Coronavirus – Something or Nothing?

I don’t know about you but I have found the communication about the Coronavirus to be absolutely confusing.


And the actions demonstrating unpreparedness, disorganized response, general chaos, and panic do not match the few calming words we are getting. 


No wonder everyone is panicking and the bottom is falling from the market.


On one hand:


– The officials tell everyone to remain calm, and there is no reason to panic. 


– Help is on the way.


– People are overreacting.


– Most people that get Covid 19 won’t even know they had it or the symptoms will be mild (or maybe moderate)


– The death rate is “only” like 3 or 4% and it’s mostly older people or those with chronic ailments anyway (as if these people don’t matter). 


– Younger children aren’t really getting it (although we don’t know exactly why or the impact on pregnant women). 


– It’s less contagious and deadly than the flu (wait, it’s more contagious and deadly). 


– There are plenty of tests available for everyone (no, there aren’t).


– It will be over in a few weeks when the seasons change and the temperature goes up. 


– A vaccine will soon be ready for testing and then distribution after 12-18 months. 


– The numbers of infected are going down in China–see they have it under control!


– Maybe we should allow investigative drugs to be used (or maybe not, the FDA thinks this is a bad idea).


– The impact to the economy will be over probably by August (or will it?). 


– It’ll ALL be over soon.


On the other hand:


– We don’t know what we’re facing (people are routinely using the words apocalypse and armageddon). 


– This could be the “big one!”


– Is this a punishment from G-d (and is the Messiah coming)? 


– This has reached pandemic proportions. 


– We are declaring a national emergency. 


– This may have come out of a Chinese bioweapons lab.


– Also, China suppressed information and initial response on this making the outbreak worse. 


– “China should be punished for these things” (or some version of this).


– Cases are raising around the world. 


– The contagion is worse than initially thought (there are comparisons to the Spanish Flu of 1918 which killed around 50 million people)


– The death rate is higher than expected. 


– We don’t know why or where certain people got Covid 19 from.


– The hospitals are already overwhelmed and are unprepared for a real surge of cases. 


– We need to “flatten the curve” so our healthcare system isn’t brought to its knees. 


– We are already triaging patients and our doctors and nurses are working extra long hours and are exhausted. 


– We aren’t prepared for this–our healthcare system and government has “failed us”. 


– We’re rolling out unprecedented economic assistance from the Fed, the Treasury…another trillion dollar deficit (no answer for how this gets paid, if ever…can anyone say runaway inflation in the future and lots of worthless dollars). 


– Washing and “Social Distancing” are paramount. 


– There is a run on toilet paper and disinfectants and these are either sold out or vendors are price gouging these items. 


– We are shutting down the country (workplaces, fitness centers, eat-in restaurants, entertainment, travel, places of worship, and any significant gathering of people). 


– The instructions to stay at home in “indefinite”!


– People are stuck in the house and worried about how long this will go on. 


– Some places like New Rochelle, NY are under quarantine and the National Guard has been called out.


– There is talk of a curfew and further measures of quarantine to be enforced under penalty of imprisonment. 


– The lines at the stores (Costco, Sam’s Club, Supermarkets, Groceries) are out the door and the shelves are empty. 


– Amazon announces that they are running out on consumer stables!


– Businesses are suspending workers, moving them to part time, and laying them off. 


– The stock market is down by 1/3 and we’re told that this could just be the beginning. 


– A recession is looming and the economic impact and duration is unknown. 


– Italy is on lockdown. 


– Borders are being closed. 


– People can’t get home from abroad. 


– Cruise ships aren’t being allowed to port. 


– Airlines are screaming for a financial bailout. 

– Navy Hospital Ships with 1,000 beds each are being deployed to the east and west coast. 


– We’re sending $1,000 checks (or something like this) to people below a certain income level (maybe $65,000).


– Taxes are supposedly being deferred (although not filing of returns or estimated taxes yet).  


– People are wearing masks everywhere (but we are being told only the sick ones need to wear it and we see everyone in China wearing it and of course our first responders and medical professionals, so which is it).


– Primary voting is delayed in some states and there is question whether the November Presidential election will also be delayed.


Summary:


Does anyone know WTF is going on around here???


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Germs, Can’t Think About Anything Else

With Coronavirus media madness 24/7…


Who can think about anything but germs!


Or should I say killing germs. 


Nobody wants to get sick.


And we don’t want to get others sick either. 

– Wash your hands a lot!


– No more handshakes.  


– No more touching “suspect” surfaces.  


– Keep good (“far”) social distancing. 


– Quarantine yourself in the house for 2 weeks (actually it’s more like indefinitely).


What has become of our world. 


Just one big GERM BOWL. 


Can we really hide from the germs? 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Coronavirus Cancels Synagogue

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Coronavirus Cancels Synagogue.

While I understand the rationale to close the synagogues, not to congregate with others and expose ourselves or spread the Coronavirus, I can’t help thinking and believing that what we need now, more than ever, is prayer to Hashem and the mitzvah of Torah study that the synagogue provides to us. Indeed, only in the hands of G-d is the ultimate power of health or illness, and life or death…To me, this Shabbat was not a full Shabbat, because there was no synagogue, no Rabbi’s sermon, no community to talk and share with. I feel robbed of my religion today. I want to be able to go to synagogue and have a real Shabbat. How many other Shabbatot will we have to continue to go through without being able to pray in a minyan, hear the Torah reading, listen to the Rabbi’s speech, and see our community friends?


Many say and I firmly believe that we are on the doorstep of Mashiach and that he is even here among us waiting for the right moment to reveal himself. We’ve survived so much and finally have returned as a people to our homeland of Israel. Now we must survive the final birthing pains of Mashiach and then we will be able to go not only to our synagogues once again, but also to the Temple in Jerusalem to pray and learn at G-d’s very footstep in this earthly world.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

There’s No Shield Against Loneliness

Lonelieness.jpeg

Loneliness is empty, hollow, a panicky void, and depression. 


It’s like being in the ocean and feeling so small in its massive depths…almost like drowning. 


In the end, you are alone in the universe. 


No one can truly feel your pain or joy or experience all of you.


You’re a world unto yourself. 


You connect and form relationships with others–there is learning and growth and love and caring in that. 


Talking and reaching out and being part of someone and something washes away parts of those scary feelings and creates a greater purpose of being and meaning. 


But there is also silence and solitude and the darkness of the night. 


And in that there is just the faith in G-d Almighty. 


He alone is what comforts us as we stare into the vastness out there as well as the evil and loss that we come face-to-face with and combat in life. 


The soldier girds his sword for battle and carries a shield to protect himself.


But there is no shield for the loneliness we experience in life and ultimately in death itself. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

10 Reasons In Just 1 Week To Fear Government Breakdown

Chaos

When I saw this in the store, I knew it was a true sign of the times, as they say. 


When the government that is supposed to sustain order and usher in social and economic progress is dysfunctional and broken, instead we have:


“Chaos, Panic, [and] Disorder”


Here’s some news highlights from just this last week:


SPREADING BASE OF WORLDWIDE TERRORISM


1) ISIS murdered 137 and wounded over 300 in suicide bombings at mosques in Yemen.


2) Al Qaeda / Islamic State killed 23 mostly European tourists and injured over 50 at attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunisia.


3) Iraq’s battle to take back Tikrit from ISIS slows as ISIS continues to hold territory in Iraq and Syria larger than many countries–this after the last U.S. troops left Iraq in 2011. 


AGGRESSIVE POWER AND LAND GRABS:


4) Russia annexes South Ossetia from Georgia, just a year after annexing Crimea from Ukraine.


5) China starts up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with support from key European Countries as well as Australia and South Korea, challenging American dominance via the International Monetary Fund (IMF)–this shortly after China surpasses America as the world largest economy.


PROLIFERATION OF WMD:


6) Iran says “Nuclear deal within reach,” while their neighbors in the Middle East shutter and warn of impending nuclear arms race.


FORESAKING STALWART ALLIES AND MIDDLE EAST PEACE:


7) The Administration threatens to back United Nations against Israel, imposing a 2 state solution rather than a negotiated peace and security for the region. 


ECONOMIC MESS:


8) U.S. economic forecast by the Fed was downgraded to just 2.5%, despite years of near-zero interest rates that were supposed to spark growth, but instead has simply driven stocks into overdrive and set us up for another bursting of the financial bubble


HEALTHCARE SHAMBLES:


9) Upcoming Supreme Court decision on Obamacare could see 8 million people lose subsidies and ultimately their health insurance coverage.


ENVORNMENTAL CRISIS:


10) 2014 as the hottest year on record and 13 of the 14 hottest years are in the 21st century so far, this as even Chinese officials acknowledge looming fallout ahead in terms of climate change and disasters


If this is just one (more) week with the current breakdown of government,  those causing it all, as the sign states, can proclaim:


“My Work Here Is [Almost] Done.”
 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Don’t Worry About It–Yeah Right!

Calm
Lately, with the Ebola outbreak, primarily in Africa, but unfortunately also spreading here into the U.S., we are hearing refrains from politicians and pundits, not to be afraid.



– It won’t come here.

– It’s hardly contagious.

– Out health care system is superior.

– It’s all under control.



But what we are finding is that the reassurances are mostly empty words to calm a growing restless public, who are justifiably afraid, and see little to no action from their leaders.



– Ebola has come here to Texas, Maryland, and New York.

– Experts now admit that you can even get Ebola from sweat on the bus, and they blame broken protocols (as yet to be identified) that inflected 2 nurses in Texas.

– Yes, our health system is superior, but we are mostly inexperienced with dealing with a true pandemic.

– Define, “It’s under control” as the CDC is now projecting 1.4M infected by January (and growing exponentially)!



This is like the old adage that we are always trying to fight the last war, and not preparing with an open mind for what the next one will look like.



Similarly, we fail again and again to predict the threats and risks that confront us…Pearl Harbor, 9/11, Depressions/ Severe Recessions, ISIS, and much more are evidence of this.



FDR said “There is nothing to fear but fear itself,” but this is dead wrong.



I am afraid that we are not fearing enough (or that even worse, we are afraid to fear)–when this is perhaps of as great, if not of greater importance to adequately preparing ourselves to the immense challenges ahead of us.



Fear can cause paralysis or even chaos, but fear can also drive intelligent preparation, innovation, and life-saving measures.



Lately, many have said to me that unhealthy eating or gun violence is what we should fear and act on, and I think this is truly narrow vision.



We can’t live with heads in the sand, because there are multiple issues that we must confront.



True, we don’t have unlimited resources to address everything 100%, but as I’ve been telling people, we can worry about multiple issues (and I certainly do), work to address them with common sense—in other words, walk and chew gum at the same time!



Everyone seems to have their pet peeve issue that they want politicians to address, but we don’t have the luxury of paying attention to those that big mouths, lobbyists or politicians elevate to fear factor status, and ignoring others that may pose real significant threats to us. 



Frankly, I would rather be a little needlessly afraid, but more thoughtful, prepared/protected, and ahead-of-the-curve in addressing issues, than fearless, foolhardy, not ready, and extremely sorry later. 



While Ebola may or may not be catastrophic to us, when you hear coldly, almost matter-of-factly, “Don’t worry about it,” while thousands are dying and many more horrific deaths are at hand, and we are told by the U.N. that there is no real plan if things continue to go south, then be afraid, be very afraid–and let that guide you to creative problem-solving, and not deer in the headlights inaction. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)