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Every time I see one of these apocalyptic exponential projections based on a “doubling of the death rate every two days,” or whatever the current numbers suggest, I want to slap someone. At the moment, and for the next week or so at least, the death count is a trailing indicator of contagion.
It appears to take, on average, from about ten days to two weeks between infection with the Wuhan virus and subsequent death. That suggests that today’s death figures are a proxy for the rate of infection ten days to two weeks ago.
Leaders from the White House and both parties of the Senate spent days negotiating a $1.4 trillion “Phase Three” stimulus package to alleviate the economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi flew in from her vacation to scuttle the entire agreement Sunday.
“The build-up to this is that we had a high level of bipartisanship over the last 48 hours,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “And then, all of a sudden, the Democratic leader and the speaker of the House shows up … and we’re back to square one,” he said, referring to Schumer and Pelosi.
During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world were discussing whether any one belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return from death. The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s the rumpus about?” he asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions. In his forthright manner Lewis responded, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”–From Christianity Today
This post isn’t a theological disquisition on grace, and whether it is solely dispositive of, or required for, one’s excellent and non-horribly-thermal, prospects in the afterlife. Or about whether or not “works” count even more than faith or grace, or if they count as much, or if they count not at all. I have neither the scholarly chops, nor the temerity to expound on those subjects, beyond a rather insistent gut hunch that, in accepting Christ as my savior, I’m bound to give His precepts on how to live a Christian life at least a pretty good college try, and that many of those precepts involve living a certain way, and doing certain things (and not doing certain other things). He may not be all about the old quid pro quo, but I guess I am, somewhat anyway, and I do my very imperfect best from day-to-day to try to hold up my end of the deal. He may have infinite patience, but I have deeply-ingrained ideas about things like fairness, and I just don’t think it’s right or proper to try His patience too far.
President Trump now considers himself a wartime president. Appropriate, I think. The inestimable Victor Davis Hanson thinks that war is a valid metaphor for combatting the COVID-19 virus.
Okay, let’s do that. Later, after we’ve secured ourselves, we can go on the offensive (in this case, that means get proactive) and ensure that we annihilate China’s ability to control worldwide supply chains and production (in this case, the production of medical supplies). First, though, defense. If this is a type of war, why don’t we secure Fortress America the same way we secure our Army posts, our air bases, our Naval stations, and our OCONUS Forward Operating Bases?
In desperation, small business people are doing what they can to stay solvent, to stave off government-mandated ruin. One strain of these responses has been a revival of earlier car culture. The drive-in movie and the drive-in diner suddenly have an attraction again. Consider two stories from Texas: one a family restaurant turned drive-in movie theater, and the other a community theater putting on a drive-in live performance. Consider, also, the Sonic restaurant brand.
In “Ingenuity to Beat the Ban,” Aaron Miller told the story of the Butler House restaurant, in Spring, Texas, which put up a large screen television in the parking lot and serves meals, including beer or wine, car side. Modern cars are pre-equipped to support this experience, as we have lots of cup holders. Back in the 1950’s you needed a special tray attached to the side of the car window because there was nowhere to safely put down your drink. Moreover, all cars now have FM radios, so you can even have a low power FM transmission of the audio.
Mary Katharine Ham and Lyndsey Fifield are in it together… a healthy distance apart. Tuck into this uplifting episode to learn how different personalities are handling all this social isolation, how they’re setting a “routine” in a world gone mad… and what we can all learn about ourselves. Mostly that cardio is essential.
All kinds of people visit our gym in this community. Some are very friendly and we kid around and harass each other. And there are those who are shy and distant, rarely making eye contact. But I feel connected to them, too, since we are all older people on a mission to stay healthy.
Today’s Worldometer.com screengrab is sorted by active cases. I think active cases rather than total cases is a better sort because total cases do not reflect the current and future challenge. And it is the current and future challenge that we need to be focused on. And we cannot assess our current strategies without context and perspective. How are we like Italy and Spain that bookend the USA on the list? How are we different? Are our critical cases fewer only based on time? Is our capacity to handle the number of critical cases seen in Italy and Spain better, worse or about the same?
Today we welcomed our Rotary exchange student, whom I’ll call Rotaria. Fawlty Towers fans will imagine my posture and tone of voice when I say “she is from Barcelona.” Absolutely delightful, a real tonic to the local mood. Could be called home at any moment, but for now her parents are fine with her staying here. Because Barcelona at the moment is not fun.
When you go out to get groceries – they’re on lockdown – you are required to wear a mask and gloves. When you return home, you must remove all your outer clothing and set it aside. The churches are closed, which is hard on the grandmas, who seem to be the only ones interested in filling the pews or lighting a candle. The mood seems to be the same as here: resignation, acceptance, mental suppression of the Big What Next, gallows humor, boredom, and singing from the balconies. No one in her extended circle knows anyone who has it.