David French reflects on “the distinctions between recklessness, courage, and cowardice.”

"There exists within Christianity a temptation to performative acts that masquerade as fearlessness. In reality, this recklessness represents—as the early church father John Chrysostom called it—'display and vainglory.'" - Coronavirus, Courage, and the Second Temptation of Christ

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Mark_Smith's picture

was on Meet the Press yesterday, willing and able to blame the evil dictator Trump for everything that is wrong with the world. I hope the check from NBC cleared.

Mark_Smith's picture

You know, here is a little history.

In 1968-1969, the Hong Kong Flu (H3N2), please forgive me for the racist and bigoted name, that is what it was called, killed around 100,000 Americans, and at least 1 million worldwide. That was actually considered a minor pandemic in light of the 1958 flu pandemic...

In 1958 there was an Asian Flu (H2N2), once again, pardon the racist and bigoted name, that swept the world. Numbers vary on this because people didn't track it as closely as you might expect. At a minimum 100,000 Americans died, but more likely the numbers were more like 300,000.

Then you all know about the 1918 Spanish Flu.

So, I just thought I would share. Do with those numbers what you will.

I asked my mother, who was born in 1945, if she remembered bad flu epidemics in her memory, and she says she doesn't... Perhaps you can ask your older family members what they recall.

Joel Shaffer's picture

In 1968-1969, the Hong Kong Flu (H3N2), please forgive me for the racist and bigoted name, that is what it was called, killed around 100,000 Americans, and at least 1 million worldwide. That was actually considered a minor pandemic in light of the 1958 flu pandemic...

In 1958 there was an Asian Flu (H2N2), once again, pardon the racist and bigoted name, that swept the world. Numbers vary on this because people didn't track it as closely as you might expect. At a minimum 100,000 Americans died, but more likely the numbers were more like 300,000.

All I can say, is that I'm glad that I am not a missionary in China at this time where I have to deal with additional political barriers to cross when preaching the gospel and making disciples, such as our POTUS going out of his way to create an additional label for the pandemic (China Virus). Labeling the disease in the manner that Trump is a cultural slap in the people of China's face and has made the discipling ministry of a missionary friend of mine in China much more difficult, creating additional (and unnecessary) cultural/political barriers to cross. 

Here's another question, so would you have been OK if countries around the world had labeled the Swine Flu (H1N1) as the "American Flu," because through air travel we infected the entire world with it? (leading to 284,000 deaths). 

 

Mark_Smith's picture

Are you aware that the Chinese government is pushing hard in their media to blame this bug on the US? That is why POTUS is calling it the Chinese Flu. Any comment on that? Amazing that it is all Trump's fault, but not the real dictator's fault. Anyway....

As for H1N1, it originated in China, in pigs. Not America. So why would you call it the American Flu?

What about the numbers who died in previous epidemics?

Mark_Smith's picture

If I was a missionary in China, my problems are A LOT CLOSER TO HOME than what Trump says. I would be dodging police trying to shut my group down...

JohnBrian's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

You know, here is a little history.

In 1968-1969, the Hong Kong Flu (H3N2),

I was a child in elementary school in Jamaica when I first heard of the HK flu. The Gleaner had a student paper that may have been published monthly and passed out free in my school. There was a dialect poem that appeared in that paper titled "The Hong Kong Flu," and at 1 time I had it memorized.

Here is what I do remember:

Di Hong Kong flu is down pon us

and mi was di one fi ketch it fus [first]

all ah di New Year mi was sick in bed

wid dis ragin' flu inna mi head

mi auntie come dung [down] from town [Kingston is called town]

an give mi some medicine dat mek mi frown

now all mi tryin' fi tell oono [you] seh [say]

is when dis flu reach yuh, jus' run away

#thethingswerememberfromchldhood

 

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Bert Perry's picture

Yes, thank God, other epidemics have killed far more people than COVID-19 has so far.  However, it's false logic to compare the death tolls once other epidemics have played out to the numbers we're seeing while COVID-19 is getting ramped up.  Rather, the proper numbers are those which show the disease's progress over time--that gives both the overall impact as well as the effective virulence of the disease and the effectiveness of measures to slow/reverse its spread.

(in other words, the mathematics for comparing epidemics ought to be consistent with the mathematics of epidemics--a standard geometric/exponential progression)

Regarding what to call it, there's a long tradition of calling epidemics by their supposed place of origin, and with the exception of sexually transmitted diseases, I don't believe that people really blame the people from the place of origin for the epidemic. 

Well, perhaps at least until recently.  And even with STDs, we might note that those who would, say, call syphilis "the French disease" or "the English disease" are often trying to deflect responsibility for the fact that they got it, and that to get it, they generally had to do something to earn it.  Regarding this one, we can also point out that the point of it all is to point at the communist government, not the Chinese people.

I can understand, though, if some "don't exactly get that nuance."   Probably something we do want to take into account.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

I just reported historical numbers. That's it. I told people to do with the numbers as they wished.

Bert Perry's picture

And no sirree, there was no kind of motivation for that comment.  Certainly nobody is using false historical comparisons to argue that the steps the nation is taking to curtail the epidemic are too draconian or anything, except that's precisely what many are doing, and that's precisely the import of your statements on this topic, Mark.

I've got no objection to the historical perspective in perspective, which is of course that the Spanish flu, the Asian flu, and all the others have all played out, and the coronavirus has not.  At one point in time, all the others had a similar trajectory to COVID-19, and if you'd taken the snapshot of overall deaths or infections, you would have come to the conclusion that since the Spanish flu was not as bad (yet) as smallpox or the bubonic plague, that it really wasn't worth responding to.

Which would have been the exact wrong response, of course.  Let's keep epidemiological concepts in perspective, which shouldn't be that hard, because we all learned about the exponential growth of infectious disease when we were in health class in school.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

is 300,000 people died of flu in the US in 1958 and no one shut the country down and acted like the entire world was going to end, and that Dwight Eisenhower was a racist bigot who hates people and wants people to die. That is the point.