Tag Archives: Spin

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.”

March Madness

I think maybe it’s time to start at the gym? Maybe today? I know in light of all the coronavirus chatter in the media, you may think that’s the last thing I should do? But God told Jeremiah the prophet that even though the children of Israel were going to go into Babylon as captives that he should buy a piece of property, put the deed in a jar, and bury it — a symbol that the Lord would have mercy and that they would be coming back to the land.

I don’t know if that’s really apropos to this article but that’s what I am hearing this morning as I ponder and write. These days I find what really brings me joy and what I’m passionate about is spending time with God: reading, journaling, and sometimes sharing what I see with the faith community and seekers, on the web via this blog, maybe in preparation for another book.

But I feel compelled or at least the freedom to pause this morning and talk about the coronavirus. I promise I’ll get back to doing what I’m passionate about very soon, and stay there. Abiding is key for all of us in these days.

I haven’t written about the pandemic — and even thought about it that much. If it is a pandemic? It seems more like a pandemic of “fear.” Shutting off life to a relatively healthy culture and economy to me.

In the early morning hours my son has been texting that he’s been called back to New York City from the West Coast where he’s been visiting successful businesses—to discuss [1] If he should come into the office since he’s been traveling? [2] If they should close some stores?
Mind you, this is an expanding, healthy, thriving business until the “scare.”

Locally, store shelves are empty of toilet paper, paper towels, breathing masks, and who knows what else?

Of course I’ve been curious, even incredulous, at the wide sweeping closures and paranoia about this supposed threat to public health, our nation, and our way of life.

So I check the web from time to time to see the numbers of people who are infected with the disease and who have died because of it, as best as can be known in this instant information age, and compare it with the total populations of the countries and what has happened historically with other viral infections, commonly known as the flu, since the Influenza outbreak in the early 1900s.

Very few! One could say extremely few statistically. As this has progressed a few days now, the statistics on the spreading virus haven’t climbed as one would expect given all the hysteria, yet the hysteria seems to escalate.

This prompts me to think and say, “It’s the flu, people.”

Sadly, there will be people die from it. And I’m sad about that, and would not say anything to diminish their pain or that of their loved ones. Death hurts, and leaves a void. But it’s also a part of life and living.

I don’t fear death, largely due to faith in Jesus Christ, the One who overcame it for Himself, for me, and for millions who call upon his Name and put their trust in Him.

Even without faith in God, Jesus, the hereafter, or the Bible; it doesn’t make sense to fear death, the flu, or anything else so much that you quit living your life with courage and joy.

Yes wash your hands with soap and hot water, which is my M.D. daughter tells me is a better protection from viruses than wipes. But use both if you like, and keep informed about real news and real numbers and take precautions until the threat subsides or it is better known.

But don’t let it rob you of life and living – a single day. Death comes too soon to all of us for that. Life is a precious gift to be used, enjoyed, spent, and given away or shared with others.

Choose life!

“…So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.” Deuteronomy 30:19b