Death is no light matter. In fact, it is far more serious than most people think. If the Bible is true, death is a matter of eternal heaven or eternal hell. If people understood how truly serious death is, they would not be so frantically focused on trying to live a few years longer before physical death, they would be focused, rather, on finding salvation from eternal death.
Yes, the coronavirus is serious, but there has to be a proper perspective, which is not found in the panic-driven media or in the voices of a lot of men and women who should know better. They say we can’t live with coronavirus. We have to eradicate it at all cost. There can be no middle ground. If we have to kill the economy, we will kill the economy, but we can’t live with coronavirus death.
The reason that this is a wrong perspective is that we DO live with death. We are dying people in a world of death. This is the reality of life on earth. About 56 MILLION people die every year, which is 153,000 deaths PER DAY, 6,400 PER HOUR, every hour, hour after hour after hour.
We live with death in a thousand forms and we must learn how to live with coronavirus.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates, one of the world’s wealthiest men, has criticized President Trump’s focus on trying to get people back to work and restart the economy as soon as possible.
President Trump said, “You can destroy a country this way, by closing it down, where it literally goes from being the most prosperous. I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter” (‘Trump says he wants country ‘opened up’ by Easter,” NBC News, Mar. 24, 2020). Easter is on April 12 this year.
The President is right; such a goal is wise. He hasn’t said that he is going to ignore the coronavirus, and he certainly hasn’t acted like he is going to ignore it. He has not said that he is going to suddenly lift all restrictions on April 12 and let people move about and congregate as freely as before until the coronavirus is under control. He simply wants to find the best way to deal with the coronavirus on one hand and to keep the economy alive on the other. You would have to be an idiot to fault that.
But Bill Gates said, “It’s very tough to say to people, ‘Hey, keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner, we want you to keep spending because there’s some politician that thinks GDP growth is what counts’” (TEDS Connections, Mar. 24, 2020).
Gates says that there is “no middle ground” between the virus and the cost to the economy. Gates is a smart guy and he knows finances and world conditions as well as anyone, but in this matter he is not exercising wisdom. Like other liberal-minded people today, it appears that he simply hates Trump and wants to take pot shots at him. I don’t know his motive, but this appears to be what is happening, because he isn’t being logical.
Gates of all people should not make light of GDP growth. Everything about the modern, life-saving medical field has to do with money, lots and lots and lots of money. The fact that America has a highly trained medical corps, world-class medical research and education, efficient hospitals, life-saving drugs, the ability to invent and mass produce things like MRIs and ventilators and coronavirus testing devices, an efficient and pure drug distribution system, the operation of a competent, dependable ambulance service, and the ability of the people to access such things, is because we have a high GDP.
These things were not invented in nor developed by, and they are not enjoyed by, poor nations. We would wait forever for poor nations to develop a cure for coronavirus, or even a rapid testing mechanism.
It appears that Bill needs to leave his mansion on a lake and spend a few years (not a few hours) in a really poor nation to understand the value of a prosperous economy at a much more fundamental level. Microsoft didn’t come into existence and blossom into a multi-billion dollar enterprise that provides employment of a lot of people at a very healthy lifestyle in an environment of a destroyed economy.
In the many places on this earth today where the economy is weak, people die like flies. They die in infancy by the multitudes. If they survive infancy, they have a short lifespan compared to the prosperous “West.” They die of things that are routinely cured in prosperous places. Even if there are a few modern hospitals in the really poor nations, the vast majority of the people can’t afford to use them. Instead they go to the witchdoctors, the quacks, the poorly-trained doctors, the drug distributors that dispense corrupt medicines, the pathetically-equipped clinics, and they die. I think of a maternity hospital in one South Asian country in which about 90% of those who go into ICU die.
If you solve the coronavirus problem by killing the economy, you will cause more deaths in the long run by other means. There has to be some middle ground.
Bill Gates and his like-minded cronies need to support the President at this time instead of engaging in petty bickering. They need to rise above politics and use their genius to find ways to get people back to work as soon as possible, as widely as possible.
The bottom line is that we live in a world of death and dwell in a “body of this death” (Ro. 7:24). We live in a world where bodies would pile up in the corners every day if they weren’t disposed of, with or without the coronavirus. About 3 million people die of all causes in America every year, and 56 million worldwide. That’s MILLION. Worldwide, that’s 153,000 deaths per day, 6,400 PER HOUR, every hour, hour after hour after hour. The leading causes of death in America are, in the following order, heart disease, cancer, accidents, lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and influenza. People die in the womb (125,000 are aborted daily worldwide); they die in infancy; they die in childhood; they die in youth; they die as young adults; they die in midlife; they die in old age. Every soul on earth is going to die, sooner or later, by one means or another. We are dying people in a world of death. We are under the curse of death because of sin. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Ro. 6:23).
Many have mocked the comparison of covid-19 with the flu, but there is a comparison. Covid-19 is still a small thing compared to influenza, though it is yet to be seen how they will compare in the end. In 2018, THERE WERE 80,000 FLU DEATHS IN AMERICA (during the flu season which is about six months, which was about 450 deaths per day. Worldwide, about 1 billion people contract the flu, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, and about 500,000 die annually during the flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That is about 2740 FLU DEATHS PER DAY or 114 PER HOUR.
It appears that influenza is not as easily spread as coronavirus, but that influenza is very contagious is obvious by the massive numbers of infections annually. A billion! It is yet to be seen if covid-19 has a larger fatality rate, and is more deadly, than influenza.
If influenza infections and fatalities were to be tracked on a chart and updated in real time and broadcast continually from every news site on earth and flashed across the length and breadth of social media as per covid-19, there would be unending panic every year. The six-foot rule would be a permanent reality.
The largest global infectious pandemic is tuberculosis (TB), which sickens 10 million and kills 1.5 million annually (4,100 deaths per day, 173 deaths per hour, one death every 3 seconds). It is the world’s No. 1 infectious killer and the ninth-leading cause of death worldwide. WHO estimates that 1.8 billion people are infected by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB. It is a global disease, found in every country in the world. “TB is an airborne disease that can be spread by coughing or sneezing and is the leading cause of infectious disease worldwide. There is growing resistance to available drugs, which means the disease is becoming more deadly and difficult to treat. There were more than half a million cases of drug resistant TB last year” (TBAlliance.org).
Again, this is not to make light of the coronavirus. It is a major problem. No one is making light of it, that I know of. But there has to be a proper perspective, which is not found in the panic-driven media. We do live with death. It is reality, and we must learn how to live with coronavirus.
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