Lockdown in Illinois goes from smiling faces to a preview of tyranny

Blogger running on a Cook County Forest Preserve trail earlier this month

By John Ruberry

Illinois is now in its eighth day of lockdown as part of Governor JB Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Life is anything but normal here.

There’s not much good to report.

On the other hand a few days ago I planned to compose a feel-good entry focusing on the the few good things to report on from where I live in Morton Grove, Illinois about coronavirus. But things quickly turned south. And now we just might have a preview of the damage an overreaching government that claims to be looking out for us can inflict.

I’m a runner–and I’ve not let the lockdown cut back on my hobby. (Oh, Peter Da Tech Guy has been begging me to write a running post for a while–here you go!) After all outdoor activity, including running, is allowed according to Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order, as long as I practice safe-distancing, which I do. During my runs through the Cook County Forest Preserve trails near my home, I’ve seen more people on the paths, including entire families, since the issue of the shelter-in-place order. When the coronavirus crisis fades away, some of those folks might pick up a new appreciation of nature and become physical fitness enthusiasts as well.

I’ve also seen more people smiling at me and waving during my runts. And I reciprocate.

That was through Wednesday.

In Chicago in the early part of last week, particularly on the lakefront, the parks and paths were packed with runners, walkers, and cyclists. There were picnics and barbecues and basketball games. Which caused Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, to freak out.

“You cannot go on long bike rides,” the Democrat scolded. “Playgrounds are shut down. You must abide by the order. Outside, is for a brief respite, not for 5Ks. I can’t emphasize enough that we abide the rules.”

“If we have to … we will be forced to shut down parks and the entire lakefront,” the mayor said that day.

And so she did. In a condescending press conference the following day, Mayor Tenderfoot announced, while upping her warning that training for marathons was also not allowed on the lakefront during the lockdown, that all Chicago parks along the lakefront, along with the 606 Trail on the North Side, were closed and would be barricaded. Violators of Lightfoot’s order face a citation and a $500 fine.

Okay, I get it. COVID-19 can be deadly. Playing close contact sports such as basketball is stupid. But cooping people up in home will be psychologically demanding. And what will happen if the internet in Chicago slows down to a trickle because of an overwhelming demand in residential areas?

Will spouse abuse instances spike? And child abuse?

And it’s not just a Chicago issue in Illinois. At a large park in Skokie, the town just east of me, a friend of my daughter’s was playing tennis with her boyfriend. Someone living next to the park called the police, they them to told stop playing and leave. The cops also cleared out the rest of park. There were no gatherings there of more than ten people. Just a few people here and there, I was told.

On Friday Lightfoot encouraged people to call the non-emergency 311 line to inform on businesses that are deemed non-essential that remain open. Employees can rat out their bosses. Violators face up to a $10,000 fine.

What we are witnessing in Chicago is a preview of life under a Green New Deal tyranny-of-the-enlightened-few led by know-it-alls like Lightfoot. Because of “climate change,” the city’s lakefront could be closed for weeks during the summer. After all, many people drive to the lakefront parks and the adjoining neighborhoods.

On a national basis industries such as travel could be altered and possibly destroyed. Travel by jet spread the virus. So let’s shrink the airline industry, which produces greenhouse gases. What about the jobless pilots, machinists, and the flight attendants? Force them to attend a green jobs training program doubling as a re-education camp.

If the government goes after jet travel will the automotive industry be next? What about recreational boating? Why not shutter restaurants that serve food deemed as unhealthy? Who hasn’t heard obesity called an epidemic?

Does a family of four really need a huge house? Do you really need to take an out-of-state vacation?

Presumably in a Green New Deal America the running trails near my home will still be open and I can train for a marathon if I choose. But I’ll expect to see fewer smiling faces there.

Yes, I’m taking COVID-19 seriously. I’m washing my hands and drowning them in hand-sanitizer. I’m keeping safe distances.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

We can’t let this become the new normal

I was completely startled at how rapidly everything escalated over just one week.  One minute I was watching a Red Sox preseason game where they were talking about the possibility of the halting preseason games, then, with in a few days governments at all levels were shutting down just about all normal activity.  Everything that happened was so unprecedented here in the United States. 

I’m worried that since it has happened once it will now happen over and over again.  Am I being paranoid about that?  I don’t think so.  Over the past decade I’ve studied history in great detail, with a particular emphasis on different forms of government.  The one theme that has repeated itself most often is that once a government body has tasted power it will soon become addicted to it and will wield it as often as it can. 

Were all of the orders to shelter in place and shutter businesses necessary?  I don’t know.  The only way to prove that it wasn’t is if governments did nothing,  I believe the price for that may have been a very steep price, just look at conditions in Italy.

We the people must take careful steps to make sure that this type of government forced social disruptions happens only when absolutely needed, only under the most dire of circumstances.  The way we do this is different for each level of government.

The way to prevent the federal government from abusing emergency powers and closing society down is simply to read the Constitution, understand the Constitution, and make sure the federal government follows the Constitution.  Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government granted the power to restrict what individuals and businesses can do under any circumstances, even during an emergency.  That power is not granted to the federal government anywhere in the Constitution therefore it is left up to the state and local government levels.  If you don’t agree check out this Tenth Amendment Center article.

I believe some state governments, especially the governors, have gone too far with their Coronavirus measures.  Now that they have done it once I believe some governors will do it for much less of a crisis or a made up crisis such as climate change.  The residents of all of the states need to order their state governments to reign in emergency declaration powers through legislation.  Most governors can declare emergencies on their without the approval of the state legislatures.  I believe that if an emergency will last more than 48 hours the state legislatures should approve all plans and measures.  What constitutes an actual emergency must also be defined by legislation. Clear guidelines must be included in the legislation to protect the tights of individuals while protecting the health of everyone.

Local governments should be the freest when it comes to declaring emergencies and should have the least restrictions because most emergencies are local.

We the people must remain vigilant and make sure that the federal government and state governments do not make emergencies such as the one we’re dealing with now common place.  I fear that they will.

Keeping It Clean

by baldilocks

The place in which I live at present is the first one in my entire life where I have no on-site access to a washer and a dryer. Even when I lived in homeless housing, there were laundry facilities. (Bad part: you had to keep a close eye on your clothes; I lost a beloved pair of jeans to thieves during my blessedly short stint.)

As a result and beginning in 2015, I have perfected the fine art of handwashing my clothes. When I moved here, I had almost no money for weeks afterward, but I had soap, water and the need for clean clothes. So, I adapted and overcame.

Later on, I bought a small scrub bin and whenever I had a little extra money, I’d head over to the laundromat, but that has become a rarer occasion for three reasons: 1) I almost never have any extra money, 2) I discover that my clothes are cleaner when I handwash them, and 3) I have been grossed out more than once by the detergent and fabric softener containers on the machines.

 The reason I’m bringing it up is because various municipalities – including Los Angeles – deem laundromats as essential facilities which must be kept open and I don’t dispute that. What I find ironic, however is this: laundromats seem like a good place for the spread of icky things like the coronavirus.

All I’m saying is that those of you who don’t have machines at home might consider hand-washing your own clothes. Tip: use borax and white vinegar for odor issues. Vinegar also gets rid of mold and mildew – though I can’t find any evidence that has any effect on viruses — and it won’t bleach out colors.

And you don’t have to get near any strangers who are giving you the side-eye in return.

Hand-washing clothes takes time and some extra work, but time is something we all have a little be more of, so there’s that.

By the way, a year or so ago, one of my fans bought me the following. Comes in handy.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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It’s okay to blame the Chinese government

Memo
To: Journalists
Re: China and Covid-19

Here are some suggestions about news coverage going forward:

The pandemic started in China because of inadequate sanitary conditions and a lack of law enforcement.

China’s government covered up the virus as it leaped across the world. If you are going to use Chernobyl as a simile, it’s China’s Chernobyl, not that of the United States.

China silenced doctors and dissidents who tried to publicize news of the virus.

Italy and Iran have high numbers of infections and deaths because both countries created strong relationships with China. The Black Plague started on the old Silk Road; the Wuhan virus started on the new Silk Road.

China has launched a massive disinformation campaign, including calling racist the use of the Wuhan virus. That hasn’t stopped DaTimes’ Paul Krugman from calling it the “Trump virus.”

China claimed it bought time for the rest of the world. No, it didn’t. It misled the world.

China expelled journalists from DaTimes, DaPost, and the Wall Street Journal. It was barely a blip on the radar screen because you were frightened China might do the same to your news organization.

The World Health Organization refused for months to declare a pandemic and instead thanked China for “making us safer.” The WHO has refused to allow Taiwan membership, due undoubtedly to Beijing’s influence over the WHO’s purse strings.

Here are some suggestions on what you should report on:

It is only since the outbreak of the pandemic that Americans have learned that China is the primary supplier of U.S. medicines. Eighty percent of America’s “active pharmaceutical ingredients” come from abroad, primarily from China (and India); 45% of the penicillin used in the country is Chinese made; and nearly 100% of the ibuprofen.

America’s broader economic dependence on China needs to be reduced. Materials such as rare earths, 80% of which come from China, should be produced at home when possible, while the U.S. military needs to limit its exposure to Chinese goods for everything from transistors to tire rubber.

Washington must ensure that China does not capture the global semiconductor chip-making industry, which is a priority for Beijing. To surrender a vital part of the digital economy would put America in a position of permanent dependence on China.

It’s time to stop pandering to China!

Report from Louisiana: Stay at Home

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Finally, yesterday afternoon, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued a “stay at home” order across the state. All “non-essential” businesses are shut down; restaurants are still open for curbside pickup and delivery, you can still take your dog to the vet, and liquor stores are open.

So, not much has changed under this order from what has been happening all week.

Via The Advocate:

Louisiana has the fastest growth rate of confirmed cases in the world, Edwards said, citing a University of Louisiana at Lafayette study. Louisiana ranks third in the nation — behind New York and Washington State — in per capita cases of people infected with the deadly novel coronavirus. The growth trajectory shows Louisiana increasing its confirmed cases on the same steep angle as Italy and Spain, where the virus has become exceptionally widespread.

Most of the cases in Louisiana are in Orleans parish with a known cluster of cases in an assisted living facility in New Orleans, but like everywhere, COVID-19 is spread throughout the state.

It is not likely to improve for a while as there are still far too many people that don’t appear to comprehend the gravity of what is happening.

Sunday, in East Baton Rouge parish, The Life Tabernacle Church hosted over 1,800 people at their Sunday morning service. Pastor Tony Spell said “if anyone in his congregation contracts covid-19 he will heal them through God.”

If anyone still doubts the severity of this virus, take a look at a viral Facebook post by Chicago resident Michael Bane.  He describes the progression of COVID-19 as it has attacked him after a “brief encounter” with someone who later tested positive for the virus. Bane wanted to put “a human face” on the virus and stress to people the importance of staying home.

The numbers in Louisiana continue to climb and as I write this, there is plenty of traffic I can still see outside my window. Our shut-down order doesn’t take effect until 5:00 p.m., and grocery stores (which will remain open) are packed with people clearing the shelves of whatever staples remain. As with much of the country, there has been no toilet paper, hand sanitizer, rice, dried beans, or bread for at least two weeks. If you catch it right, you can get milk or meat as stockers work frantically to keep shelves stocked.

On the plus side, random acts of kindness are on the uptick. One of my neighbors left a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread on my porch yesterday. Neighborhoods are pulling together to support one another, and people are getting creative in keeping the little ones entertained. One activity I saw yesterday was a “bear hunt,” where neighbors put a stuffed bear in their windows for kids to spot, or find, on walks with their parents.

I’m counting my blessings right now and staying inside.

Stay safe wherever you are, stay home, and wash your hands!

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Review, Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak

By John Ruberry

“While we can’t predict where the next influenza pandemic is going to come from,” Dennis Carroll, the director of the emerging threats unit of US Agency for International Development, says in the third episode of the new six episode Netflix documentary series Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak, “there are certain places that you want to pay particular attention to–and China is one of those, that’s the place where we’ve seen the emergence of virtually all of the deadly influenza viruses over the last half-century.”

Carroll says this while images of a Vietnamese wet market, where live chickens are sold and slaughtered, are shown.

“We know that viruses move from wildlife into livestock into people,” he says early in that same episode.

I’m writing this from home in Illinois, where I am living under Governor JB Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order because of the COVID-19 coronoavirus outbreak. While the origin of this disease is still being debated it is likely, according to experts, that it did first infect humans at a wet market.

I saw Pandemic last week on my Netflix welcome screen and at first I looked away and said to myself, “If I want to know about pandemics I can switch on the local news–or cable news.” And I was concerned that this was, to use the legendary chant from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a “bring out your dead” series. And it starts that way, with Carroll, at a mass grave in western Pennsylvania, one that is marked by a single crucifix. The site contains the remains of victims of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Yes, not only can it happen here–but it has happened here.

And the “not-if-but-when” pandemic has arrived, only it’s coronavirus instead of influenza.

The focus of Pandemic is on the scientists, the aid workers, and the doctors on the front lines of disease prevention and cures. People like Jake Glanville and Sarah Ives, the scientists who are working with pigs in Guatemala to develop an all-strains flu virus, as well as Dr. Dinesh Vijay, who treats flu patients at a crowded hospital in Jaipur, India. But disease isn’t just an urban phenomenon. In Pandemic, we meet Holly Goracke, the sole doctor at tiny Jefferson County Hospital in rural Oklahoma, who works 72-hour shifts. And we also become acquainted with Dr.Syra Madad, the director of the special pathogens program of New York City Health and Hospitals.

Along the way we are introduced to anti-vaccination activists in Oregon, health care workers at an Arizona border detention center, and World Health Organization disease fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who not only face the risk of contracting the extremely deadly Ebola virus, but also getting murdered by gangs.

Surprisingly, religion is viewed favorably in this scientific docuseries. Madad, Goracke, and Vijay all rely on faith to strengthen them as they battle disease.

Not surprisingly there are a few knocks in Pandemic over lack of funding from the Trump administration. Including from Madad. But she’s not infallible. In January, in a CNBC interview shortly after the debut of Pandemic, Madad praised China’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, although she did parse her statement with, “It’s too early to tell.” I wager she’d like to take that praise back.

If you are suffering from anxiety over coronavirus, you may want to stay away from Pandemic. The same goes if you are an anti-vaxxer–you’ll just get POd. Also, I suggest if you decide to view Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak then take it in just one episode at a time. At times the series is emotionally exhausting.

Pandemic is rated TV-14, Netflix says, because of foul language and smoking. And there are some disturbing scenes.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The Coronavirus and the Liberty versus saving lives debate

The Coronavirus pandemic has ignited online one of the most important debates, where do you draw line between saving lives and protecting freedom and liberty. This is also an internal debate I’ve been struggling with since this whole crisis began and I’ve switched back and forth as things have developed, often too rapidly to keep up with

When the voluntary mass cancellations of sporting events, the closings of schools, and the travel bans from overseas first occurred I believed all of this was an unnecessary overreaction on a major scale.  I maintained that belief for several days.  It wasn’t until I learned the goal behind all of this was to “flatten the curve” that I changed my mind.  Reading this article from The Federalist Papers article Coronavirus Control Measures Aren’t Pointless – Just Slowing Down The Pandemic Could Save Millions of Lives is what changed my mind about all of this

The goal is to “flatten the curve.” Rather than letting the virus quickly rampage through the population and burn itself out fast, the idea is to spread all those infections out over a longer period of time.

Flattening the curve is another way of saying buying more time. Yes, it would potentially prolong the epidemic. But in doing so, public health agencies and the health care infrastructure gain invaluable time to respond to the crisis.

Most importantly, “flattening the curve” provides an opportunity to significantly reduce deaths from COVID-19.

On the steep rise of the epidemic curve, especially when testing capacity is lacking, there is a tremendous burden on health care providers – many of whom will fall ill themselves and be forced to self-isolate, becoming unable to provide care for those in need. At the same time, there is immense pressure placed on health care facilities where demand for patient care will outpace capacity – things like the number of hospital beds, ventilators and so on – for a significant amount of time.

Now that I’m familiar with the topic of flattening the curve I can see that this disruption of normal life is necessary when a society is facing a dangerous contagious disease.  This health crisis introduced me to another new concept which can halt the spread of a communicable disease:

Social distancing requires changes in how people work, live and interact with each other. It may require canceling or avoiding big events, limiting nonessential travel and rescheduling conferences. Traditional classroom instruction may have to move to online delivery – already happening in some colleges and universities, though less easy to do for K-12 schools.

Unfortunately this current threat is a completely new strain of virus, one where no one has a natural immunity.  It is the unknown nature of the threat that convinced me that the closings and cancelings are necessary.

The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a reportexternal icon out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.

The CDC Website on COVID-19 contains a wealth of great information on this current threat.  It is the communicable nature of this disease that convinced me that these steps are necessary.

A pandemic is a global outbreak of disease. Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and can spread between people sustainably. Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads worldwide.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is infecting people and spreading easily from person-to-person. Cases have been detected in most countries worldwide and community spread is being detected in a growing number of countries. On March 11, the COVID-19 outbreak was characterized as a pandemic by the WHO

This Newsweek article Newt Gingrich: I Am in Italy Amid the Coronavirus Crisis. America Must Act Now—And Act Big was the final piece of information that changed my mind and convinced me that all of this is necessary.

These steps are not an overreaction. The coronavirus is out of control of in Northern Italy. As of 6 p.m. local/1 p.m. EST on March 10, there were 15,113 total cases in Italy, with 12,839 active cases, 1,016 deaths and 1,258 recoveries. And there were 162 total cases here in Rome.

The hardest-hit region around Milan has had to improvise as its health system has been deeply stressed by the sheer number of patients. In Milan and Brescia, field hospitals have been set up in the fairgrounds as the local hospitals have been drowned in patients.

Because the demand for respirators and intensive care has been beyond any previous planning, doctors have been forced into the kind of triage thinking developed for intense battlefield casualty situations. There are reports that emergency room doctors are allotting respirators to those with higher life expectancy due to the limited equipment in the hardest hit areas of the province. If you are older or have other illnesses, you may simply not be eligible for treatment.

As Libertarian I am 100 percent against the government at any level, but especially the federal government, ordering the mandatory canceling of events, domestic travel bans, and closing private businesses.  A much better solution would be for the government to urge, suggest, and educate that all of this necessary, and it takes place.  A voluntary curtailing of social activity is the only way to preserve our freedom and rights while protecting our health.  The mandatory steps taken by Governor Charlie Baler and the rest are wrong because they are mandated by the government.

Unfortunately a lot of people do not listen to good advise and refuse to stop engaging in behavior that puts others at risk of catching this disease, which could cause the virus to spread uncontrollably.  What do we do about that?  UGH.  That is the question that I’m struggling with the most. Liberty is the freedom to do as you wish as long as you do not harm others.  Spreading the virus to others definitely harms them and could harm society as a whole.  

Cows, Trees, Taps, Chocolate & Wuhan/Corona Virus Update

Yesterday I had to get up early to take my son who is going to be on 11 straight days at Market Basket to work for 6:30 so I spun down to church for the 7 AM mass where I found out that that mass and the 8 AM mass would be the last in Fitchburg for a while (so I stayed for both) and swung by Market Basket.

I didn’t need milk so I didn’t go in that aisle but they had very little bottled water and a bit of toilet paper, the shelves were not full but you could get it. I bought a two liter bottle of diet Sunkist soda, a pair of cooked chicken breasts and a package of Hershey chocolates.

I really don’t understand the hoarding of Milk, Water and Toilet Paper

Four important facts

  • To the best of my knowledge Cows are still giving milk and there is no prospect of the Corona/Wuhan virus spreading to cows and stopping them from doing so. There is no prospect of the country’s milk supply to disappear.
  • Two thousand years ago the Romans were big on aqueducts that brought fresh flowing water to the cities. Today we not only have that capability in terms of indoor plumbing as standard equipment in homes and apartments, but we have waste water treatment plants to make sure said water is safe. To my knowledge the Corona/Wuhan virus has not affected either the water supplies or the faucets in peoples houses.
  • Unless there is a medical development I’m unaware of there is no evidence that the Corona / Wuhan virus has affected trees or saw blades or papermills. Furthermore thanks to industry tree farming there is an abundant supply of trees to make sure that we can make all the toilet paper we want.
  • Gas prices are dropping like a rock and Truckers continue to be on the road so the ability to transport milk, bottled water and toilet has not been impeded in the least.

These are all reasons not to hoard Milk, Water or Toilet Paper but if they are not enough to stop you from panic let me add one more fact.

I was able to buy chocolate today.

Now chocolate is a wonderful thing but when it comes down to it, it’s not a necessity. For most of human history chocolate was not available and in the last two thousand years I suspect more human have spent their lives without chocolate than with.

Yet the chocolate supply remains unimpeaded.

When I see supermarkets without chocolate and other items that are not vital THEN I’ll start thinking, hey maybe I should be worried.

But as long as I see Chocolate bunnies near the checkout and pastries galore in the Market Basket bakery I think I’ll decline to worry about where my next roll of toilet paper is coming from…and you should too.

The Silence of LA

Don’t be afraid

by baldilocks

When it’s over, it will be great.

I will miss the quietness, however.

My residential street runs parallel to a nearby busy boulevard and it makes a great short-cut to avoid heavy traffic

But there are no speedbumps on my street and, as a result, drivers fly down it on their way to and from work. There are lots of near misses, if the amount of horn-honking is any indication.  And I’m not a little surprised that there hasn’t been any trading of lead-encased propellants in the five years that I’ve lived here. This is Los Angeles, after all.

However, other than the speeders, my very racially integrated neighborhood is quite peaceful and the near shutdown of the city due to COVID-19 has given it surrealism. It’s almost like living in the country.

No one is in a rush to go to work because so few are even allowed to go. The schools and colleges are shut down.

It’s certain, however, that much work and education is being conducted via digital means and when the shutdown ends, it will be interesting to see how these things will be transformed by the revelation that more stuff gets done when employees and students stay home.

Back to my nearly traffic-free street: I mentioned on Twitter that I had prayed for a long time that drivers would stop speeding down my street and in the last few days it has happened! Of course, I didn’t pray that it would come from a citywide quarantine, but I do know that God is a multitasker. Also, it is far from the first time that He has answered a prayer of mine in a way that I didn’t expect.

The moral of the story is obvious: be careful what you pray for.

However, I will continue to pray for the physical, financial, and spiritual healing of our country. And I’ll wager that it will shock the world in how it comes to pass.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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A Basic Compare and Contrast

The letter of the day is I

by baldilocks

It turns out that you can compare apples to oranges.

On Monday, Iran’s Ministry of Health released new data concerning the coronavirus. It said that 66 people have died from the virus while 1501 have been infected. But given the Health Ministry’s propensity for lying, the figure for those dead and infected is likely much greater.

The rampant spread of coronavirus in Iran was a problem largely the result of the Islamic Republic’s own making. In early February, Iranian officials were aware of a potential problem in the city of Qom, where a shrine holy to Shia Muslims served as a breeding ground for the transmission of the virus. Yet authorities took no action to quarantine the city or even warn residents to take safety precautions. The shrine still remains open to visitors and video has recently emerged showing people licking the shrine.

By the time health officials began taking action, it was a case of too little too late. Iran’s Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi, downplayed claims made a city lawmaker that deaths from COVID-19 had reached 50 and said that he would resign from his post if that assertion was accurate. A day later, Harirchi became a victim of COVID-19 and was under quarantine but not before he was observed coughing on those adjacent to him during the previous day’s press briefing. Several other Iranian diplomats and parliamentarians have since been infected, and at least two have died including a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran’s bumbling and incompetence in dealing with the health crisis can be attributed to the Islamic Republic’s unwillingness to acknowledge weakness and vulnerability.

(…)

Iran’s handling of the crisis stands in marked contrast to how its arch nemesis Israel is addressing the issue. While Iranian officials are spewing little else but propaganda, the Israelis are at the forefront of inventing cures and treatments for the coronavirus.

The Migal Research Institute, an Israeli company based in Galilee has announced that they are on the cusp of developing a coronavirus vaccine. The company had been developing a vaccine for coronavirus in chickens and recognized that they could tweak their vaccine to combat coronavirus in humans. According to Migal’s CEO, David Zigdon, a vaccine for humans could be ready in a few months.

In addition to vaccinations, the ability to rapidly test for the presence of coronavirus is critical. To that end, researchers at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University have developed technologies that drastically reduce the time needed to analyze saliva samples for the presence of COVID-19. This technology reduces the time to analyze a sample from an hour to approximately 15 minutes.

There are more interesting details, but back to the fruit …

Both are good; similar but different. Neither is better than the other.

However, when the apple releases its seeds to fall to the ground, it preserves its progeny and bears more apples. And when the orange withholds its seed, it and all its seed rot away.

Choices matter.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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