Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Coronavirus Hypothesis: What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?


I’ve been posting regularly on the progress of the COVID-19 epidemic in Western Europe and the US, so I have the data readily available. Today, David Foster has a post, In a Time of Widespread Craziness, reporting that some people are burning down 5G towers in the apparent belief that 5G causes coronavirus. David was quite dismissive of this hypothesis but did not offer any empirical support.

Fortunately, I have the data available. According to this report from February 2020, 5G is commercially available in the following Western European countries: Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. So I analyzed my data on COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 population for the month of March 2020, based on the commercial availability of 5G service in Western Europe. The countries in which 5G is not available are Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Portugal. I grouped countries based on the availability of 5G service (as usual, starting each trend line when the region passed 0.05 deaths per 100,000). Here is the result:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Who’s a Good Dog?


“These are the tales the Dogs tell, when the fires burn high and the wind is from the North.” — Clifford Simak, City

The conclusion to the 1957 movie, Old Yeller, has to be among the two or three most heart-rending scenes ever filmed. If you remember the story, Old Yeller, the beloved family dog, fights off a rabid wolf who is attacking the youngest son of the family. During the fight, Old Yeller is badly wounded.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. My Virgin Experience #2: Grocery Delivery


You might have read the post about my virgin experience of pizza delivery. You would think it would have prepared us for our first adventure into grocery delivery. Not hardly.

We finally convinced ourselves that grocery shopping in a store with potential coronavirus zombies disguised as real human beings was not a good idea. Many people insisted that having our groceries selected and delivered by strangers made more sense. Since I am very picky about the food I buy, I was skeptical. Selecting raspberries that aren’t moldy or strawberries that are ripe at the end of the season are iffy propositions. But I finally relented.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. My Experience Having COVID-19

COVID-19 under the microscope. 3d illustration. Photo by

In case anyone’s curious about one COVID-19 experience: Two friends, my wife, and I went to London the second week of March on a long-planned vacation. Did the whole tourist thing, but tried to be safe by washing hands, Purelling, etc. We came home on separate flights on March 14. and immediately went into self-quarantine.

All four of us eventually got sick. Our medical friends in the group got tested. After a week, the results came pack COVID-positive. So we got tested – the mouth swab. I had a fever for 12 days (no fun, I can tell you, but it never got too high), felt cruddy, but I work from home and so was able to get most of my work done. Naps every day. Never had the breathing problems, thankfully.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. When Anyone Claims We Can’t…


I have seen a bunch of memes make the rounds along the following lines:

  • When anyone claims we can’t afford a new government program…
  • When anyone claims we can’t provide all Americans with free healthcare…
  • When anyone claims we can’t provide work from home options…

Just remember we could do all the above during COVID-19.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How to Say Thanks to the Front-line Doctors, Nurses, and Health Professionals


My husband and I are both practicing physicians on the “front-line” (he considerably more than me) of the COVID epidemic. We often hear and deeply appreciate friends, acquaintances, family members and sometimes even strangers say, “You guys are the heroes. Thank you for what you do. What can I do to help and support you?”

Here is one answer: Tort reform.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Civil War: Some Random Observations from Quarantine


With more time on my hands, I’ve taken the time to re-introduce myself to the American Civil War in both fiction and non-fiction. Not the happiest subject, I admit, but one that, at least for me, is endlessly fascinating and reminds me that things could be far worse.

On the non-fiction side, I’m halfway through the first volume of Shelby Foote’s three-volume history of the war. Yes, he was a man of the south (Mississippi), and the southern view of the war permeates his history. But his history falls far short of southern hagiography, and he writes like a dream. You’ve got to love studying the war to read these books, but they reward the reader’s diligence. Next up, I’m going to re-read Allen Guelzo’s Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, which I consider the best book on the subject.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Problems


“Isn’t it wonderful; if you have a few problems, you have trouble, but if you have a whole lot of problems, they start solving each other.” – H. Beam Piper, Ministry of Disturbance

Problems? We all have problems today. Enough problems that this aphorism (which Piper used some variant of in several stories) begins to apply. If you have enough problems you can put them together to start solving themselves. It is a principle I have cheerfully, indeed ruthlessly, applied since my early teens when I first came across it in one of Piper’s sci-fi novels.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘Its Effect is to Hold The World Together’


The whole neighborhood is home and the grills are going. I sniff the air like Yogi Bear and start pulling things out of the freezer to grill for the week. My cousin from Vegas called to check on us. She is 10 years older and, if there was a liberal chart, she would fall off. We have been closer in touch since the passing of her sister, my other cousin, 15 years older, a couple of years ago. We don’t breach politics. We skirted the issue when she revealed her “psychotic event” when Trump was elected – sigh. So we keep it light. I love the sound of her melodic voice that reminds me of childhood.

She called yesterday and in our five-minute call, as I said we were on our way to pick up food, lamented that Las Vegas is a ghost town. It thrives on crowds — the Strip, gambling, sports events, concerts, conventions — now all gone. Then she suddenly began to rail on Trump, and how his “slow” response to the virus caused our current situation. I asked what about all the other world leaders and their responses? She said, but we are the greatest country, and he dismantled Obama’s emergency response team! I won’t go there but I dismissed it with, “Well, glad you are all ok, and can I call you back?” I don’t feel like calling her back.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Comeback of Ancient Superstition and Self-Flagellation


In the ancient world, people dealt with the unknown future by bribing the gods, offering up children and animals and crops in order to purchase a better outcome. In other words, they pre-emptively accepted punishment in order to limit the total damage. It sounds crazy and irrational, of course. But I think we are seeing precisely the same thing right now.

I see people in my community, city, and across the world telling themselves and everyone else that what is needed most of all is self-sacrifice. The more we isolate, the more we become impoverished, the more we suffer and endure, the better the outcome will be. The bogeyman Corona will spare those who suffer the most.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Just What IS the Progressive Vision? American Pottersville.


Right about in the middle of Professor Wilfred McClay’s three-week Hillsdale course on his recently released book, The Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story, he gives a two-part overview of early 20th-century progressivism. It struck me how current events reveal that the progressive mindset hasn’t changed much, and a slew of authors writing about the economic and social impacts of the Wuhan Flu are bolstering the case.

Progressives then and now view the life of society as systematized — or systematize-able. Just listen to a few minutes of New York Governor Cuomo’s recent press conference and count the number of times he says, “system.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Testing… Testing…


If I were a certain sort of woman, I’d blame it on The Patriarchy. If I were another sort, I’d blame it on A Culture Insufficiently Supportive of Life. (And, if I were a very specific sort, I’d do both.) Instead, it was the understandable result of The Powers That Be in our neighborhood hospital system not having leeway to make more fine-grained distinctions in a crisis. Which is how pregnant women, who aren’t permitted to receive any in-person prenatal care right now if they have the least little sniffle but no negative lab result for Covid-19, must go through a lengthy, frustrating, and high-exposure screening process to see if they qualify for Covid-19 testing, while the nonpregnant may simply waltz – or rather drive – through safer, low-exposure Covid-19 testing in about 15 minutes.

If you’re pregnant, though, the screening process might take hours, during which you hear, at each step along the way, that you may be ineligible for the lab anyhow – and that’s just your time spent at the walk-in screening center. It doesn’t count the hours (days) you may have spent trying to find a walk-in screening center that hasn’t run out of swabs for the day, and finding out whether you’re even eligible to visit it.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Elementary, Dr. Geraghty


Jim Geraghty has done an amazingly good job of collecting information about the origin of the coronavirus. This is a monumental detective story. The fate of world health and world power politics may be involved. I won’t be a spoiler as there is no choice but to read it in its entirety. It’s on NRO right now. Here is the link: The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs.

Sherlock Holmes might call this “The Case of the Bat’s Blood.”


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Day 75: COVID-19 The Epidemic in Small Places


The screengrab above and the ones below show what’s going on (to the extent data tells it) in the 53 countries and reporting locations with less than 1 million in population. I have rearranged the Worldometers columns and sorted by active cases. The data is as of o:00 GMT last night.*


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Duration: Vet Visit


Had to take the dog to the vet for his heart worm test. He’s had it, and beat it, but you have to make sure it doesn’t come back. Strolled up to the office as usual, Birch unaccountably excited as usual. Don’t know why. Surely a dog’s nose picks up all sorts of bad odors from a vet office – fear, strange angry dog, the screaming soprano notes of chemicals. He gets anxious once we’re inside, as well he should; poking and prodding is en route, and no matter how kind the vets are, no matter how many kibble-treats are bestowed, there must be a remnant memory of the BACK ROOM, where he was subjected to the heartworm treatment and caged lockdown.

But he’s all excitement now, straining at the leash, ready to go in. I had my mask, expecting the waiting room to be observing the usual protocols.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. For Captain Crozier, Loyalty Is a Two-Way Street


“There’s a great deal of talk about loyalty from the bottom to the top. Loyalty from the top down is even more necessary and is much less prevalent. One of the most frequently noted characteristics of great men who have remained great is loyalty to their subordinates.” — General George S. Patton

As a career Noncommissioned Officer and a veteran of 20 years military service, I wonder if Navy brass — or if the senior ranks in any branch of America’s armed forces for that matter — understand what they are witnessing when they see that great throng of crew members aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt cheering in support of Captain Brett Crozier, who risked his career to save their lives? A Navy veteran on Twitter commented that:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. NYC On A Saturday Afternoon In April 2020


This afternoon, I took a long walk around an empty Manhattan, smoking a cigar and maintaining a safe distance. (The cigar has that effect…) New Yorkers are already skilled at giving each other a wide berth.” A very wide berth.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Cuomo Wants Our Ventilators and Buffalo is Having None of It


New York State is a microcosm for how elites view America. A tiny little speck of a megacity controls politics, and the overwhelming majority of the area is dismissed as “upstate,” mirroring the “coasts vs. flyover country” view of the nation.

The hospitals in the Buffalo area especially, and throughout the state in general, have been preparing. We have ventilators and are using them. New York City is running out. Despite the state still having a stockpile of ventilators, Cuomo is now ordering the National Guard to take equipment from our hospitals for New York City. Buffalo’s politicians and hospitals are having none of it.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Some Perspective on Viruses


For sixth-grade science, I like to use a text called The Universe in My Hands, which is “a general science course in which the elements of the material universe are ordered by size and the student is introduced to the disciplines of the science as a function of their sizes.” The student encounters the universe by ordering things according to their magnitude. You and I, for example, as humans, are on the order of 1 x 10^0 meters (one times ten to the zero power), which we call the Zero Order of Magnitude, or [0].

A cat is smaller than that, at the 1 x 10^-1 meters or [-1] Order of Magnitude. A marble is at the [-2] scale. A human cell is at the [-5], and a virus is at the [-7], or 2 orders of magnitude smaller than a human cell.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Holy Week


From the weekly newsletter of Rev. George Rutler, pastor of the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, in midtown Manhattan:

As I write, the Navy hospital ship “Comfort,” last seen here on the Hudson River after the World Trade Center horror, is passing by our rectory windows. The convention center nearby, usually home to flower and boat shows, is being converted into a huge emergency hospital.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. RIP, Bill Withers


Wanted to note the passing of Bill Withers. One of the most unique and instantly identifiable voices in popular music, his songs filled my father’s Los Angeles-area apartment growing up. To this day, every time I hear one of his songs, I think of sunny southern California late afternoons, cool breezes, and swaying palm trees. If you’re not familiar with Withers, take the time. Beautifully smooth melodies and a voice like honey.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Movie Fights Redux


A few years back, I got hooked on a YouTube show called Movie Fights. It still exists but went downhill once its creator, Andy Signore, was falsely accused of sexual impropriety in the early days of the #metoo movement. Signore bounced back and has a new show called Nerd Wars, also on YouTube. I thought it would be fun to have a Ricochet version of Movie Fights. Here is what I propose:

1) Every Saturday, a movie-related question is asked. Find this weeks question here:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. East Coast, West Coast


Numerous studies have documented the leftist bias of our national media. Some of that is clearly intentional, some is simple laziness, but some is also a lack of curiosity. We see this now in the arms-length disinterest in the potentially “game-changing” hydroxychloroquine treatment. Also largely ignored are the order-of-magnitude differences in cases and deaths comparing New York and California.

I spent a half-hour expanding this to an Atlantic Coast (Maine to Florida, DC) vs Pacific Coast (Washington, Oregon, California). As of Friday (per Worldometer), the East Coast has 10 times the cases and eight times the deaths. Yes, the East Coast states have twice the population and 50 percent more coastline than the West Coast states, but this is still an astounding result.