Tag Archives: Courage

Pondering A Virus

Already I feel a little bit silly spending almost a whole day pondering a virus. My research was completed rather quickly and can be by anyone a little bit savvy on the Internet. I feel there are much better uses of time. But since I’m into it, if it helps one person a little bit with their fear or faith, or looking at this objectively, I think it’s worth it.

First let me state my qualifications, which are few. I have a degree in mathematics from the University of Arkansas. However let me truthfully say that I feel more like an escapee than a graduate. That said with no false humility, I was exposed to statistics, many algorithms from algebra, geometry, calculus, number theory, and algebraic theory. So I’m mathematically ( the universal language ) inclined enough for simple deduction and reasoning, with statistical validity and error analysis skills, to look at this threat to humanity simply and objectively, by the numbers.

I’m using the KISS principle if you will, (Keep It Simple Stupid), which suits me and most of humankind I believe.


“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.” Confucius

Solomon said 500 years earlier that,”The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” We won’t argue or even discuss the “beginning” part, which could be semantics or context? But I love history, and I love wisdom. I also like to view life through the eyes of the ancients, seeing what’s been valid enough or meaningful enough to be passed down through history as truth. Certainly when discussing or researching a matter and looking for truth, one has to be clear on words and their meanings, or “calling things by their right names.”

[1] co·ro·na·vi·rus: any of a group of RNA viruses that cause a variety of diseases in humans and other animals. Or if you prefer something from the medical community rather than the dictionary, this is from John Hopkins: A newly identified type (of coronavirus) has caused a recent outbreak of respiratory illness now called COVID-19 that started in China.

[2] swine flu: The 2009 flu pandemic or swine flu was an influenza pandemic that lasted from early 2009 to late 2010, and the second of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus, albeit a new strain. And: According to the latest WHO statistics (as of July 2010), the virus has killed more than 18,000 people since it appeared in April 2009….” Wikipedia.

[3] Spanish flu: The 1918 influenza pandemic was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic, the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus, with the second being the swine flu in 2009. The Spanish flu infected 500 million people around the world, or about 27% of the world population of between 1.8 and 1.9 billion. Wikipedia

OK, simply put I’ve listed above three major outbreaks of the flu in history. Actually and factually the coronavirus isn’t even honorable mention yet. Check it out by the numbers you can search any day of the week. By any metric: total number of cases, how contagious, how fatal when contracted, etc. It’s just not that destructive by the numbers. And it’s hard to tell why the experts the media chooses to quote think it is? You get a different picture when you read medical journals, etc. So why don’t we? Is it because our default is to slave toward fear? Or slave to the media who make their money that way, having turned long ago from objective reporting of the facts to sensationalism and fear? Just a thought.

I’ll go ahead and prescribe my simple math operations to calculate and compare the threat the coronavirus is today compared with past versions of the flu in our country and perhaps the world. But I think a better approach might be to demonstrate what other experts are saying without being filtered through the media. And encourage you to turn off the hype and do some research yourself.

Numbers of People With The Virus

[1] # COVID-19 Cases CDC Reports as of March 16 / US Population = % of Population
3487 / 330,435,890 = .0011%
[2] #Swine flu Cases CDC Reports as November 2009/ US Population = % of Population
200,000 / 309,300,000 = .0645 %
[3] # Spanish flu Cases CDC Report 1918-1919 / US Population = % of Population
34,485,000 /104,500,000 = 33% (est. 1/3 of the population at the time)

Number of Deaths Due to The Virus

[1] # COVID-19 Deaths CDC Reports as of March 16 / US Population = % of Population
68 / 330,435,890 = .00002%
[2] #Swine flu Deaths CDC Reports as November 2009/ US Population = % of Population
10,000 / 309,300,000 = .0032%
[3] # Spanish flu Deaths CDC Report 1918-1919 / US Population = % of Population
675,000 / 104,500,000 = .646%

These are the numbers, verifiable from the CDC Website and from history. They certainly don’t indicate a pandemic yet, and if it were to become one, it seems likely to be small compared to 1918 and 2009. So it would seem to me the USA needs a good slap in the face to be snapped out of hysteria and back to reality.

Click here to see John Hopkins Medical folks tracking the world wide numbers.

Click here to see the up to date numbers in Arkansas on two maps.

Click here to see the up to date U.S. numbers as reported by the CDC.

There is some troubling uncertainty of course because it’s new, specifically the Italy numbers. I would assume they are accurate and growing while the numbers in China and South Korea are diminishing. But even the numbers as percentages of the population are quite small in all these countries.

Compare the coronavirus with another virus in the USA this year. According to a US News & World Report article February 7, 2020, “Influenza has taken the lives of 10,000 Americans this season. At least 19 million have caught the flu, with 180,000 landing in the hospital because of it.” “The CDC predicts that at least 12,000 Americans will die from the flu in any given year. As many as 61,000 people died in the 2017-2018 flu season, and 45 million were infected.”
That puts coronavirus in a different perspective with it 3487 cases and 68 deaths. It’s the flu season. Take precautions. Take courage. Live life, without fear.

Finally read this John Hopkins up-to-date article about COVID-19 and other such medical journal articles. They seem far away from the media’s hype and spin. You will get a much different perspective of the disease and the associated risk it poses to the health of our citizens and country. May you farewell.

Here are a couple quotes from the article. “As of Mar. 16, 2020, 6,705 deaths [world wide] have been attributed to COVID-19. However, 77,657 people have recovered from the illness.” “In rare cases, COVID-19 can lead to severe respiratory problems, kidney failure or death.” Does this sound like what you’ve been hearing?

If more people would take a positive, you might say “faith filled,” attitude about life, and exercise common sense with a historical perspective, there would be a lot more toilet paper, paper towels, and bleach on the shelves of our local markets. And our economy and our lives could return to normal. May it be so, and may it be soon.

“Overheard in an Orchard” by Elizabeth Cheney

Said the robin to the sparrow,”I would really like to know Why those anxious human beings rush around and worry so.”
Said the sparrow to the robin,
“Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
such as cares for you and me.”

COVID-19 And We The People

Pandemic of Fear, Star date 5780, I mean March 11, 2020. That’s not really when this scare started, but the real date is obscure or unknown, much like its cause, the coronavirus, and COVID-19.

I picked that date because it is and was the last time the Arkansas Razorbacks men’s basketball team played in the SEC tournament in Nashville, TN in front of fans. By then the announcers assured their millions of viewers that the games would be played going forward in a mostly empty arena for precaution against spreading the coronavirus. The NBA had already, beyond belief, suspended the rest of their season including the 2020 championships. I wonder how much that cost the NBA, advertisers, TV networks, venues, and suppliers? The next day as I and my wife, who is more of a sports fan than me, settled in to watch the South Carolina v.s. Arkansas game, I couldn’t find it? Soon it became clear and known that the SEC suspended or canceled the tournament. The following day the NCAA cancelled March Madness, and the 2020 college championship series!? Our TV has been off since then.

I know it’s only sports. But I also know it’s something these young men have trained for most of their lives experiencing sacrifice, effort, courage, endurance, and skill. Like the Olympics it reminds us of what’s best and most most admirable in humans and the human experience. For this to be ripped away from them, a once in a life time opportunity to show who they are and the team or community they love, is tragic, — if it’s for no compelling reason.

This is March Madness! I’m thinking now. For what? Why? I keep waiting for some valid reason, some evidence of the impending disaster, but none has appeared. Except the obvious, to me anyway — fear, fear of law suits, fear of the unknown.

Fear on an irrational scale. Fear is largely irrational by the way. We may get to that later. But fear on an irrational scale at an irrational rate, made possible by information technology at everyone’s fingertips or in their pockets. As my M.D. cousin said this morning by phone, “The media is feeding oxygen to the flame (of unmerited fear).”

I am a trusting person, largely because of good and faithful parents, a good community of faith growing up, and a trustworthy relationship for many years with the God of the Bible and his son Jesus Christ.

I want to believe there is a reason for all this March madness. I believe there are scientists and wise people who work on such matters, whose main concern is human welfare. I’ll gladly admit I’m wrong if this turns into a real pandemic, and applaud their efforts to prevent it or contain it. I am just saying to date, Pandemic of Fear Day 5, I see much chaos and havoc, and do not see that much evidence for its cause.

In my next blog, I’ll cover my sources, the kind I would suggest to anyone trying to sort real news from fake news. There’s so much out there, so I’ll keep it simple. And, I realize I’m speaking against the storm. But my summary to date is exercise caution, then choose courage not fear, and choose life.

I heard Dr. Ben Carson speak in our city a few years back and he ended his most excellent speech with these words. “American will continue to be the land of the free, as long as she’s the home of the brave.”