillet? William is the current version of that…as in “this is your gov’t school-trained brain on a steady diet of MSM, social media feeds and various online echo chambers.”

William
William
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

Are you following the CDC’s guideline for this pandemic? For your family’s sake, I hope so. Oh wait, I bet you’re a prepper.

William
William
2 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Douglas, it would take more than a pastor of a small church in Moscow, ID known for his love of kicking hornet nests, poking sticks in folks’ eyes, and questionable pastoral judgement. I’m reasonably certain that you don’t have a doctorate in infectious diseases or epidemiology. So. I’m going to side with the vast majority of experts in these disciplines, people far smarter than you or me and who are far more concerned than you. For the record I hope you’re right, but I’m not willing to risk the lives of my family, my friends, or my neighbors to find… Read more »

OKRickety
OKRickety
2 years ago
Reply to  William

William,
You’ve made it abundantly clear that you hold no regard for Wilson’s opinion on the pandemic. Please don’t bother with further repetition. For that matter, why not just go your merry way, leaving us simpletons stuck in our ignorance, knowing we can’t or, at least, won’t change our beliefs based on your efforts?

William
William
2 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

Poor boy, It doesn’t work that way. Are you following the CDC’s guidelines?

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Pastor Wilson, you seem to be mocking Dr. Fauci’s suggestion that we could still see 100,000-200,000 deaths over the next year. Since there were nearly 1,000 deaths in the USA yesterday alone, why would you be so quick to mock such a suggestion? I pray that the damage is less than that, so many vulnerable people and families are being affected severely. But it seems unlikely that we will keep the toll in America below 20,000 and easily could pass far beyond that. It was only days ago that conservatives (including the White House) were passing around the Richard Epstein… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
2 years ago
Reply to  Heidi

Heidi,

Putting the numbers in perspective is helpful to thinking rightly about the situation. That said, I don’t know if the numbers alone tell us everything we need to understand. Is there a reason influenza cases have not overwhelmed hospitals in Italy and NYC, the way COVID-19, apparently, has? Even if it were to turn out the experts are only so-called, and they are wildly off on the predicted number of deaths, there already seems to be *some* qualitative difference between COVID-19 and influenza.

Nathan
Nathan
2 years ago
Reply to  JohnM

I dont live in NYC, but in a middle America city. Our hospitals are fairly empty right now. I hope they stay that way – we’ll see. In years past the flu has filled them up: people spending their whole hospital stay in the ER because no rooms are available, people in hallways, closets converted to temporary rooms. This is not to say that my covid concern is nil or that I’m not taking it seriously. This is just to say that at least part of what you are hearing is hysteria-driven. Flu related respiratory illness routinely pushes our medical… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
2 years ago
Reply to  Nathan

Thanks Nathan. A little internet research (type in “flu overwhelms hospitals”) indicates there is something to what you say. Seems this is not the first time hospitals have deployed surge tents.

I agree, there is something more than nothing at all to worry about. I also think because this one is new no one really does know for sure how dangerous it is or how bad it could be, and the policy decisions are driven in part by policy makers, and their advisers, covering themselves. I don’t blame them for that – up to a point.

Heidi
Heidi
2 years ago
Reply to  JohnM

This is from today’s “Weekly US Influenza Surveillance Report” from the CDC: “The COVID-19 outbreak unfolding in the United States may affect healthcare seeking behavior which in turn would impact data…Laboratory confirmed flu activity as reported by clinical laboratories continues to decrease; however, influenza-like illness activity is increasing.” It seems to me that the fear of having a new, scary, media-hyped disease is driving people to the hospital; many who would otherwise figure they just have the “flu” and would stay home. Once at the hospital, medical providers are obligated to admit the patient, quarantine, and provide full court press… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 years ago
Reply to  Heidi

Attributing the New York hospital overruns to “health-seeking behavior” is a head-in-the-sand moment. New York has reported 1500 deaths from COVID-19 in the last week alone. On an average week New York would only have about 1300 deaths from ALL causes. More than doubling the death rate in a week has caused then to start pulling up refrigerated trucks next to hospitals to store the bodies. Also, your claim, “Once at the hospital , medical providers are obligated to admit the patient, quarantine, and provide full court press treatment just in case it might be COVID-19” is entirely false. MANY… Read more »

William
William
2 years ago
Reply to  Heidi

Heidi, it’s not what I think. It’s what the infectious disease and epidemiologists specialist are saying, along with the CDC.

Adad
Adad
2 years ago
Reply to  William

‘Bill,
The World Health Organization, aka “experts” of the “vast majority” sort are saying China did a great job handling the current pandemic.
China is saying there are no new covid 19 cases in Wuhan.
Do you believe the WHO or China on these items?

Oh wait! Look! There are some goal posts that look like they are in the wrong place!

If only someone would step up and move them! 😏

William
William
2 years ago
Reply to  Adad

I don’t understand your question. Isn’t the WHO and China basically saying the same thing? You comment makes no point, so it doesn’t make any sense. Maybe you could restate it in a different way.

Adad
Adad
2 years ago
Reply to  William

‘Bill, when you set those goal posts down, consult with a “vast majority of experts” on whether or not the experts at the WHO, and China’s own vast majority of experts, are telling the the truth about their pandemic data and the effectiveness of their policies.
It appears likely that those politically motivated “experts” are not telling the truth.
But then again, you likely knew that.
In any case, does the CDC give out junior enforcer badges?
If so, what do they look like?
Speaking of badges, what do they smell like?

Stay snarky Bill! 😏👍☀

William
William
2 years ago
Reply to  Adad

Would you tell us what you are doing to safeguard your family?

William
William
2 years ago
Reply to  Adad

How do determine what is accurate? Who do trust for the most accurate information? Everyone has to decide that.

Adad
Adad
2 years ago
Reply to  William

‘Bill, To quote Bob Dylan: “You don’t need a weatherman to now which way the wind blows.” This gets to your fake problem with our host. Some objective realities and facts are easy to perceive, if one is pre-disposed to expect that there are objective facts. Our host, and I, are pre-disposed to expect objective fact. Where by comparison, others might be pre-disposed to pronounce unpleasant facts as “Maya”. The correct expectation that there generally are objective facts, informs our critical analysis of our own perceptions, and the perceptions of others. Because I have generally been successful in my perception… Read more »

Susan Gail
Susan Gail
2 years ago
Reply to  William

Cite your proof. Where is it? Oh I don’t believe your proof. Cite more! Where is it? Oh I don’t believe that either.

Snark snark snark…

It occasionally bothers me that Doug killed the comments section, but Willy Wonka here reminded me why.

I would not at all object to a heavily moderated comments area, but it would be a full time job.

WHERE’S YOUR CREDENTIALS WILLY?

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 years ago

Pastor Wilson, you repeatedly decry the “doom and gloom” coronavirus models because we haven’t seen those levels of death (though 40,000+ deaths total worldwide and 750 yesterday in the USA alone would seem a starting place from which to be concerned), yet you readily predict doom and gloom for the economy, even the effects on our children and grandchildren and the idea that it will cost lives, based on….what? As I mentioned before, it is quite obvious that the wealthiest nation in human history should be able to survived a break of a few weeks. On every level our resources… Read more »

B Josiah Alldredge
B Josiah Alldredge
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, I’m a jail chaplain. I hang around a large group of individuals who tend to have vulnerable health issues, but will also be some of the worst affected by a severe downturn in the economy. Yesterday, I went to go speak with an inmate who had just gotten the news that a close relative was dying (not of COVID). Their biggest concern was a younger sibling who was being asked to make the decision to pull the plug, without even being able to visit this relative in the hospital due to COVID precautions. This younger sibling has already lost… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 years ago

You’re not answering the basic question of why there would still be an economic crisis after the shutdowns are lifted. We’d still have the workers. We’d still have the resources. We’d still have the infrastructure. And we’re literally the most capital-heavy country in human history. The government already appears committed to protecting the vulnerable during the shutdown. So why would there be any lasting issue after the actual cause of the economic problems were lifted? I keep asking the question and no one has even tried to answer yet. I believe I have a pretty good idea why. And there… Read more »

Adad
Adad
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

J’, The answer is easy, obvious and common. “Unintended consequences” And “Unanticipated outcomes” For instance, I work for a global design firm, that just instituted 5 to 20 % pay reductions. This is better than laying people off. Meanwhile, the company is set up for remote work, so we comply with mandated brick and mortar office shut downs. Meanwhile, many of our construction sites are closed. If those sites are financed with no fiscal buffer, the developer will go bankrupt and the bank will have to find another buyer for the project. So J’, do you want to buy a… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 years ago
Reply to  Adad

So the primary reason that you believe the economy will not rebound is because people with capital will fail to use it on projects they otherwise would have used it on. And instead of then using it on other projects, you think they will…what, hoard it?

Similarly, the salary cuts you don’t believe will be made up. Where will that money go instead?

Adad
Adad
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

J’, I said some parts of the economy will not rebound immediately. While the potential creation of capital is almost infinite, the current amount of capital is finite. How capital is utilized depends on risk. All capital will be utilized one way or another. My industry has higher risk, so if lenders are risk averse on fears of the virus, capital will be invested in lower risk efforts. It will not be hoarded. As for salary cuts, you are welcome to make mine up to me if you want. But here you might agree that my salary value has not… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 years ago
Reply to  Adad

So if the money is simply going to be invested in other areas rather than hoarded, why do you feel the economy will crash? Why would a simple shift in investment lead to an unrecoverable crash? Money is shifted from one industry to another over time even during economic booms, there are always different industries rising and falling.

Adad
Adad
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

J’, let’s do some basic grammatical math.

“…..some parts of the economy will not rebound immediately. ”
Does not equal:
“why do you feel the economy will crash?”

To your weak point, again, capital is finite.
Higher risk sectors will not be capitalized, and will remain weak, until such time as higher investment risk is perceived as worth the risk.

Your opinions, however much you may like them, do not dictate how much risk investors are willing to take.

katecho
katecho
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan wrote: You’re not answering the basic question of why there would still be an economic crisis after the shutdowns are lifted. If tens of trillions of dollars of debt is an economic crisis (and it is), then it will still be sitting there blinking at us, a few trillion fatter than before, after the shutdowns are lifted. Not sure why Jonathan doesn’t recognize this. Jonathan wrote: The government already appears committed to protecting the vulnerable during the shutdown. Millions of aborted babies would beg to differ with Jonathan about the government’s commitment to protecting the vulnerable. But even if… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 years ago

I think that is certainly accurate. The people with power over money will use the crisis to pursue their desired aims, regardless of it’s impact on the vast majority of the rest of us. You see this in their calls to keep the economy rolling despite the risk, to bail out corporations first if they can’t keep the economy rolling no matter how vulnerable people are doing, and to ensure they hoard money and maintain their capital advantage after the crisis ever if that results in a slower recovery.

Ken B
Ken B
2 years ago

In all the arguing about the virus and the response to it, what seems to be missing is the response – and you can argue whether it is appropriate or not – is designed to stop the healthcare provision by being overwhelmed with huge numbers of patients, some of whom will require intensive care, in a short period of time. It is not based on the deaths directly caused by the virus, which mostly affect the elderly with existing conditions. The figures in Germany, a country that has probably the most rigorous testing regime in the world, is that between… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 years ago
Reply to  Ken B

There are a lot of people here who would MUCH rather just pump up the economy by any means necessary and ignore every single death due to the virus than even imagine thinking about such a blatantly un-American suggestion.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Please cite “lots” of people here (especially DW) calling for measures to “pump up the economy,” i.e., fiscal and economic stimulus. I don’t think Wilson is a fan of either based on his economic views.. Saying more businesses should remain open isn’t “pumping” anything up…that’s just keeping the status quo–or at least a bigger part of it–going. If you can’t, admit you’re lying. Either way, that comment is an absurd straw man. And it sure didn’t take you long (maybe .43 nanoseconds?) to channel your inner Chavez and start calling for large-scale wealth distribution…and defend Pelosi’s awful attempt to stuff… Read more »

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

That should say “fiscal and monetary stimulus.” Fiscal is the bill that was just passed, while monetary is the Fed dropping interest rates to practically zero along with buying large amounts of bonds, trying to keep the repo markets going,etc.

Mike M.
Mike M.
2 years ago
Reply to  Ken B

Ken, I could get behind a plan that says “Let’s slow the virus down for X period of time. This will allow us to work out supply chain issues (ventilators, masks) and for hospitals to prepare for a surge.” That would be a plan with a concrete, measurable goal. But is that what we’re doing right now? I ask, because some have gotten the message that we’re trying to wait for the virus to putter out on its own. Yet more think we’re waiting for a vaccine to be ready (despite the fact that this could take years). Still others… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike M.

I think you’re largely correct. The issue is that the people with actual decision-making capacity, at both the state and federal level, don’t have the technical understanding nor the leadership ability to articulate such clear objectives in an unprecedented situation. And the people who do have the technical understanding (the epidemiologists) may be able to explain the possibilities and even probabilities but don’t have the experience in governance to understand how to make such consequential decisions and explain the tradeoffs. As a result we ARE in a reactive phase. Trying things and seeing what works. They’re afraid to commit to… Read more »

katecho
katecho
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan wrote: They’re afraid to commit to longer-term decisions until they’ve seen what impact the current decision has. Oh? Both parties have already (nearly unanimously) joined hands to fire up multiple trillions of dollars out of nothing, and Jonathan describes the scene as an example of caution, restraint, and fear of commitment? What possible long-term consequence could there be with a few trillion here, or a few trillion there? Jonathan seems as unaware of consequence as our politicians. If trillions is Jonathan’s idea of caution, then God save us when the politicians stop dabbling and become resolved in what they… Read more »

Andrew Lohr
2 years ago

For Hans Fiene’s interview with the virus, https://thefederalist.com/2020/03/16/exclusive-interview-with-coronavirus-im-very-proud-of-my-chinese-heritage/ might work (did for me on one test); the underlined worlds in the article above didn’t get thru to the article for me. (Fiene is a Lutheran pastor [Lutheran Chesterton??]). A possible practical resource for some these days for small amounts of easy, honest, available money: donate blood plasma. I both donate and work at CSL Plasma (there are others too), and in Chattanooga new donors get $65 the first day and can get $230 in ten days with four visits. Risk, perhaps similar to grocery store? We ask about C-19 and… Read more »