Virus Declared Pandemic–President Announces Massive Plans to Confront

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Every four years or so, there is a viral outbreak. For example, we had the SARS outbreak in 2004, Avian flu in 2008, MERS in 2012, Zika in 2016, and now the Coronavirus.

In general, flu season can start anytime in late fall, peak in January or February, and continue through early spring. Flu season usually lasts about 13 weeks and ends by April or May.

The Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a bit of a mystery as to what it will do, and acts more like a cold than the flu.

How COVID-19 Differs: 

Typical Flu:

  • Seasonal flu death rate is typically around 0.1 percent, according to The New York Times
  • 42.9 million people got sick in 2018-2019. That flu season lasted 21 weeks (the longest on record); 647,000 were hospitalized and 61,200 died. 

COVID-19:

  • Ten times more deadly than the flu. Death rate is between 1.4 and 2.3 percent, with 124,578 people infected and 4,386 deaths.
  • Average age of those who died: 80
  • With the typical flu, one person usually infects 1.3 people. COVID-19 infection rate is 2+ 
  • Only five percent of those infected will have critical symptoms
  • Virus spread has already slowed in China, where the outbreak began; half of those who were infected have already recovered
  • Hardest hit outside of China: Italy – 12,000 confirmed cases

There are around 1,100 confirmed cases in the US and 30 deaths—18 of those occurred in one nursing home in Washington state. (See live tracker) The elderly and those with other major health issues are at the greatest risk.

The World Health Organization announced on Wednesday this is a pandemicthe first one sparked by a coronavirus. The countries with the worst outbreaks are closing down all public gatherings, including sporting events, schools, and tourist attractions.

  • The Vatican has cancelled Mass, and the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca was called off.
  • Airports are conducting more intense screenings.
  • Italy’s Prime Minister has ordered people to stay home and seek permission for essential travel.
  • Italian medical professionals are being told to stop treating the elderly in favor of helping younger, more robust patients.

Events across the US have been canceled or postponed, including St. Patrick’s Day parades in Boston and Chicago, festivals, schools, university classes for the rest of the term, the NCAA basketball tournament, Broadway, and Disneyland.

The governor of New York called up the National Guard to help contain a cluster outbreak in New Rochelle. Nearly 1,000 people in Westchester County are under quarantine after a 50-year-old infected attorney attended several large gatherings. Going forward:

  • No large gatherings within institutions, does not affect families or businesses
  • Free movement in and out of the containment zone
  • Will end March 25, after the area is sanitized with the help of the National Guard
  • 173 cases in New York, 108 of those in New Rochelle, 14 hospitalized

President Trump Announces Drastic Measures

President Trump announced extensive plans to combat the virus in his address to the nation Wednesday night: 

  • Suspending all travel from Europe to the US for 30 days (beginning Friday at midnight) 
  • Exemptions for Americans who have undergone screenings
  • Will apply to trade and cargo and other things
  • Will not apply to UK

He and Vice President Pence met with the heads of leading healthcare corporations earlier in the week. They agreed to waive co-pays for testing for the virus and will refrain from “surprise billing,” where patients receive services at an in-network facility with unexpected billing from an out-of-network provider. Insurance coverage will extend to this virus.

President Trump signed an $8.3 billion funding package for diagnoses and treatment. He expressed his concerns that the country unite, saying:

  • “We are all in this together, we must put politics aside, and stop the partisanship.”
  • “There is a very low risk to the vast majority of Americans. The young and healthy can expect to recover quickly.”
  • “The elderly population must be very, very careful,” and avoid non-essential travel in crowded areas. Nursing homes should suspend visits from non-residents unless medically necessary.

Other Provisions: 

  • Will take emergency action to provide financial relief for ill/quarantined workers—asking Congress to extend this relief.
  • Small Business Administration will provide capital and liquidity to companies affected (low interest loans)
  • Asking Congress to increase funding to the SBA, for tax extensions for businesses, and immediate payroll tax relief

The Good News: 

The economy is strong. We added 273,000 jobs in February, nearly 100,000 more than anticipated. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent, matching a 50-year low. In only 2 months, the US economy created 546,000 jobs, more than experts projected would be added all year in 2020. 

How to Avoid Infection

Researchers are still working to determine how easily the virus spreads. The CDC recommends frequent hand-washing for at least 20 seconds and to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid sick people, stay home when you are sick, and clean and disinfect surfaces and objects (especially your cellphone) frequently.

Why this Matters: The Left/progressives are trying to blame President Trump for not acting soon enough, although he was criticized for restricting travel from China in January. 

A Racist Virus?

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman argued last week that “no conclusion has been reached yet on the origin of the virus,” which is a blatant lie (see Feb. 5 Praying Citizen). The mainstream US media is jumping on that bandwagon, labeling conservatives as racists for using the term, “Wuhan virus.” 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went on Twitter to chastise people for being racist because there has been a drop in business at Chinese restaurants.
The President retweeted conservative Charlie Kirk who called it a “China virus.” Trump added the statement, “build the wall,” and his critics say this is another example of racism. 

Others call on Trump to end all of his rallies so the disease doesn’t spread–but some say it’s better if his supporters do get the disease. Leftist actor/comedian Patton Oswalt declared he hopes Trump will keep up the rallies so people catch the infection and die. 

How to Pray: Somewhere between panic and Passivity is wisdom, through the leading of the Holy Spirit. Thank God for biblical protocols for good hygiene! Pray for the task force and that the virus will be contained. Pray for the healing/health of all those affected. Fear can hamper the immune system, pray that the Lord will keep us focused on His strength and love that we will thrive.

Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. Gen. 15:1

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Deut. 31:6

The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil. Prov. 19:23

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Tim. 1:7

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