Author Topic: Coronavirus news  (Read 398920 times)

D. Engebretson

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1035 on: April 16, 2020, 09:33:54 AM »
I know the word "new normal" is overused, but it's the best I can think of as we project into what our 'new' future might look like.  Some imagine a painful, but ever so brief shut down, and then a world opened up again roaring to life as if nothing ever happened.

Not so quick.

In the Atlantic, one author writes:
...the only viable endgame is to play whack-a-mole with the coronavirus, suppressing it until a vaccine can be produced. With luck, that will take 18 to 24 months. During that time, new outbreaks will probably arise. Much about that period is unclear, but the dozens of experts whom I have interviewed agree that life as most people knew it cannot fully return. “I think people haven’t understood that this isn’t about the next couple of weeks,” said Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota. “This is about the next two years.”

The pandemic is not a hurricane or a wildfire. It is not comparable to Pearl Harbor or 9/11. Such disasters are confined in time and space. The SARS-CoV-2 virus will linger through the year and across the world. “Everyone wants to know when this will end,” said Devi Sridhar, a public-health expert at the University of Edinburgh. “That’s not the right question. The right question is: How do we continue?”


In the news this morning I notice that there is talk about when parts of the country may try to reopen, at least partially.  Unemployment is skyrocketing and smaller businesses are on the edge of collapse.  We cannot economically sustain an ongoing nationwide shut-down such as we have right now.  Conservatively the stay-at-home orders in some places may go until the end of next month, but that is even a long time out for people and businesses in a fragile survival state. 

Meanwhile, the medical infrastructure is struggling, not just to keep up in hard hit areas, but with supplies and drugs.  Both are running short.  Tests are badly needed, but rolling out such things often comes in fits and starts.  It's never completely smooth.  Some hospitals are overworked and many elective surgeries have been put on hold.  Economically they are being hit as well.

These problems—the continuing testing debacle, the drying supply chains, the relentless pressure on hospitals—should temper any impatience about reopening the country. There won’t be an obvious moment when everything is under control and regular life can safely resume. Even after case counts and death rates fall, the pandemic’s challenges will continue, and will not automatically subside on their own. After all, despite ample warning, the U.S. failed to anticipate what would happen when the coronavirus knocked on its door. It cannot afford to make that mistake again. Before the spring is over, it needs a plan for the summer and fall.

As we try to attempt a partial reopening, we need to determine which mitigations actually are necessary and which were most effective. We did everything all at once in the state of a pending emergency. But we can't sustain a complete shutdown indefinitely, yet we can continue mitigation efforts like social distancing and some bans on large gatherings (concerts, political rallies, etc.)

Besides testing for who has the actual virus, there are also tests coming out that will test to see who was exposed and possesses the necessary antibodies to resist the virus. Forecasts are both optimistic and pessimistic.  We just don't know what we, as a nation, look like in our blood streams.

If it turns out that, say, 20 percent of the U.S. has been infected, that would mean the coronavirus is more transmissible but less deadly than scientists think. It would also mean that a reasonable proportion of the country has some immunity. If that proportion could be slowly and safely raised to the level necessary for herd immunity—60 to 80 percent, depending on the virus’s transmissibility—the U.S. might not need to wait for a vaccine. However, if just 1 to 5 percent of the population has been infected—the range that many researchers think is likelier—that would mean “this is a truly devastating virus, and we have built up no real population immunity,” said Michael Mina, an epidemiologist and immunologist at Harvard. “Then we’re in dire straits in terms of how to move forward.”

So we can't really move forward until we know more.  At least not to a relatively normal state we knew prior to this pandemic.  Yet there is always some hope.

Now that the U.S. is slowing the pandemic, gently easing back on social distancing would be safer, Morris argues, than snapping back to business as usual when small missteps could be catastrophic. “If we’re judicious about how we lift restrictions, we might never have to go back into lockdown,” he said.

Stay-at-home orders might lift first, allowing friends and family to reunite. Small businesses could reopen with limitations: Offices might run on shifts and still rely heavily on teleworking, while restaurants and bars could create more space between tables. Schools could restart once researchers determine if children actually spread the virus.


Mass gatherings will undoubtedly be cancelled for months to come.  Think about what that means.  The sporting industry will suffer, especially as baseball ramps up in the summer.  Music and entertainment will continue to suffer as concerts are cancelled.  Large cities, whose crowded streets are always an issue, will struggle.  And yes, churches, too, will suffer.  If the number of those gathered does not rise above 50 (one number recommended), many of our mid-sized and larger churches will remain in virtual existence.  I know my usual attendance is well above that mark. 

There are so many variables that need to be coordinated and known, and we aren't there.  We're not even sure how close we are.  One danger is that we continually fall into a pattern of panic and neglect.  Working on a problem for the long-haul and developing resilience is not our forte.  We want quick solutions and instant results.  As the author concludes: "There is no going back. The only way out is through—past a turbulent spring, across an unusual summer, and into an unsettled year beyond."


The rest of the article is here:

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/pandemic-summer-coronavirus-reopening-back-normal/609940/
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Michael Slusser

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1036 on: April 16, 2020, 10:03:07 AM »
This could perhaps fit into Prayer Requests as well.
A friend has passed the word that Pastor Craig Breimhorst, retired pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Faribault, is close to death. He contracted COVID19 on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
https://www.southernminn.com/faribault_daily_news/news/article_ed6dffdf-9b72-50c5-ab7b-eedb05b9e5e8.html

May the Lord whom he loves take him in his arms and sustain his family.
I've just been informed that Pr. Breimhorst died during the night. May he rest in peace.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

peter_speckhard

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1037 on: April 16, 2020, 10:08:02 AM »
Well, he huffs and puffs about his "business council" and then screws up organizing it.
Given that this is an urgent and unprecedented situation, I would expect the organization of it to be rocky, like military plans when the battle is ongoing. It isn't like he had months or even years to organize everything in advance and then it crashed and burned at the grand unveiling of the plan.   

D. Engebretson

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1038 on: April 16, 2020, 10:27:24 AM »
Well, he huffs and puffs about his "business council" and then screws up organizing it.
Given that this is an urgent and unprecedented situation, I would expect the organization of it to be rocky, like military plans when the battle is ongoing. It isn't like he had months or even years to organize everything in advance and then it crashed and burned at the grand unveiling of the plan.

If one was intent on laying blame, then we should also look back a couple or more administrations and ask why preparations weren't made for the eventuality of such a day (which any epidemiologist would predict was inevitable). We had time then, but not seeming need.  Yet aren't we always supposed to be planning for the eventual?  Why were certain protocols and plans not in place prior to the Trump administration, especially when the previous administration had already dealt with H1N1?
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Pasgolf

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1039 on: April 16, 2020, 11:30:30 AM »
https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus

A useful source for current information on the world wide pandemic numbers.
Mark (retired pastor, golfs the pastures) Renner

Charles Austin

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1040 on: April 16, 2020, 01:16:42 PM »
I have said before, there is plenty of blame to go around, and some of it no doubt dating back years maybe even decades. But this is now. And I believe we must focus on what is being done or is not being done now, now beginning about early January when we heard about this particular threat.
FDR could have fussed about the treaty ending the Great War setting up the situation for what was happening in 1939 and 1940, but would that have done any good?
And laying blame or attempting to find a scapegoat is even worse when it detracts from the war at hand.
BTW, There is plenty of history and current reflection to show that the World Health Organization was indeed on top of the situation, but I shall make no attempt to convince anybody here of that.
Irrelevant, but for me a nostalgic factoid: the WHO in Geneva is located very near the ecumenical center housing the Lutheran world federation and the World Council of Churches. Colleagues and I would often have lunch in their fine dining room. Our relief and development people often worked with WHO projects.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2020, 01:22:39 PM by Charles Austin »
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

James_Gale

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1041 on: April 16, 2020, 01:30:08 PM »
I have said before, there is plenty of blame to go around, and some of it no doubt dating back years maybe even decades.
. . . . .
 
[But] laying blame or attempting to find a scapegoat is [unhelpful] when it detracts from the war at hand.


Ah, the irony.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1042 on: April 16, 2020, 01:43:36 PM »
I have said before, there is plenty of blame to go around, and some of it no doubt dating back years maybe even decades. But this is now. And I believe we must focus on what is being done or is not being done now, now beginning about early January when we heard about this particular threat.

It is true that the primary focus should be on the present.  That said, every leader inherits the good and the bad from previous eras.  He works with what he has and the federal government is a development of many years with the influence of multiple administrations. No doubt mistakes were made by the current administration.  Every administration makes them, especially during times when you are 'in the heat of the battle.'  Critical incidents often require immediate actions that do not benefit from extended study or reflection.  They also depend on structures and protocols put in place in prior times.  So, to a degree, some focus must be on what was done before and why certain things are not working well in the present.  It is not all a matter of what comes out of the White House, or congress.  There are layers upon layers of bureaucracy in our federal government, and additional layers in the state and local governments.  Getting everyone to work in concert is a trick, and it's not always pretty.  I've seen a flood in my area managed by multiple agencies, which included the military, law enforcement, and fire, and although it worked, it was messy at times.  Many of us had not tried to coordinate this large of an operation on the local level.  We made mistakes.  Did the local mayor fail at all? Probably.  How about the police chief, the fire chief, the sheriff, or any of military leaders present?  All probably shared in some blame for mistakes and missteps.  But in a later debriefing you try to find what worked and what didn't and make careful notes for those who may have to face the same crisis in the unknown future.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1043 on: April 16, 2020, 05:17:07 PM »
Again, he threatened something. What did he do? Trump uses whatever he thinks will move the ball. In this case, everyone knows that President can’t adjourn Congress, but everyone also now knows that Congress has been refusing to approve a full staff for the administration while criticizing the efforts of that staff. Mission accomplished.

What the president huffs and puffs about is moot. What he does matters.


If a married pastor huffed and puffed about having sex with a beautiful, single church member; but never actually has sex with her, does it matter? Words matter. Actions may speak louder; but words matter.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Charles Austin

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1044 on: April 17, 2020, 05:30:42 AM »
In today’s news, from the NYT, my emphasis added):
W.H.O., Now Trump’s Scapegoat, Warned About Coronavirus Early and Often
The World Health Organization, always cautious, acted more forcefully and faster than many national governments. But President Trump has decided to cut off U.S. funding to the organization.
   On Jan. 22, two days after Chinese officials first publicized the serious threat posed by the new virus ravaging the city of Wuhan, the chief of the World Health Organization held the first of what would be months of almost daily media briefings, sounding the alarm, telling the world to take the outbreak seriously.
   But with its officials divided, the W.H.O., still seeing no evidence of sustained spread of the virus outside of China, declined the next day to declare a global public health emergency. A week later, the organization reversed course and made the declaration.
   Those early days of the epidemic illustrated the strengths and weaknesses of the W.H.O., an arm of the United Nations that is now under fire by President Trump, who on Tuesday ordered a cutoff of American funding to the organization.
   With limited, constantly shifting information to go on, the W.H.O. showed an early, consistent determination to treat the new contagion like the threat it would become, and to persuade others to do the same. At the same time, the organization repeatedly praised China, acting and speaking with a political caution born of being an arm of the United Nations, with few resources of its own, unable to do its work without international cooperation.
   Mr. Trump, deflecting criticism that his own handling of the crisis left the United States unprepared, accused the W.H.O. of mismanaging it, called the organization “very China-centric” and said it had “pushed China’s misinformation.”
   But a close look at the record shows that the W.H.O. acted with greater foresight and speed than many national governments, and more than it had shown in previous epidemics. And while it made mistakes, there is little evidence that the W.H.O. is responsible for the disasters that have unfolded in Europe and then the United States.
The whole story is here:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/health/WHO-Trump-coronavirus.html

Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1045 on: April 17, 2020, 08:52:58 AM »
In today’s news, from the NYT, my emphasis added):
W.H.O., Now Trump’s Scapegoat, Warned About Coronavirus Early and Often
The World Health Organization, always cautious, acted more forcefully and faster than many national governments. But President Trump has decided to cut off U.S. funding to the organization.
   On Jan. 22, two days after Chinese officials first publicized the serious threat posed by the new virus ravaging the city of Wuhan, the chief of the World Health Organization held the first of what would be months of almost daily media briefings, sounding the alarm, telling the world to take the outbreak seriously.
   But with its officials divided, the W.H.O., still seeing no evidence of sustained spread of the virus outside of China, declined the next day to declare a global public health emergency. A week later, the organization reversed course and made the declaration.
   Those early days of the epidemic illustrated the strengths and weaknesses of the W.H.O., an arm of the United Nations that is now under fire by President Trump, who on Tuesday ordered a cutoff of American funding to the organization.
   With limited, constantly shifting information to go on, the W.H.O. showed an early, consistent determination to treat the new contagion like the threat it would become, and to persuade others to do the same. At the same time, the organization repeatedly praised China, acting and speaking with a political caution born of being an arm of the United Nations, with few resources of its own, unable to do its work without international cooperation.
   Mr. Trump, deflecting criticism that his own handling of the crisis left the United States unprepared, accused the W.H.O. of mismanaging it, called the organization “very China-centric” and said it had “pushed China’s misinformation.”
   But a close look at the record shows that the W.H.O. acted with greater foresight and speed than many national governments, and more than it had shown in previous epidemics. And while it made mistakes, there is little evidence that the W.H.O. is responsible for the disasters that have unfolded in Europe and then the United States.
The whole story is here:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/health/WHO-Trump-coronavirus.html
There is a great meme floating around out there in which Michael Scott from The Office responds to American media reports with "That's what Xi said."

The NYT is trying to lead the way among American media outlets, and the competition is stiff this time, to be for China what it was for the Soviets in the 30's.

Steven W Bohler

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Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1047 on: April 17, 2020, 09:23:41 AM »
https://amgreatness.com/2020/04/16/political-elite-plays-its-last-card/

To quote Charles (when he sees someone else trash the President):

"Like, [Steve], like."
Don Kirchner

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Charles Austin

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1048 on: April 17, 2020, 09:55:34 AM »
Well, Peter, your guy has spent almost 3 years praising Xi. So now, when the rest of us have some criticism of the Chinese, it becomes… What?
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #1049 on: April 17, 2020, 10:34:12 AM »
Well, Peter, your guy has spent almost 3 years praising Xi. So now, when the rest of us have some criticism of the Chinese, it becomes… What?
Trying to negotiate a trade deal with China required buttering up Chinese officials publicly, which is very different from repeating communist propaganda as news. Trump also says nice things about the North Korean dictator. But the NYT should not be reporting things according to that country's talking points, either. The recent spate of mainstream articles exonerating China, praising China and the WHO, etc. are entirely counterproductive to truth and clarity and have only propaganda value against the United States.