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Coronavirus – the Bad News and the Good News..Facts and Fears

Coronavirus continues to dominate the news, the airwaves and the Internet.  It becomes ever harder to determine the truth from the hysteria or the denials.  It’s for that reason that I would recommend subscribing to Dr John Campbell’s YouTube– he is balanced, factual and scientific.  And then switch off the endless news!

Also read this from my colleague Steve McAlpine

And this from the Sydney Morning Herald –

Screenshot 2020-03-12 11.08.50I am also proud (and a wee bit concerned) that my beautiful EJ is now a coronavirus nurse in London.  She is able to give me an insight into both the seriousness and hysteria surrounding this.  It appears that the biggest danger is the threat to vital staff who maintain services – and the enormous pressure they will come under. Pray for her and all those on the frontline.

This from the UK government’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer – Dr Jenny Harries is also very helpful.

I much prefer getting information from experts – not media who rely on clickbait to get sales, or politicians who pontificate with little knowledge just to show how much they care.   Merkel says that 55 million Germans will get coronavirus.   In the UK Rory Stewart is tweeting out doomsday predictions every day.  It appears as though some of Democrats in the US are longing for a coronavirus recession so that they can blame Trump, who in turn obliges by speaking about how he understands this better than most people!

The latest updates are fascinating…

The bad news:

  1. Italy – 12,000 cases – over 900 deaths. The whole country in lockdown.
  2.  Denmark – 1500 cases – country in lockdown.
  3.  Economic panic on the stockmarkets – with the biggest crashes for decades – and governments pledging billions to deal with the downturn caused by this panic.
  4. The WHO has declared that Covid19 is now a pandemic.
  5. President Trump bans travel to and from Europe.

The good news:

  1. China says it is now basically under control especially in Wuhan – where the number of new cases yesterday was 17 and all 16 temporary hospitals have now been closed and public services started up again.
  2. South Korea has seen five days where the number of new cases has dropped dramatically.  With around 10,000 cases and only 30 deaths (contrast with Italy).   Taiwan also seems to have controlled it.
  3. Russia, Mongolia, Singapore are likewise reporting a low number of cases.
  4. In Australia, where the first case was detected two months ago we now have 122 cases (3 deaths).
  5. The death rate is now predicted to be less than 1% (more or less the same as for seasonal flu) not the 3% being shouted from the rooftops.   Bear in mind that 120 Americans die every day of car deaths, 128 of opioid abuse….throughout the world 1.6 million die every year from TB.  We badly need a sense of perspective.

So why the difference between the countries?  Why does Merkel say that 70% of Germans will get it but only one in 20,000 Chinese have?   I suspect it is effective government action, sensible precautions, and the early detection of cases.  Also border controls seem to have made a difference.  For example here in Australia;  general travellers from China, South Korea, Iran and Italy are not permitted.   This is at a tremendous cost to the tourism and education industries in the short term but seems to have been effective.

I found this from John Paul Watson fascinating (disclaimer – I am not endorsing everything Watson says or his language – but there is much in this that is stimulating and informative).


I found this comment particularly insightful:

“The coronavirus has triggered our inherently ingrained fear of our own mortality, its a reminder that we are all going to die, so panic buying restores that sense of control over death, temporarily alleviating the deep-seated fear of our own fragile mortality”

Which brings me back to the Christian response.    We are all going to die.  We all need to prepare for that.  Death is not the end.  There is an eternity beyond the grave.    Increasingly I find myself meditating on the words of Jesus in Luke

Luke 13:1    Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Coronavirus, bushfires, floods, plague of locusts…all reminders that we live in a broken world and we are dying people….and a reminder of why we need the Good News of the one who came to heal, forgive, restore, renew and save.

I am a little disappointed at the way that some of the Church has reacted – just basically mirroring the culture.   There was a time when the Church was not afraid to face up to death – nor were they afraid to tell people the hard truth.    This from the BCP is wonderful.  Can you imagine any of the current main church leaders coming out with this?

“Dearly beloved, know this, that Almighty God is the Lord of life and death, and of all things pertaining to them; youth, strength, health, age, weakness, and sickness.  Wherefore, whatever your sickness is, know certainly that it is God’s visitation.

And whatever the cause this sickness is sent unto you; whether it is to try your patience for the example of others, and that your faith may be found in the day of the Lord laudable, glorious, and honourable, to the increase of glory and endless felicity or else it be sent to you to correct and amend whatever does offend the eyes of your heavenly Father; know certainly, that if you truly repent of your sins, and bear your sickness patiently, trusting in God’s mercy, for his dear Son Jesus Christ’s sake, and render to him humble thanks for his fatherly visitation, submitting yourself wholly unto his will, it shall turn to your profit, and help you forward in the right way that leads to everlasting life”

A Clear Conversation about Coronavirus

Coronavirus Crazy



  1. Wow: think I’d better get a copy of the Book of Common Prayer – I always find Cranmer’s Collects inspiring!

  2. Do you believe China when they say that it is now basically under control especially in Wuhan – where the number of new cases yesterday was 17. In a country the size of China how can they give this precise figure. It seems that if someone in China dies without being tested then they are not counted as corona virus.
    I would have much more confidence in Merkel when she says that 55 million Germans will get coronavirus (presumably based on advice from her medical experts), than anything coming from China.
    “Almighty God is the Lord of life and death”

  3. Cheers m’dear. Today I have sore throat, runny nose and a bit of a temperature. This was a calming post.
    All the best.

  4. “I am a little disappointed at the way that some of the Church has reacted – just basically mirroring the culture. There was a time when the Church was not afraid to face up to death – nor were they afraid to tell people the hard truth.”
    Who cares if the sick and the elderly die as long as David Robertson can defend his dogmatism that’s all that matters! Why do a few Christians seem to hate the world so much in favour of never never land or as George Orwell called it in Animal Farm – Sugarcandy Mountain. What is this obsession with the culture of death instead of life and helping the vulnerable. When did these Christians lose their way and become anti-Christian?

    1. Its precisely because we care about the sick and elderly and don’t share the dogmatism, self absorption and greed of the atheistic secularists that we don’t mirror the culture. Its you who want rid of the weak and vulnerable. I don’t want to mirror the culture of people bulk buying toilet paper….Its also irrational and bizarre that you are anti-Christian and complain about people not being Christian…

  5. Hi David, thanks for this. Just a correction – a 1% mortality rate is not the same as seasonal flu. Swine flu which was quite serious had a mortality rate of 0.025% and flu has a mortality rate of below 0.1% usually. Spanish flu in 1918, on the other hand had an estimated mortality rate of 2-3% (and killed more people than the first world war). If we had Spanish flu today, it would prob be about 1% mortality rate . So it’s like if we had Spanish flu today – that’s why everyone is concerned. Hope you are doing well, greetings from myself Anna and Timothy.

    1. Thanks Max….the mortality rate for flu is lower largely because of the vaccines we have. WE don’t yet have a vaccine for coronavirus. The mortality rate for coronavirus is currently 3.4% (WHO) but is likely to be between 0.5% and 1.5% significantly higher than seasonal flu – until we get a vaccine. But this is mostly for those with a precondition (like yours truly) and the elderly with preconditions (like my parents)…

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