The World According to Gail. . .

Clearly, for all the planning that went on to determine how to handle a pandemic, few solutions were reached.  It seems like the only thing they are doing is allowing the media to unnecessarily scare people. 

They’re also misrepresenting the truth:  For the vast majority of the population, the coronavirus poses no risk.  It is the risk to our healthcare structure and healthcare costs (especially for Medicare), that they’re really worried about.

I asked Gail, who has implemented hundreds of healthcare programs, how she would have handled this pandemic.  This was her response: 

1) Open labs to adults (over 18) to test for the comorbidities associated with deaths due to coronavirus, e.g. diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.  There would be no charge for the test and the individual would receive $100 to do the testing.  They would be asked to provide ID, verify their address, and sign a consent to forward their lab results to the local government.

2) At the state level, create an analytic database.  (Because there are already so many in existence, they could use an existing solution.)  Based on age and comorbidities, formulate a scale from 1 -X to determine the likelihood that a given individual will land in the hospital.  For example, if you are a “1” you are least likely to wind up in the hospital.  If you are a “4,” you are four times more likely than a patient with a score of “1” to require hospitalization. 

3) At the federal level, set a National Incubation Period, e.g. 4 to 6 weeks.       

4) Provide accessibility of the scores on-line and allow individuals to register for one of two incentive programs, based on their score.

5)  Program A:  Incentivize people with lower scores (1-4) to circulate in the population.  For example, if someone is “1” or a “2,” e.g. under 50 with no comorbidities known to be associated with mortality from the virus, they would be eligible for vouchers to travel in the United States, stay in hotels and eat in restaurants.  Rebates on practically anything they could buy could be exchanged for other goods or used to offset their state tax burden.  Cities would be incentivized to organize concerts and festivals.  Students and employees, with perfect attendance at their schools or jobs, would be rewarded.  Encourage low risk people (those least likely to end up in the hospital) to circulate in the population so they can get the virus immediately, thus eliminating them as potential carriers down the road.

6)  Program B:  Incentivize people with higher scores, those who are more likely to require hospitalization (5-10), to stay at home.  If they agree to wear an ankle monitor, give them substantially more.  (Not to arrest anyone, but to help “Aunt Martha” if she thinks she has to run to the store to pick something up.  If the alarm goes off, a volunteer could call her and say, “Aunt Martha, we see that you’re leaving the house.  Is there something you need?  Can we send someone to get it for you?”)  –  Offset any financial losses they incur during this period.  If they follow recommendations, there would be another payoff at the end.  Something like $1,000 for each 4 week period they are required to self-quarantine.  This is infinitely cheaper than it would cost to hospitalize them.

7)  Toward the end of the incubation period, start reintroducing the second tier, high risk people, into the population, i.e. people over a certain age, with one comorbidity.  Release them on a schedule, paying close attention to hospital admissions.  To receive their incentives, they must have a letter from the State with their score and their release date.  When we reach 50% capacity, slow down the release until the healthsystem is able to recover.  When the first tier of patients are cycled through, immediately release the second tier and then the third, etc. until everyone has been released. 

8)  Do not penalize people who do not wish to sign up for either program.  This is America for pete’s sake.  Strongly encourage participation through the media and advertising.     

Interested in your comments and suggestions.



  1. How about announcing on national TV that distancing is futile and those at high risk of death should self quarantine if they intend to live?  Really, the trick is to keep it away from the elderly.  Let em self shut in for a month or two with all necessities delivered sanitarily to their doors.  Once the wave has passed, everyone can come out of their holes.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Misha, a lot of people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, etc. have these comorbidities, too. Particularly in this country where obesity is such a problem. Many of these younger people don’t even know it.

      The unfortunate thing is, the elderly are going to get it eventually. What they’re afraid of is that they’ll all get it at once and wind up in the hospital at the same time. They don’t have the necessary beds or ventilators to handle the anticipated volume. They’re not going to keep people from getting sick but with ventilators they can keep people alive until the virus runs its course. If they slow down the progression of the virus, ie. keep those at greater risk from getting sick all at the same time, they have a better chance of helping more people.

      • On the ground at the bottom, I don’t think the level of control you are proposing will work.  Apart from steps taken by institutions and businesses, in my little world at the bottom of the food chain, life goes on almost unchanged.  We started fist bumping long ago so even that is nothing new.  The one thing they did at the shelter where I used to live is segregate the over 60’s in one dormitory.
        What I mean is, I think you are overestimating the intelligence of the general population and their ability or willingness to entertain such a regime of classification and behavior modification.
        I like your idea, basically, and my comment was designed to be a boiled down spinoff stripped of what I thought impracticable.  The real problem with the way it is being handled now, which is insanity, is that we are keeping able bodied people who are in no real danger of life threatening illness from taking part in production.  That’s a damn serious mistake.  Shelves go bare and markets teeter due to such stupidity.
        As to everyone being exposed to it eventually, perhaps.  Let it run its course in the healthier, sturdier population so that there will be less of that group sick when the elderly and infirm finally emerge and thus conserve resources.  However, you may be overestimating the amount of sickness (as opposed to exposure) inevitable in the elderly/infirm community if it can be held off through the main wave through the healthier/sturdier population.  It may turn out to be piecemeal and sporadic at that point rather than a minor wave of its own.
        All in all, I stand by my comment above.  But that’s not the road we’re going down at present.  If I had living relatives over 60 or so, I would advise them to self-isolate and would happily bring them whatever they needed to do so for the next 6-8 weeks or so, sprayed down with sanitizer so contact is minimized.  God bless Skype and videophones at times like these.
        We should recall that H1N1 turned out to be no more serious than seasonal flu, notwithstanding the fact that it killed over 12,000 in the US alone, but we didn’t know that for over a year after its initial outbreak in 2009:
        Because, as we have labored to emphasize, the numbers regarding mortality we are getting now are garbage.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Misha, I hear you. I know we’re really on the same page with regard to the end result, i.e. the most vulnerable need to stay home.

          I’m probably UNDERestimating the intelligence of the general population because I think the “Aunt Marthas” of the world, who are at high risk on every level, are going to think they can run out and buy a loaf of bread and while out, stop at Marshalls to buy a present if they’re “really quick.” However, if we paid her to wear an ankle bracelet, we’d know when she left the house and we could call her up and say, “Martha, do you really want to do that? You can get sick from even touching a package of bread or a hanger that has been picked up by other people. Can you order delivery? We’ll reimburse you.” Of course, I realize now this isn’t going to keep her from getting the virus. She could get it from the food delivery people. But it might prevent her from going out and being exposed to 40 people vs. the handful of employees at a local restaurant. I wouldn’t prevent anyone from going out but I would provide the handholding in situations like this. I would also want businesses staying open and people getting it NOW who are not at risk of getting seriously ill or dying.

          I think closing down places like restaurants and bars is a panacea that #1 won’t work to any measurable degree due to human nature (if you feel good, you’re going to go out) and #2 has disastrous financial consequences. If we paid even a fraction of the money we’re going to lose during this crisis (by shutting down commerce) and find ways to keep high risk people in and low risk people out, I think it would have worked so much better, in terms of slowing the progressions of the disease and reaching the plateau sooner. Closing down restaurants and bars is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. Young and healthy people are going to get it anyway. If you can let 90%+ of the population get it and recover, they’re not as likely to infect people at risk all at once. This would slow the progression of the disease so our healthcare system could handle it. But it’s too late now to think out of the box.

          At the very minimum, when this thing hit China they should have been preparing us for these extreme measures because frankly, I was shocked when governors all over the country started shutting things down. The media never used the word “exponentially” until now. The first time I heard this word (the concept, really) was on this blog from a guy who didn’t particularly like our cavalier attitude in the beginning. This prompted me to find out what was really going on. I’m not the stupidest person in the world. If I didn’t know, I’m guessing a lot of other people didn’t know. I am, however, very suspicious of authority so I don’t respond favorably when I’m confronted by extreme measures limiting my freedoms. They should have been more forthcoming so we would understand.

          • Agreed, Gail.  And we know you are quite intelligent. 
            I think, despite the national panic attack, that it’s going to be more like South Korea than Italy.  Bear in mind that Americans of all ages are more atomized than Italians.  We self isolate to an extent, virus or not.  And most families don’t have the Gram’s (ma and pa) in house.  
            And I’ve already got plans for my Kung Flu check . . .

            • George Michalopulos says

              Misha, excellent points. Americans are far more dispersed than Chinese. Even our largest cities are nowhere near as densely populated as Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, etc.

              Also, Italy has the largest cohort of 75< year old people in Europe.

              • GSV Death and Gravity says

                Clusters that do happen in rural America are going to be devastating due to lack of health infrastructure.
                America has dense concentration of vulnerable seniors at facilities with underpaid caretakers working multiple jobs to make ends meet. America is not going the way of South Korea:

              • It may have peaked last month, undetected as Influenza Like Illness (ILI):
                ILI spiked after the first reported case from China and there was a lot of traffic until the ban took effect.  This article also confirms that the data we’ve been getting re exposures is garbage.  The virus may have spread before we were really even on guard.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  We don’t know what’s happening. How much do you want to bet that at the end of all this, after they’ve successfully shaped our behavior to respond to fear based strategies and driven commerce into the toilet, they pat themselves on the back and say, “See? We fixed it!”

                  • Meanwhile, Gail, as lovely and comforting as Archimandrite Zacharias was, there is another Orthodox perspective to consider, expressed by Met. Athanasius of Limassol (“Fr Maximos” in the The Mountain of Silence) which to me personally is closest of all to our beloved Tradition:
                    (And perhaps we in the West are simply not immersed and inured enough to manage it?):

                    From the priest who sent and translated the message: And here are the words of a Shepherd of souls in Cyprus, said yesterday to his flock. GOD GRANT HIM MANY YEARS:

                    “We will face off this epidemic with prayer and repentance! The churches will stay open because they are the clinics of God! Worship will not stop!”

                    Metropolitan of Lemessos Athanasios

                    (Have photo with original Greek beneath, but no tech talent to attach it!)

            • Gail Sheppard says

              “Kung Flu”. . . Too funny!

          • Gail,
            the word “exponential” is a technical/mathematical one and indeed it correctly describes the steep/accelerating growth of the number of cases for the last three weeks or so. It is really amazing how the Chinese managed to “tame” it.

          • Steven J. M. says

            “I am, however, very suspicious of authority so I don’t respond favorably when I’m confronted by extreme measures limiting my freedoms.”
            Same here. In that regard, below is a video of what’s easily the best summary I’ve seen on why those suspicions are warranted. Talks about impending medical marshall law. Goes for about an hour. 

          • Michael Bauman says

            Gail, while I can understand your suspicion of authority (how American) and share it to some extent, I have to ask: Where does obedience come into play?

            I think such a discussion if important right now and would assist us all in getting through the whole thing in better shape.

            When I was in high school I acted in the play “Caesar and Cleopatra” by George Bernard Shaw. I played the character Britannus the British slave to Caesar. At the end of the play Caesar offers to give Britannus his freedom. Britannus declines by saying: “Only as Caesar’s slave have I known true freedom” I have been pondering that statement ever since. One thing to read it, quite another to speak it. The other line in my high school drama career was from the play The Diary of Anne Frank. At the end that play, a line from the actual diary is read: “In spite of everything, I still think men are good at heart” A key part of the play was that the faith of Anne’s father Otto and the celebration of payers in the attic was what kept them living as long as it did. The others were obedient to Otto. Ultimately, only Otto survived the concentration camps. In my opinion(having the privilege of playing him) that was largely because he had the deepest faith and was obedient to it even in extremis.

            Thus I have had the question of obedience and freedom before me most of my life.

            Obedience is a key Christian virtue. Suspicion is not.

            My conclusion so far is that freedom flows only from obedience, never from revolt. However, it is not easy to practice in the face of obvious wrongs.

            • Gail Michalopulos says

              For me, it isn’t so much about obedience because I will comply but I tend to challenge authority when I believe they’re wrong.

              • George Michalopulos says

                In times like this “challenging authority” is necessary for proper discernment.

                Check this out:

                • Gail Michalopulos says

                  Well, in fairness to the Chinese, the CDC wasn’t prepared to help the United States when this thing hit! Instead of worrying about the Chinese, maybe they should have gotten those test kits out to make sure they were in good working order!

                  In January, the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged the Chinese Government was cracking down on the release of information, but they also said they continued to have a good working relationship with key individuals who were responsible for containing the virus because they had trained them!

                  It’s also interesting to note that the WHO has been critical of going directly to the draconian measures we’re seeing today in the United States. They say we should be getting more numbers to determine the mode of transmission. Until we do that, they’re not confident we know how to break the chain. Not unlike the CDC, the WHO has been critical of the United States for not coming to them for advice on how to handle this thing. They think we’re relying too much on the opinions of individual scientists.

                  It may all come down to genetics. There was a single family in New Jersey that lost 4 family members to the virus and now 4 others are sick.

                  • Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster says

                    Gail, please do not get me started about the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO)–or being “fair” to the Communist Chinese authorities.

                    I refer readers to my latest article in Touchstone Magazine regarding the pernicious influence of the WHO’s radical left-wing socialist anti-parent agenda on pediatricians in the US and elsewhere. Here’s a direct link to that article titled, “Do You Know Your Child’s Doctor? The Politicization of Pediatrics in America”:

                    • Gail Michalopulos says

                      Should have prefaced my statement with “EVEN the WHO. . .” They trained these people in China.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Obedience requires saying no to what is wrong and is more than just compliance. In either case, my spirit has to be right. Not always easy to do and there is no guarantee of a proper outcome.

  2. Let me add one more to the list…
    9) Keep our Churches open and commune the faithful by any means necessary 

    • Thank God you are not in charge of anything 

      • Greg,
        Maybe we could incentivize receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with an early vaccine voucher from the CDC. They probably know a little more than Christ this time around. It is also wise to listen to all of our leaders who have been for population control, abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide. They have your best interest at heart. Save us secular leaders, save us. I’m going to watch another moon landing video now. Greatest nation on earth. Hope this doesn’t slow the opium trade from Afghanistan. Don’t worry – they would warn us about that too if it was true.

        • Johann Sebastian says

          I’m sorry, but no one knows more than Christ.
          However, I would listen to sound medical advice over that of any clergyman (in matters of a medical nature) unless that clergyman is also trained in conventional medicine.
          A true miracle would be to see the so-called “greatest nation on Earth” stop kissing China’s ass once this has all passed.

    • Alitheia 1875 says

      Metropolitan Methodios of Boston has ordered all parishes in New England to close.

    • TheFutureOfTheChurch says

      Excellent idea if you want to contribute to the exponential growth of this virus. I live in one of the Bay Area counties in California where we have been ordered to “shelter in place”. Part of this includes the governor’s recommendation for bars and restaurants to close, however, I noticed yesterday as I drove to the grocery store, that many restaurants were still open. Are Americans not willing to change their lifestyle at all in a crisis?

      • TheFutureOfTheChurch,
        “Excellent idea if you want to contribute to the exponential growth of this virus”.
        That refers to LonelyDn’s
        “Keep our Churches open and commune the faithful…”

        Fair enough, I appreciate the logic and kinda think likewise, BUT, I see a problem or flaw:
        Considering that you may go to big grocery stores during the week,
        and walk there among all kinds of exotic customers,
        do you think that you take a very big additional exponentional risk in church on Sunday, the Lord’s Day?
        Also, what about the factor God in church. Does God not protect us there at all?
        What about Christ’s word’s
        “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father”.(Matth.10,29)

        To put it in other terms,
        Which is more important to visit, the grocery store or the church?
        The immediate answer is “The grocery store, because it has food”
        The objection is, “The church has spiritual food, holy communion etc”.
        Thousands (if not millions) of priest*years in the history of Orthodoxy prove that Holy Communion is literally Holy and not contagious.
        Just thinking….

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          What happens to Holy Communion when, if by reason of neglect or inadvertence, it is not consumed fully? According to the priests I know, it is subject to the usual decay. It must, of course, be consumed by a priest nonetheless.
          It is not protected in some way from the expected natural processes.
          Am I wrong about this?

          • Tim,
            No, I am not saying that you are wrong about your statement.
            What I AM saying is that there are MANY KNOWN cases of priests who, not just once but for many years(!)  gave the Holy Communion to whole groups of seriously ill people and always subsequently ate/drank the remainder in the chalice. And the priests and other healthy people in the congregation did not get infected. 

            Our Lord knew very well about diseases in this life, and indeed he cured all sorts of diseases with his word (He didn’t use the aid of the Roman Health Service!).  He understood infection, Yet he told us to use ONE cup for the Holy communion:
            “And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins”.

            Compare it with the Epistles:
            The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?”

            “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”

            To me first and to all of us the Lord says:
            “He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me”.

            And even today(!) He brings to us a real case of a priest whom many people have known:

            Hieromonk Chrysanthos Katsoulogiannakis (1893-1972) served as the lepers’ priest for 10 years, receiving communion from the same chalice and staying healthy:
            More info (in Greek) about the priest and his identity card:


            Ioannis says
            March 9, 2020 at 7:34 am

            The (lepers’ ) Island – Various Scenes with English sub-titles:


            • Excellent!!!  Yes, now we see who actually believes in “some guy up there” and who is just going thru the notions’ motions.  Neither atheism nor nebulous projection serves one well in the trenches.
              Is He literally real or not?  “As for me and my house . . .”

          • Tim,
            As all priests know from personal experience…
            Every year on Holy Thursday, the reserved Sacrament (housed in the Tabernacle on the altar) is consumed by the priest (or a deacon), often having been left there for many months (up to a full year), depending on how many, if any, of the sick have required it throughout the year.  It is then replaced by a new Lamb consecrated on the same day.
            My priest tells me it never gets moldy, etc., as one might otherwise expect in the purely natural realm.   And it certainly doesn’t make them sick.
            Having said this, I do not think it is the Eucharist that is of concern to truly believing bishops when it come to this virus.  The ones I know have specifically stated otherwise.  It’s all the other personal contact inherent in gathering together that motivates their directives. 

            • Antiochene Son says

              I have received from the reserved sacrament before in which I could taste mold. I don’t think the belief is that the Eucharist cannot be corrupted, but that corruption will not cause harm. (if it is God’s will; the Eucharist can also make people sick and die if they receive it unto judgment) 

              • Never received from the reserved myself.  Just reporting what my priest (actually two of them) have told me.
                One thing I will say, though.  Like the Flesh and Blood of Christ (which was fully human and thus fully ‘natural,’ though not merely natural, being united with His Divinity), it retains the  natural properties of bread and wine.  It is not immune from causing reactions in people who have severe gluten allergies. I have a relative (a priest’s wife no less) who knows this from personal experience, having tried over and over again after being told repeatedly (by some priests) that she must ‘believe’ otherwise.  The more understanding ones who know her give her only the Blood (with their bishop’s blessing), but sometimes it’s been an issue for her when traveling.
                There are priests who absolutely insist that is is no longer bread and wine and thus refuse to accommodate her.  I know they mean well (and not knowing her, they probably assume she has no faith).  But having pondered this often because of her somewhat unique situation, they seem (to me) to be unwittingly in error about the Incarnation, as well as about His glorified Body in the Resurrection.  After all, He never ceased to be fully man (“Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”).

                • Antiochene Son says

                  I have also read accounts of people with not just gluten allergies, but full-on celiac disease communing without any ill effects.
                  I would tend to agree with those who insist on communing under both species, but who knows. This is a good video on the topic:

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  To me the whole discussion seems odd. Of course it retains the physical properties of bread and wine. How could it be otherwise? If otherwise, the truth of the Faith could be demonstrated empirically and observationally; that is to say, scientifically.
                  But science requires falsifiability, which is impossible to a believer.

                  It reminds me of the discussions decades ago about the Shroud of Turin, before it was finally subject to analysis. (Note, this is an illustration, not a foray into Roman Catholicism.) Was it genuine? The answer was always that it could not possibly be. Analysis was certain to prove that it was not.

            • Fr. John Chagnon says

              As a Priest I have never experiences the reserved sacrament grow moldy. Before it is placed in the Tabernacle it is usually cut into small pieces and then “toasted,” for lack of a better word, in a hot pan. It would be a very odd occurrence, as well,  for moisture to get into the Tabernacle since it is usually placed far away from any source of water in the Sanctuary. That being said I’ve probably consumed somewhere between 500 and a 1000 chalices in my time as a Deacon and Priest and I’ve never had any kind of sickness linked to the chalice. That being said we are following the directives of our Bishops in this matter and limiting our services to Priests and chanters. If needed, though, I will distribute the Holy Gifts to any person who is ill and in peril and do the ablutions. That’s what Priests do.

        • TheFutureOfTheChurch says

          In an emergency situation I have to obtain food and water or I will eventually suffer physical death. I would like to go to church services in person but I can do without that for some time. I can pray at home and I can even attend church services online (though I realize it’s not the same). Other countries have already gone through what we are just starting to go through here. Their advice is that we practice extreme social distancing now rather than later to reduce the number of infected people. Unfortunately, that includes no gathering in person for church. I’m talking about spreading the virus just by being in contact with other people. Actually, the way it is where I live, we would be violating the “shelter in place” order by congregating in church. I too have faith in God but do you think we should disobey a public health order or does faith also call Christians to follow the orders of civil authorities? To me, it is a small sacrifice to limit the spread of the virus and protect the lives of others.

          • TheFutureOfTheChurch,
            “I too have faith in God but do you think we should disobey a public health order or does faith also call Christians to follow the orders of civil authorities?”
            Ok. I’ll make it very easy.
            Please reply with all your honesty:
            Suppose you lived in the first year of the Church. You and the Apostles and the other people are going to gather to celebrate the Holly Communion as done by Christ a few months ago (Last Supper).
            Then one of the people shouts:
            “Brethren we can not do it. The Romans have just passed a law that it is dangerous and forbidden for many people to drink from one cup.”
            Now please, you tell me, what would you do then,  
            “…do you think you should disobey a public health order or does faith also call Christians to follow the orders of civil authorities?”

            At the end of the day there are two alternatives:

            The way of science
            The way of God

            If we follow the way of “science”, then there is no God etc, but Evolution and the rest of it.
            But to prove how reliable Science is, read this:

            A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data.

            Please read my reply to Tim above.

            • TheFutureOfTheChurch says

              I don’t see see science and the church as opposing forces. I believe that God provides people with scientific knowledge as a gift to be used for the benefit of mankind. If we are diagnosed with cancer should we refuse medical treatment and just pray for healing or can the medical treatment be viewed as something that comes from God? If the government passes laws that require me to deny my Christian beliefs I will oppose them but I don’t think a temporary ban on congregating in church to reduce the spread of an infectious disease that is killing people is requiring me to deny any fundamental Christian beliefs. I also believe my temporary efforts to slow the exponential growth of the virus is as an act of love toward my neighbor. 

              • TheFutureOfTheChurch,
                I am not intelligent enough to understand what your crystal-clear reply is about the Roman law against drinking from one cup.
                Such is life. Let’s move on, you write:

                ” If we are diagnosed with cancer should we refuse medical treatment and just pray for healing or can the medical treatment be viewed as something that comes from God?”

                As Holy John Chrysostom says, it is not a question of “either or”. The answer is “both”. We shall let the doctors do their job and we shall ask God for his help too, e.g. via the Holy Unction.
                But talking about cancer and doctors, please bear in mind that handling of cancer has changed in the last 50 years or so and up to now. Doctors may now do completely different things than they did before (in some cases).

                Please do the following experiment:
                Try to find two cancer specialist doctors, one a devout Orthodox, the other an atheist.
                Ask them the same questions in each case.
                You will note important differences.
                In my experience the Faithful one will be very humble and he will confess to you that doctors do not know everything, indeed they know very little. So much about science.
                Please read:

                Limitations of Science Kindle Edition

                by J. W. N. Sullivan 

            • Peter Howe says

              It seems to me that the early Martyrs of the Church absolutely obeyed the Law of God that forbade them from “offering a pinch of incense to Caesar”, while at the same time honorably and obediently enduring  civil punishment at the hand of the Roman authority [i.e., death] for the Martyrs’ violation of Roman law – according to the judgment of the Roman civil authorities – albeit not of God’s Law, according to the words of the Lawgiver Himself. 
              I remember reading that, so conscious were the Early Christians of keeping with all due diligence the laws of the state except that they might infringe upon the Law of God, this honorable law-keeping was exemplified as follows in the following Hagiographical account:
              While a group of potential martyrs were on their way to martyrdom at the hand of the Roman authorities, one of the Christians took the time to deface a mural portrait of the Roman Emperor. For that act of unwarranted civil disobedience alone, his name was not commemorated by the Church among the group of martyrs that died day, although I believe it was recorded that he nevertheless did die that day at the hand of the Roman authority – albeit without concomitantly being commemorated by the Church with the rest of the selfsame group of Martyrs as a Saint. 
              So, yes: I believe it is a case of “both/and”, even in this case. 
              However, when the legal civil authority begins to single out uniquely the Orthodox Church for legal state-sanctioned persecution while leaving the rest of the populace exempt from such persecution, then the Orthodox Church in America [i.e., every Orthodox Church in America] may very well have to move to the Catacombs at that point. 
              It might behoove us at that point, should we be forced to go underground, to steer clear of the massive underground bunkers that arguably already exist in vast quantities in underground America – the ones that, according to some, have been built to house the Elite/Illuminati, who may very well also need to seek shelter once that proverbial mass of solid fecal matter hits the axial box fan, sometime in the future. 
              That last paragraph above was a joke. 
              Just FYI.

      • George Michalopulos says

        TFotC, with all due respect, Gail and I went to our local market the other day and as we pulled up, she commented on all the people that were swarming out of the front door with their groceries. I realize that groceries are a necessity (that’s why we were there) but doesn’t it strike you as ironic just a little bit?

        • TheFutureOfTheChurch says

          Sure, I see the irony and I’m not denying that coronavirus is causing hysteria and panic but at the same time I don’t think it is a situation that should be taken lightly. We have examples of the outcome when that approach is taken (e.g., Italy). At some grocery stores here they are limiting the number of people in the store at the same time and limiting the purchase of some items to stop panic buying. Are the measures being taken to stop the virus overbearing? Maybe, I’m not sure. I’m not a medical expert. But isn’t it better to now err on the side of caution until we see how things proceed?

    • The hospitals, which treat our physical ailments, are open. The Churches, which treat our spiritual ailments unto salvation, are closed.
      What’s wrong with this picture?

    • Antiochene Son says

      Elder Zacharias has some encouraging words for the worldwide church closures:

  3. Michael Bauman says

    Many of the people with co-morbidities already know they have them and are treating them to one degree or another. They should be able to score themselves or be scored through a health history questionnaire. That would eliminate the testing and save money which could be used as a higher incentive for those who already know and are treating for any of the co-morbidities.

    Also, there was some early information that some people were getting re-infected. Is there any documentation on that possible wrinkle that you have seen.

    Also, some similar info that suggested that the asymptomatic people could become carriers for an extended period of time beyond those who showed symptoms. Anything on that?

    The worst problem in your plan is the folks who are infected and die after being exposed by following the plan. What of them?

    • Martin Ross says

      A good start by the Russian Orthodox Church. 
      I am glad to see that they have the sense to know that it takes more than one’s personal faith to preserve public health. A little worldly wisdom is needed, too.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Overall, quite reasonable.

  4. Monk James Silver says

    Encouraging young adults with low comorbidity indexes to circulate freely in the general population might not be a good idea.
    The bare fact that these people are less likely to die of COVID-19 or be hospitalized in no way suggests that —  for that fact alone — they  might NOT also be asymptomatic carriers of the virus.
    There must be other, more stringent criteria defined and applied before any such general policy is adopted.  In the meantime, it appears that maintaining reasonable physical distances between people, avoiding crowds and any public gatherings, and staying at home except for urgent errands is the best course we can take at the moment.
    And shame on any miscreants who try to turn this plague to their financial or political advantage.
    May the Wisdom, Word, and Power of God, Christ our Lord Himself, grant us and our civil authorities and bishops the prudence to know what is good and right to do, and heal us all in soul and body.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      The thing is, Father James, they’re going to get it anyway. We cannot prevent it. We could slow down hospital admissions if those at minimal risk get it first and we wait for them to recover, reducing the number of people walking around who could get the high risk people sick.

      • Monk James Silver says

        Dear Gail, the statistics released just last night about hospitalization for COVID-19 indicate that about 20% of American patients requiring admission are in the age group of 20 – 40;  the percentage is a bit higher in Europe. 
        Epidemiologists expect that the proportion of that age group among hospitalized patients will increase sharply because that particular demographic seems unwilling to believe the recommendations of civil authorities, urging them  not to gather in groups of their age-mates and not to get too close to the elder people of their acquaintance.
        As a result, I stand by my earlier position, and I hope that you will reconsider yours, which  may lead people into harmful patterns of behavior.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Father, I think you owe me an apology. I wasn’t recommending anything which would lead people into harmful patterns of behavior, unless you think there was a serious risk of the CDC implementing my recommendations.

          The epidemiologists you are referring to have reversed themselves, daily. First, they said the virus came from eating bats and other exoctic things. Then, they said the virus could jump from person to person. Just a few weeks ago, the CDC wasn’t even calling it a pandemic and recommended washing your hands more frequently.

          Then it became all about halting the spread of the disease which they now believe is impossible. Then it became about the number of cases and how they were increasing “exponentially.” About the same time, they were saying the elderly were at greater risk. Then, it was the elderly with certain comorbidities. Then, it the concern was the limitations of healthcare resources in terms of beds and ventilators and how the system could collapse if everyone got sick at the same time. Then, it was about “slowing the progression” of the disease so we wouldn’t overwhelm our healthcare system.

          That’s when I told George what I would have done if I were the CDC to slow the progression of the disease. I made no recommendations that would “lead people to harmful patterns of behavior.”

          I talked with a friend of mine who has to take handfuls of immunosuppressant drugs and she told me various groups are having parties outside her complex. My own daughter, who is an account rep for a national beer company in So CAL said she is now unable to work from home because beer is flying off the shelves and she has to replace it. The reason she is replacing it is because her company didn’t want the people who normally stock the shelves to be in stores where they would be at risk. They didn’t anticipate the sale of beer skyrocketing, as a result of the government shutting down all the restaurants and bars. If they think this is going to stop younger people from partying, they are wrong. They’re going to party at home and when they get tired of being at home, they’ll go out and meet in public.

          If you don’t think I have sympathy for people my own daughter’s age, you’d be wrong. But my recommendations weren’t based on sympathy for any particular group. My recommendations were to offer incentives to keep certain people home, at certain times, to slow the progression of the virus. We’re all going to be exposed to this thing. Whoever is the most at risk would be encouraged to stay home and released into the population as soon as those less at risk cycle through the virus. My position hasn’t changed. The elderly are STILL most likely to end up in the hospital and overwhelm our healthcare system.

          The only thing I have ever recommended people do, as in people who read the blog, is to get that 24 hour hand sanitizer and I still recommend it.

          • GSV Death and Gravity says

            Epidemiologists have not been “reversing themselves daily.” That it was an outbreak started by a species jump that turned out to be human-human transmissible was known in the early going.
            Pandemic is a technical term, the reason the CDC wasn’t calling it a pandemic a few weeks ago is because it wasn’t. Yet.
            A containment strategy turned out to be futile, but it was always going to be the first strategy. A lack of testing and proper screening capabilities doomed it in the United States. The touted ‘early travel bans’ were kind of meaningless when infected Americans could still return home. But that’s the magical thinking of xenophobia.
            People were talking about “bending the curve” weeks ago. It isn’t that there wasn’t good analysis and expert provided information available to you. It was that you trusted the White House and a right-wing news ecosystem. And they burned you.
            Some people here are still denying a virus tsunami is about the sweep over the country even though we are at the point where you can metaphorically see it now.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              The first case was November 17, 2019. At the end of December 2019, authorities still believed the virus stemmed from something sold at a wet market in the city. It wasn’t until Jan. 20, researches reported in the journal, The Lancet, that it jumped from person to person.

              A few weeks ago, it had since spread to multiple continents, including ours. The CDC was way behind the curve.

              Your xenophobe comment is blatantly ridiculous. OF COURSE, you would shut down travel to the place of origin. What would you expect Trump to say? “We love the folks in China so much, we’re going to allow you to visit them and risk your health, bringing home a deadly virus that might just kill you and your family, cripple our economy, and and put 100% of our population at risk, because THAT’S how much we love China!”

              No one said there wasn’t “good analysis and expert information.” We’ve gotten that 24/7. Unfortunately, a lot of it was incorrect and may still be incorrect.

              They may have been talking about flattening the curve weeks ago, but they haven’t done it.

              How would YOU know whom I trusted? Frankly, you are woefully misinformed.

              No one has denied anything.


          • Monk James Silver says

            Dear Gail, in your essay you wrote:  
            ‘5)  Program A:  Incentivize people with lower scores to circulate in the population.  For example, if someone is “1” or a “2,” e.g. under 50 with no comorbidities known to be associated with mortality from the virus, they would be eligible for vouchers to travel in the United States, stay in hotels and eat in restaurants.  Rebates on practically anything they could buy could be exchanged for other goods or used to offset their state tax burden.  Cities would be incentivized to organize concerts and festivals.  Students and employees, with perfect attendance at their schools or jobs, would be rewarded.  Encourage low risk people (those least likely to end up in the hospital) to circulate in the population so they can get the virus immediately, thus eliminating them as potential carriers down the road.’
            I disagree with you profoundly here, and you are at considerable variance from nearly every epidemiological recommendation.  Rather than apologize for my disagreement with you, I once again urge you  to reconsider your words.
            At a bare minimum, you can see that any move by the CDC to ‘(i)ncentivize people with lower scores to circulate in the population’ fails to take into account the fact that some of those ‘people with lower scores’  may be infected yet asymptomatic, and that if they ‘circulate in the population’  —  a group not defined here —  they may well infect others whose comorbidities (documented or not) might cause them to become seriously ill, hospitalized, or even die of their contracting COVID-19.
            Altogether, your suggestion strikes me as unhelpful, even dangerous, and I continue to urge you to reconsider it or withdraw it completely.
            BTW:  It is a deeply offensive concept that the government (or anyone else) should attempt to assure conformity to whatever plan by  offering ‘incentives’.  Accurate and factual education —  not bribes — should inspire constructive behavior.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              I am aware that what I wrote bothers you. If we pulled everything someone had a problem with, there wouldn’t be a blog. George and I believe what I wrote has merit, which is why it’s out there. If nothing else, it generates discussion.

              You say, “you [meaning me] are at considerable variance from nearly every epidemiological recommendation”. When I wrote it, there WERE no epidemiological recommendations other than washing your hands and staying inside as much as possible. Epidemiologists aren’t the ones making the decisions. It’s people like CA Governor Gavin Newsom.

              It doesn’t matter that some ‘people with lower scores’ may be infected yet asymptomatic, if everyone is going to get it. The question becomes how do we orchestrate this so we can better ensure that those who wind up in the hospital have the beds and ventilators they need. To do that, we have to pace this and control who is infected and when. It’s my experience that people respond much better to what we ask them to do when they get a paycheck for their troubles.

              If it is “deeply offensive” for you to wrap your brain around the concept of the government (or anyone else) offering incentives, then may I suggest to you to stop thinking about it. I can’t make you feel better about an idea. It reminds me of the story of the man who went to see his doctor. He raises his arm into the air and says, “Doc, it hurts when I do that.” His doctor replies, “Then don’t do that.”

              I continue to believe that incentives, especially now when they’ve made it impossible for businesses to stay afloat, is worth considering. My plan is infinitely better than the draconian measures we’re seeing today that will cost this country billions of dollars and be responsible for the deaths of those people who cannot get access to medical care. When we get to the point where the powers-that-be at the state level are satisfied they can release people back into the population and open businesses again, all the people who presumably have been protected by staying at home, will get sick the minute they start circulating in the population again. People continue to be carriers. For how long? No one knows. At that point, our healthcare system will be overburdened again. We may have to repeat the cycle multiple times and by the time all is said and done, the economy will be in the tank. It already is.

              It will be interesting to see what happens when Korea gets back to “business as usual.” To be safe, they would have to test every one they release into the population to ensure they are not contagious. Releasing even one or two infected people could start the whole thing all over again.

    • Social distancing? Read Edgar Allen Poe. In: “The Masque of the Red Death”.
      Social distancing did not work too well. Even stone walls did not keep it out.
      Social distancing is not (and is not intended to be) a preventative.
      It merely slows the spread to allow a measured (not panic) response.
      Unfortunately, in today’s political climate, panic is de rigeur.

  5. The medical “advice” being provided here is reckless and irresponsible. Who is this Gail? She is not a doctor or nurse.  George has no medical background. Listen to them at your own risk. Better yet, listen to a doctor, not these two. 

    • I believe George is a pharmacist if I got that right…

      • Gail Sheppard says

        George is a Doctor of Pharmacy in good standing since 1984. I’m a Healthcare Consultant. Together, we have 75 years of experience in healthcare. Guess Chris isn’t a fan of researching things on-line.

    • Ah, the voice of chauvinistic pseudo-professional cliquism.
      Well, the doctors in South Korea and those in Italy differed a bit as to their approaches, no? 
      As a member of one of the learned professions (law), I can say, God forbid we fall into the hands of any professional class.  Politics and groupthink dominate therein and leave “what works” out to dry.

  6. Gail and George,
    As Christians in our modern world, a podcast that I listened to years ago — it was Fr Thomas Hopko’s podcast on Thanksgiving from 2009 or 2010, I think — has deep relevance in these days.  
    True Christians — which we all strive to be — must be thankful to God for *everything*, not only for those things in life that we like.  I’m not trying to be cute.  This is serious. 
    I struggle with this concept, just like everyone.  But the fact of the matter is that even with this coronavirus breakout — whether this “2020 pestilence” ends up in 20/20 hindsight being deeply significant or not much of a big deal (I honestly don’t know which it will be — clearly, the elderly and immunocompromised can die from it, but whether this is a novel phenomenon or ends up not any more severe than H1N1 or a severe flu, I don’t know) — serious Christians must struggle during these times, as always, to remain thankful to God.
    I think it would be great for Orthodox Christians to post here things that we are thankful to God for, or facets of our lives that we have become more aware to be thankful to God for, during this pandemic.  Perhaps George and Gail want to start a new thread on this subject?  That’s their choice.  To start, here are some things I am thankful to God for, even with this pandemic:

    –A real increased sense of community and people looking out for each other, at least in my neighborhood.  I’ve spoken with my street neighbors more in the past week than during the past year, probably.  Children (in small groups) are playing in our neighborhood playground more than ever before.

    –I hug and kiss my wife and children with increased tenderness these days, as this event makes us me far more aware of the preciousness and value of our loving relationships and of every human life.

    –This event will likely kill “globalism” or will set the secular globalism movement back decades.  For those of us who are not secular globalists, this is a wonderful thing.

    –In many states where the schools are closed, this event is forcing all Americans to be less reliant on secular/atheistic American public schools.  Yes, our lives are challenging right now, but the less we have to rely on the secular public school system, in my opinion, the better.

    –When we are reminded of our own mortality and death, we naturally think of God more.  Prayer has taken a much stronger tone for me over the past week or so.  God’s presence seems everywhere.

    –Adding on to the one above, we as a society are learning (whether we want to or not) to be more reliant on Christ and God.  Obviously many in our secular culture hate the entire concept of relying on God, but growing closer to God and relying on Him is always a good thing.

    –A frivolous thing to be thankful for, but yes:  I am loving the fact that there is barely any traffic on the streets when driving to and from work/supermarkets, etc.

    –The diligence and fearlessness of our clergy.  Our clergy continue to serve liturgy and to commune those at home, without thought or question as to whether the person may be infected.  This complete trust in Christ and God is beyond moving and more of a witness to the faith than anything I can think of.

    As I read in a church bulletin recently, this “2020 pestilence” is giving many of us not the Great Lent that we want, but Christ is giving us the Great Lent that He wants us to have this year.  Please add to the list what we Orthodox Christians are thankful to God for during these times!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      This is lovely, FTS.

      • George Michalopulos says

        FTS, I completely second Gail’s opinion of your powerful essay. Like you, I am grateful for many things because of this. Perhaps Gail and I will start a post, a lot of which incorporates your insights. (I share many of them.)

        But you hit the nail on the head with this assertion (which I am paraphrasing): “this pestilence is not giving us the Great Lent we want, but Christ is giving us the Great Lent that we need”.


    • Amen!  Well said, FTS.

  7. George Michalopulos says

    Here’s first-hand testimony from someone who actually suffered from the corona virus:

  8. Also from the Seattle Times: Younger Adults Comprise Bit Portion of Coronavirus Hospitalizations (Intensive Care)
    Also 40 year old US ER doc dies treating the illness and vast numbers of caregivers overseas, indicating quite infectious.  
    A tricky critter and yet to be determined what it actually is or how it originated much less how it will act in an individual…A lot of respect for the unknown (humility) and compassion for all seems in order for Lent and for this entity…
    From the Medscape Coronavirus Resource Page: Alert:
    A review of more than 4,000 U.S. patients who were diagnosed with novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) shows an unexpected 20% of those hospitalized, and 20% of those who died of the infection, were aged 20-44 years.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      The CDC reported this yesterday:

      Early data from China suggest that a majority of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) deaths have occurred among adults aged ≥60 years and among persons with serious underlying health conditions.

      What is added by this report?

      This first preliminary description of outcomes among patients with COVID-19 in the United States indicates that fatality was highest in persons aged ≥85, ranging from 10% to 27%, followed by 3% to 11% among persons aged 65–84 years, 1% to 3% among persons aged 55-64 years, <1% among persons aged 20–54 years, and no fatalities among persons aged ≤19 years.

      Again, the “experts” aren’t lining up. How are we supposed to know what to believe? If Medscape is correct (it’s the source physicians go to), this is further indication that the CDC is behind the curve.

  9. Michael Bauman says

    In the midst of all the mess, one hymn kept coming to me again and again today. A European hymn. One aspect of European Christian hymns I really like is the martial character of some. This one especially
    Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee
    God of glory, Lord of love
    Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee
    Op’ning to the Sun above
    Melt the clouds of sin and sadness
    drive the dark of doubt away
    Giver of immortal gladness
    fill us with the light of day

    All Thy works with joy surround Thee
    Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays
    Stars and angels sing around Thee
    center of unbroken praise
    Field and forest, vale and mountain
    Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea
    chanting[5] bird and flowing fountain
    call us to rejoice in Thee

    Thou art giving and forgiving
    ever blessing, ever blest
    well-spring of the joy of living
    ocean-depth of happy rest
    Thou the[6] Father, Christ our Brother—
    all who live in love are Thine
    Teach us how to love each other
    lift us to the Joy Divine

    Mortals join the mighty[7] chorus
    which the morning stars began
    Father-love[8] is reigning o’er us
    brother-love binds man to man.[9]
    Ever singing, march we onward
    victors in the midst of strife
    joyful music lifts us sunward

    in the triumph song of life

    Only properly appreciate if sung outside at the top of one’s lungs with Beethoven’s melody of course.

    Glory to God

    • Love that one, too, Michael.  Today, as I was working from home and wondering how I was going to be able to retire, I found myself singing a spiritual song we used to sing…adapted from the prophet Habakkuk.
      “Though the Fig tree should not bloom
      And though the vines be as empty looms
      Though the Olive tree should fail
      And fields produce no fruit
      Thought he flock be skin and bone
      Though no more cattle graze and room
      Though the Buzzard and the crow are fat ans fields are dry
      Yet I will exalt the Lord
      I will rejoice and lift my soul
      To Him who is the Living Word
      Who sustains my life
      My salvation and my strength
      Though men grow weary
      Though they faint
      I’ll wait for Him; for Him I’ll wait
      And on eagle’s wings rise”
      Our God is with us!

      • The evil one and his demons are testing us. It is not a coincidence this comes during Great Lent. By  Pascha we will be in the “eye of the storm” with this virus. The fight is not only against the evil one, but the evil eye of globalist who wish to control us. So far we have shown globalists we are quiet willing sheep to a slaughter. 
        China a nation with over a billion people, of which only three thousand have perished. Smokers in tight quarters, no less. 
        Only three thousand dead out of  over a billion people and now we must grind our nation to a complete halt in a free society and destroy not only our strong economy, but also our way of life forever? No protests, no demonstrations by the left, right, or even the usual suspects who riot at the drop of a hat? 
        Yesterday, with already rattled nerves I woke up to an earthquake,  and now a lock down because reasons

        • Gail Sheppard says

          A lot to handle all at once. We’re going into tornado season. Oh joy! 🙁

          • George Michalopulos says

            Now Dear, we have a perfectly fine hidy-hole. And anyway, tornadoes and Okies have a grudging respect for each other. You’ll get used to it.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              You all are like the dandelions that pop up through the asphalt on freeways; seemingly unaware that you could be flattened at any moment.

      • Michael Bauman says

        My wife knows a Cherokee “Hallelujah”.  Really neat song.  We need to sing songs of praise and joy.  Is that not what Christians have always done?  

        • George Michalopulos says

          I believe Rita Coolidge has a magnificent rendition of “Amazing Grace” in Cherokee. It’s mostly a capella at first then it carefully and melodiously incorporates bagpipes.

          Magnificent and uplifting. Listening to it makes life worth living.

  10. Paschalis says

    The government of Italy, as everyone knows, has locked down the whole country of 60 million people. So how many Italians have died from COV? Even by the standards of the useless and misleading diagnostic tests?
    As far as the Italian Higher Institute of Health knows, at this point:
    Maybe two.
    Try to wrap your mind around that.
    Good luck.
    Seems the president of the Italian Higher Institute has some smarts. He understands that people who already have other serious health conditions, which have nothing to do with COV, can and do die from those other conditions, regardless of the fact that they’ve tested positive (on useless tests) for COV. He gets it. I predict a great future for him. If he keeps shooting his mouth off, he might find himself working as a weed puller in a forest. Or he might suddenly be diagnosed with the virus and find himself in isolation.
    Grit your teeth and plow through this piece from Rome, 13 March 2020, Agenzia Nova: “Coronavirus: ISS [Italian National Institute of Health]: in Italy there are only two deaths ascertained so far due to Covid-19” (ItalianEnglish)
    “There may be only two people who died from coronavirus in Italy, who did not present other pathologies. This is what emerges from the medical records examined so far by the Higher Institute of Health, according to what was reported by the President of the Institute [Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Italian National Institute of Health], Silvio Brusaferro, during the press conference held today at the Civil Protection in Rome. ‘Positive deceased patients have an average of over 80 years – 80.3 to be exact…The majority of these people are carriers of chronic diseases. Only two people were not presently carriers of [other non-COV] diseases’, but even in these two cases, the examination of the files is not concluded and therefore, causes of death different from Covid-19 could emerge. The president of the ISS has specified that ‘little more than a hundred medical records’ have so far come from hospitals throughout Italy.”
    “…At present, in fact, the authorities are unable to distinguish those who died from the virus, from those who, on the other hand, are communicated daily to the public, but who were mostly carriers of other serious diseases and who, therefore, would not have died from Covid-19. In response to a question from ‘Agenzia Nova’, in fact, Brusaferro was unable to indicate the exact number of coronavirus deaths. However, the professor clarified that, according to the data analyzed, the vast majority of the victims ‘had serious [non-COV] pathologies and in some cases the onset of an infection of the respiratory tract can lead more easily to death.’ To clarify this point, and provide real data, ‘as we acquire the folders we will go further. However, the populations most at risk are fragile, carriers of multiple diseases’.”
    Translation into non-medical language: the people dying in Italy have other very serious traditional diseases that have nothing to do with COV, and it’s obvious they could have died, and probably did die, from those other diseases. Nevertheless, we’re locking down the whole country.
    So, for those people straining to find a reason for the “devastation” overtaking Italy—it’s karma for ancient Rome trying to conquer half the known world; it’s the ghost of Martin Luther obtaining revenge against the Vatican; it’s a bioweapon with the power to cut down millions of people overnight; it’s a virus that came in with a small meteor and crashed outside Milan; it’s Chinese revenge against Marco Polo for stealing the concept of noodles—
    Take a break, relax, have a plate of pasta, turn on the TV, and because all the stadiums are empty, watch a rerun of a soccer match from 1979.
    PS: For those people who believe this head of the Italian Institute is lying with his facts and figures, stop and think it through. He’s going to announce such devastating news that essentially contradicts everything the Italian government is doing with its lockdowns and quarantines of the whole country? It would be as if the director of the Centers for Disease Control announced, “There are a total of nine deaths in the US we think might have been caused by COV, and even there we’re not sure, because you see, these nine were elderly people who could barely get out of bed long before COV emerged. These nine had extremely serious lung disease NOT CAUSED, I repeat, NOT CAUSED by COV…but anyway, don’t go outside, work from home, don’t touch another human being, watch our website for bargain deals on toilet paper, and oh yes, don’t forget to get your regular flu shot if you can slip into a hazmat suit and drive at breakneck speed to your nearest pharmacy, where injection clerks are waiting…”

  11. Gail Sheppard says

    Death rate in U.S. went from 2% on 3/16/2020 to 1.4% 03/19/2020.

    Total cases: 10,442
    Total deaths: 150

    First deaths reported 2/29/2020. Almost 3 weeks into this.

    • Antiochene Son says

      Don’t we need to compare death rate to resolved cases, not total cases? Some amount of the 10,442 will die after all.
      And personally I think everyone is too fixated on the death rate. It’s not so much about the 2% or 0.2% who will die, it’s the 5% who require intensive care and the 12-15% who require hospitalization, which makes all healthcare impossible to manage.

  12. Gail did you see this old article on the way South Korea and Italy handled the outbreaks?  Very telling. South Korea would deal differently with our Spring Break revellers.
    Morbidity (acutely and chronically) is very damaging to hospital systems and suffering human beings.   And of course 1 percent death rate of half the US population would be tragic even if that seemingly small percentage is the case. COVID-19 Also apparently much more infectious than the flu. As one RN blogger asks, how many docs and nurses treating flu patients die from the flu vs those dying of COVID-29 from treating it presently? He says zero from the flu this season, whether true I knoweth not. Better to respect something until we understand it.

  13. George Michalopulos says

    Gail, et al: please take a look at this short, easy-to-understand piece for laymen by Gilad Atzmon:

    The upshot is that perhaps we are looking at the wrong places (i.e. China, Iran and Italy) and should look for countries where there has been an upshot in pneumonia within the last two years (Germany, Britain, Israel, America). In other words, COVID-19 is older than we think and that it has already ravaged some populations and that herd immunity has already kicked in in those latter countries.

    If true, then we should go to those countries and harvest antibodies from survivors and/or those who were exposed and didn’t suffer. This of course jibes with the hypothesis that the over-40 crowd in 1918 had acquired herd immunity because they were alive (and survived) the Russian flu of 1891. As mentioned, the over-40 cohort suffered disproportionately less than the under-30 cohort during that pandemic.

    We just weren’t looking for it.

    • GSV Death and Gravity says

      COVID-19 did not magically spread in advanced economies to the levels of conferring herd immunity levels of infected without causing a global pandemic like we are now seeing.
      All these pet theories that boil down to ‘maybe it won’t be so bad here’ are wishful thinking, don’t hold up to scrutiny now and will look only more ridiculous with every 24 hours that passes on the world stage.

      • George Michalopulos says

        How do you know that? We don’t even know what the denominator is. As things stand right now, the world totals for death/infection are 3.8% (6,525 dead/170,191). We have no idea how large the known denominator is. Neither do you.

        As far as Atzmon’s hypothesis, I would not belittle it right off the bat. Epidemiologists (like true scientists) are very humble about their conclusions and as such, are always open to revisiting existing hypotheses.

    • Antiochene Son says

      The word is that Germany is not counting comorbidities as COVID-19 deaths. So, if a person dies with COVID-19 and any other condition, it is not counted as COVID-19.
      That will partly explain Germany’s low death rate, if true.

  14. Antiochene Son says

    The Latin Church has effectively closed all public services through Easter.
    It pains me to no end, but I expect the Orthodox Church will see the same kind of instructions within 1-2 weeks.
    May the Lord give us grace to make the most of it.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Maybe we should look into the possibility of opening House Churches? Typika services are quite lovely. We could emerge from this pandemic with more established House Churches. I imagine we should consider getting a bishop’s blessing to do so but even so, it bears some serious thinking.

  15. Does anyone know if Met. Onouphry/Onuphry is celebrating with his flock?   
    I think about what Geronta Ephraim would counsel…Thank God he is praying for us!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I was able to find the following, interestingly, from the Catholic News Agency. It suggests that Metropolitan Onufry will, indeed, be celebrating with his flock, wherever he is. – People ask, “If you could spend time talking to one person, who would it be.” For me it would be two: Met. Athanasius of Limassol and Metropolitan Onufry.

      “Bishop Clement Vecherya, head of the press office of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), said that “Holy Communion is a manifestation of the Christian’s personal faith, which no one is forcing a person to. From the Holy Gifts, the believing person cannot become infected; moreover, in history, wonderful healing with help of the Holy Mysteries is known, but not infection”.

      He added that the UOC-MP would not adopt any other way of sharing Holy Communion than from the same chalice and spoon, so as not to reject the Orthodox Church’s two thousand years of pastoral experience.

      As an argument that the UOC-MP is honest with parishioners, Bishop Clement noted that during the Liturgy, the last person to receive Communion is a priest.

      “In addition to the coronavirus, there are other viral diseases in the world, so priests would simply not survive or would have difficult infectious diseases. But you see nothing like that”, Bishop Clement said.

      The bishop also said that the icons are carefully cleaned with disinfectants, even in normal times.

      • Oh Gail, how reassuring and wonderful!!!  Thank you so much for finding and sharing.  I too would love to be in the presence of those very two of all Orthodox on the planet I have not yet encountered.
        In case it is also a blessing and comfort to you, I am sharing a slightly different translation of St. Seraphim of Vyrista’s famous Spiritual Testament (with a few obvious capitalization errors, easily corrected in one’s mind) which supports Met. Athanasios’ call for prayer and repentance and helps me focus on me, the sinner our Physician needs to heal. See what you think:
        “This was from Me”:

        • Gail Sheppard says

          This literally brought tears to my eye, Nicole. Thank you! I feel I was anointed, just reading these words.

          May the rest of you have eyes to see and ears to hear when you read this special message and may it touch your heart, as it has just touched mine.

  16. Michael Bauman says

    George and Gail, this link was sent to me by a gentleman I met at the Eighth Day Symposium. Read it and see the incredible corruption of modern academia but at the same time the incredible need for real education in things other than STEM.

    All I can say is Wow!

  17. Michael Bauman says

    Miracles do happen: someone tried to break into my home earlier today. They did not succeed
    . Alarm apparently scared them off and possibly a dead bolt that was locked that could not be locked because the door was out of alignment with the frame. My wife swears that it was locked when she got home.