In Which I Consider the Propriety of Tying a Bandanna Around My Head and Coming Off the Top Ropes

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dmyers's picture

Idaho is now in lockdown statewide -- with 136 total cases and zero deaths, with more than half our counties with zero cases, and with (as far as has been reported) only one hospitalization. This is insanity. It's also incompetence; the text of the lockdown order is logically and linguistically incomprehensible in places, cowardly in others (church services are necessarily banned, but they won't just come out and say so), and unenforceable (and therefore high-handed) in others. But the governor presumably must do this to quell the panic, which is mostly media-driven; your average Idahoan has more sense of proportion than government leaders and the media. No one with a public profile is willing to ask if the economic disaster for everyday people is justified and, if it is, why we've never behaved this way before in similar enough situations. 
 

And so I appreciate Wilson's reminder that not only the virus but the panic and the incompetence are all from God and are no ultimate threat. 

Ken S's picture

It would be hard for me to truly express how much I disagree with this article. Look at what is happening in NYC right now, and is likely to continue to get much worse. Hospitals in my area in PA are already running out of supplies and requesting people from the community to provide anything they can to help.

The lockdowns are intended to prevent the exponential spread of sickness, especially in places where there is currently little sickness. Ease up restrictions and it will spread so fast that hospitals across the country are going to be overwhelmed like Italy and Spain currently are. I'd love to be proven wrong about this, but the statistics are not trending in that direction.

I'm also repulsed by theology that teaches that God sent this disease to us and it's part of his perfect design, but I suspect I'm in the minority on this forum.

TylerR's picture

Editor

You're right. God had no idea this would happen. He's just as surprised as the rest of us. But, like a good chess player, He's formulating a counter stroke to bring good out of it.

Not ...

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ken S's picture

I don't believe that God's omniscience requires that he is the cause and designer of something like this. I don't engage well with snark, so I'm just going to leave it at that.

TylerR's picture

Editor

No worries.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Mark_Smith's picture

is Luke 13:1-5. Let me paraphrase. Jesus noted that Pilate had killed a bunch of Galilean worshippers at the temple, and the Tower of Siloam fell on people and killed several. Were these people worse than anyone else? Did they deserve death more than you because they were bad sinners? No. I tell you you all need to repent lest the same thing happen to you!

RajeshG's picture

Amos 3:6

Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?

Mike Harding's picture

What is missing is proportion.  The all-or-nothing approach to this problem only creates more problems and worse problems.  I work in a hotbed of the Corona virus--Oakland County, Mich.  We have a church of 500 plus, a school of 260, a music academy, and we are the sole sponsor of Bethany Villa--a 240 bedroom community for Seniors. I understand the threat.  My wife and I are both 63 and I have several health issues already.  So I am a good candidate for death, should I get this virus.  My mother is 83 with congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic lung issues, and more.  My wife's parents are both 93.  Again, I get the threat more than most.  However, I also understand the threat of closing down an entire country and the tens of thousands of deaths nationwide and hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide that economic collapse and ensuing poverty will cause. What effect will that have on my four married children and soon-to-be 13 grandchildren? Already I have had two people directly and indirectly die this week, not because of the Corona virus, but because of the reaction to the virus.  One man had his "elective" surgery put off, and as a result he died yesterday.  Another man in my church lost is livelihood on account of the virus and unexpectedly died of a heart attack last Sunday.  He was 59 and in good health, but broken over the loss of his job.  Many leaders have lost all sense of proportion.  There is no risk-free utopia. We need measured responses, not hysterical responses, some of which have a godless political agenda. Dr. Bill Bennett says the missing element is proportion.  Pandemics have happened before and they will happen again.  Some people will die no matter what we do.  We must do all we can to reduce death from the virus and simultaneously do all we can to reduce death from economic collapse, depression, and impoverishment.  Any approach that ignores this dual responsibility is off-balance.  Some hot-spots must be shut down, but not the whole country.  In my state the Governor (Dem) has shut down just about everything.  Amazingly, liquor stores, pot stores, Planned Parenthood, and Abortion Clinics are fully functioning and open for business.  They are "life-sustaining" businesses.  By the way, 800,000 babies will be murdered this year in America.  Where's the outrage and panic over that?

Pastor Mike Harding

TylerR's picture

Editor

Mike Harding wrote:

There is no risk-free utopia. We need measured responses, not hysterical responses, some of which have a godless political agenda.

Yes, yes and yes. I am increasingly disgusted by the response from WA State. Total lockdown until 08 April. US unemployment claims were 3.2 million last week; the worst ever. The economy is going down. I subscribe to NYT and WSJ and read them daily; I don't get my news from social media. I still have not heard a case for why this response is necessary, given what mankind has faced in the past. Why this response, to this crisis, in this way? Why is this a correct proportional response?

I am also disgusted by the disconnect between "protecting lives now" by this response to COVID-19, but the illogic of the sacrament of abortion championed by the same politicians.

I am reluctant to air my concerns about my State government's response in any public venue for fear of putting a bad "face" on the congregation and unwittingly influencing folks to defy the State government. Still, I am very unhappy, Not sure how best to articulate these concerns in these times.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

dmyers's picture

Very sorry to hear of those losses in your congregation.  Prayers for their families.

dmyers's picture

From a different blog post re Coronavirus:  "I want to maintain that it is usually those who are losing their heads who are the ones who don’t understand the situation, and that they are frequently the ones most vehement in their views, and of the need for us all to act now. As I said, that is usually how it goes, and all the indicators are that this situation is no exception, except that this one is on stilts."

dmyers's picture

Ken S wrote:

I don't believe that God's omniscience requires that he is the cause and designer of something like this.

Ken, contrast what you believe/don't believe with what God has said in innumerable places in scripture, including this:  "“If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.”

How can God promise to protect Israel from diseases if He is not the "cause and designer" of those diseases?  If He has no causal role and no control over diseases, He has no ability to protect His people from them if they obey Him.  Why would He say explicitly that He "put [diseases] on the Egyptians" if He hadn't or wasn't even able to?  He is made a liar and we are made hopeless under your theology.

For your comfort, as well as for your orthodoxy, I urge you as a brother to accept God's sovereignty over every molecule in creation.  As just one resource, I recommend watching or listening to R.C. Sproul's sermon, "If God Is Good, Why Do I Suffer?" -- available here:  https://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/classic_collection/if-god-is-good-...?

Mark_Smith's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Amos 3:6

Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?

The point is that calamity comes from God for the purpose of leading us to repentance.

Steve Davis's picture

Wlson is in Idaho where it seems there are fewer cases and I suspect fewer people in close contact than in major urban centers. I'm no more an expert than Wilson or anyone else on this thread. I'm not panicking and am not overly concerned about myself (although like Mike Harding I'm among the elderly :-). Yet some of the statements made by Wilson and others reflect their context. He says that "the over-reaction to the virus is even more extraordinary." Try telling that to people in my area where as testing increases the numbers increase exponentially. No one knows if the present rate will hold steady. If it does, at least in my area, there's no knowing how many will die. We won't really know if there's been an overreaction until this thing is done, if then. We will know if we under-reacted and that's a real danger as well. Over, under, yes there is proportion. But I don't know what that balance is. I'm not sure anyone does, least those who think they do. Like many in the Philly area, I'm sheltering in place most of the time but I work as a therapist and still go to the office for telehealth. I shop for food but didn't need to stock up on TP. There isn't any anyway. I'd rather work at home or be laid off. Considered essential for some reason. Circumstances are out of our control. But people should not pretend they know there is overreaction (although it might be in unaffected areas), at least not yet. Another nugget of faux wisdom was repeated earlier "that it is usually those who are losing their heads who are the ones who don’t understand the situation." I wonder if this person understands the situation. Others compare Covid-19 to the swine flu or other viruses to show how relatively few have died without considering that it ain't over until the fat lady sings. So Wilson might be right, for where he is, but his viewpoint is provincial and reflects a tiny slice of reality. We livestreamed this past Sunday and may for several weeks. The message was from Psalm 46: I will not fear, I will not faint, I will not fret. You all seem to have plenty of time. Check it out on our church website. And wash your hands,

dmyers's picture

Food for thought from David Horowitz:  

https://www.conservativereview.com/news/horowitz-coronavirus-begin-us-ma...

"Knowing when the virus began and what we think occurred in January and February (and perhaps even December) will help determine not only how severe this virus is, but how far along we are into the epidemic. If we really had hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of cases, along with several thousand more fatalities prior to testing, that would mean that the mortality rate is even lower than the 1.2% post-testing average so far. It would also mean we are farther along in the epidemic and that many have already been exposed to it, thereby making a categorical and nationwide lockdown counterintuitive at this point."

Further, the Imperial College of U.K. projection on which the UK's and the US's lock-downs are predicated has now been significantly downgraded.  Instead of 500,000 dead in the UK and hospitals overrun with cases, the projection is now only (I know, but still) 20,000 dead (i.e., only 4% of the original projection) and adequate hospital capacity:  

https://www.dailywire.com/news/epidemiologist-behind-highly-cited-corona...

"After just one day of ordered lockdowns in the U.K., Ferguson is presenting drastically downgraded estimates, crediting lockdown measures, but also revealing that far more people likely have the virus than his team figured."

Layman's query:  how can anyone "credit[] lockdown measures" for any of this revised projection only one day after those measures took effect?  Sounds like CYA language, meaning that 100% of the reason for the huge revision is the terrible inaccuracy of their initial assumptions.

Don Johnson's picture

dmyers wrote:

How can God promise to protect Israel from diseases if He is not the "cause and designer" of those diseases?  If He has no causal role and no control over diseases, He has no ability to protect His people from them if they obey Him.  Why would He say explicitly that He "put [diseases] on the Egyptians" if He hadn't or wasn't even able to?  He is made a liar and we are made hopeless under your theology.

David, of course this line of discussion takes us into the endless Calvinism vs. Arminianism (and all points in between) debate. I think we should refrain from making conclusions about matters on which the Scriptures are silent. To conclude that God is the cause and designer of all diseases because he makes a promise to protect Israel from certain diseases is to go beyond what the Scripture actually reveals.

Quite clearly God is able to do anything he wants, including allow a broken creation to continue in its breakdown.

Regardless, just because you don't care for Arminian theology, who are you to say that its adherents are made hopeless? I have yet to see any Christian theology (I don't include Open Theism as a Christian theology) that is devoid of hope. Arminians and Calvinists and Molinists and others, Bible believers all, hope in Christ. Far from a hopeless theology. Your saying that other theologies are hopeless reflects a kind of spiritual pride that isn't all that attractive.

In any case, back to the topic at hand, there is NO Scriptural proof that God specifically sent the Wuhan virus for a specific reason. There are plenty of general statements that make it clear God COULD have sent it for a specific reason. Beyond that, it is useless to speculate what that specific reason might be, other than a general wake up call for mankind to get right with God. To say something else goes beyond what the Bible says.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

RajeshG's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Amos 3:6

Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?

 

 

The point is that calamity comes from God for the purpose of leading us to repentance.

Yes, God wants to use calamity to lead people to repentance. Amos 3:6, however, is unequivocally asserting (through a rhetorical question that demands an affirmative answer) that God is the One who ultimately has done it whenever calamity comes to a town.

dmyers's picture

Yeah, you know, those Idahoans, they're all backward, ignorant, and insular.  No access to TV or cable news; no access to the internet -- they don't even know what those things are.  They have no way of knowing what's happening in Philadelphia or D.C. or the UK, only what's going on in their teeny tiny backward rural town where everyone is always more than six feet apart at church, at work, at the grocery store (of course, that's assuming they even have a real job or a grocery store).  It's sad, and certainly justifies the condescending attitudes of the big city boys from Philadelphia and other East Coast utopias of intellectualism and "real world" experience.

Or, put another way, your response to Wilson is a complete fallacy.  Do you have a substantive response, or statistics, or anything?  Of course as the number of tests increase so does the number of cases; that's math.  And yes there is a way of at least reasonably estimating the maximum number of deaths -- the data we already have, especially from contained situations like the Diamond Princess cruise ship (i.e., no more than 1%, and even then only as to an older-skewed population).  As more data comes in, that death rate estimate will drop, not rise.

You say you "don't know what that balance is. I'm not sure anyone does, least those who think they do."  But you're pretty adamant that the current lock-downs are not an over reaction and that anything less would be an under reaction.  You are contradicting yourself on both your competence and the competence of others.  And if we're basing our evaluation of the proper balance on anecdotal experience of "people in our area," go someplace where the residents are living (bi-monthly) paycheck to paycheck, don't have the luxury of being considered essential and therefore have been laid off for at least 3-4 weeks (based on fear, not facts), won't get any government subsidy until May at the earliest, and in the meantime have to feed themselves and their dependents, worry about their credit rating and whether their car will be repossessed in the meantime or whether they'll get evicted, likely work for a small business that won't be in existence in May or June or July and therefore can't count on having a job to go back to if and when they're allowed to, etc.  What part of economic catastrophe for millions of real people do you not understand?

dmyers's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

 

dmyers wrote:

 

How can God promise to protect Israel from diseases if He is not the "cause and designer" of those diseases?  If He has no causal role and no control over diseases, He has no ability to protect His people from them if they obey Him.  Why would He say explicitly that He "put [diseases] on the Egyptians" if He hadn't or wasn't even able to?  He is made a liar and we are made hopeless under your theology.

 

 

David, of course this line of discussion takes us into the endless Calvinism vs. Arminianism (and all points in between) debate. I think we should refrain from making conclusions about matters on which the Scriptures are silent. To conclude that God is the cause and designer of all diseases because he makes a promise to protect Israel from certain diseases is to go beyond what the Scripture actually reveals.Quite clearly God is able to do anything he wants, including allow a broken creation to continue in its breakdown.

Regardless, just because you don't care for Arminian theology, who are you to say that its adherents are made hopeless? I have yet to see any Christian theology (I don't include Open Theism as a Christian theology) that is devoid of hope. Arminians and Calvinists and Molinists and others, Bible believers all, hope in Christ. Far from a hopeless theology. Your saying that other theologies are hopeless reflects a kind of spiritual pride that isn't all that attractive.

In any case, back to the topic at hand, there is NO Scriptural proof that God specifically sent the Wuhan virus for a specific reason. There are plenty of general statements that make it clear God COULD have sent it for a specific reason. Beyond that, it is useless to speculate what that specific reason might be, other than a general wake up call for mankind to get right with God. To say something else goes beyond what the Bible says.

Don, you're misinformed.  My point has nothing to do with Calvinism vs. Arminianism, and couching the issue in those terms is a dodge, not a response -- let alone a rebuttal. You say the scriptures are silent, but I just quoted you a single scripture (out of hundreds or more) that is NOT silent, and you made no effort to engage with that scripture.  How about the other scriptures that others have cited here?  How about the hundreds of other scriptures all proclaiming God's omnipotence and sovereignty over all kinds of natural disasters, human wrongdoing, and other manifestations of the Fall?  Do you really espouse the God of rabbi Kushner ("When Bad Things Happen to Good People") -- the God who is really sorry for us when we suffer but can't do anything about it and has no control over it, because He's not really sovereign?  I don't think you do, and I don't think Steven does either, which is why I encouraged him to do some additional study.  I'd encourage you to do the same.  You can't offer yourself or any of your congregants any real hope if all you can tell them is that sometimes these things happen and God had nothing to do with it.  

Contrary to the implication of your last paragraph, I made no claim to know the specific reason for the Wuhan virus (you racist, you), nor did I make any effort to speculate.  But to say that it wasn't God or that God didn't/doesn't have a reason is, at bottom, blasphemy.  I know you don't want to make that mistake, but you have, and you need to re-evaluate your thinking on this.

Sorry, gotta go to a church council meeting to figure out how some specific ways to care for our congregation now.  One thing we won't be doing is telling them that God isn't  in control or that He has no purpose in any of this.

Steve Davis's picture

@ dmyers I'm amazed you could read all of that into what I wrote. I don't know if Idaho needed lockdown. The only thing I know about the state is potatoes. Like I said it's context. Wilson's view is provincial. It may reflect what's happening there. What is happening in many large cities can't be compared (yet) to what's happening in other areas - like PA counties. There are areas harder hit. Wilson's no expert, you're no expert, neither am I. I admit my lack of competency in the matter. I'm sorry if the lockdown is affecting you badly. 

Mark_Smith's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

 Amos 3:6, however, is unequivocally asserting (through a rhetorical question that demands an affirmative answer) that God is the One who ultimately has done it whenever calamity comes to a town.

And... funny that Luke 13 points to Pilate's role as well. The key idea is NOT that God did something. The important thing is WHY. The next verse, Amos 3:7, says God gives His counsel to His prophets, so the people know how to interpret why something is happening. In Israel's case, that they know God was punishing them because of their deliberate sin against Him.

RajeshG's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

 Amos 3:6, however, is unequivocally asserting (through a rhetorical question that demands an affirmative answer) that God is the One who ultimately has done it whenever calamity comes to a town.

 

 

And... funny that Luke 13 points to Pilate's role as well. The key idea is NOT that God did something. The important thing is WHY. The next verse, Amos 3:7, says God gives His counsel to His prophets, so the people know how to interpret why something is happening. In Israel's case, that they know God was punishing them because of their deliberate sin against Him.

Amos 3:6 does not support your notion that the important thing is *why* and not *who*; it plainly reveals that it was God who has done it. The further teaching of 3:7 does not minimize or take away from the importance of what God taught in 3:6 in any way.

Ken S's picture

dmyers wrote:

 

Ken S wrote:

 

I don't believe that God's omniscience requires that he is the cause and designer of something like this.

 

 

Ken, contrast what you believe/don't believe with what God has said in innumerable places in scripture, including this:  "“If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.”

How can God promise to protect Israel from diseases if He is not the "cause and designer" of those diseases?  If He has no causal role and no control over diseases, He has no ability to protect His people from them if they obey Him.  Why would He say explicitly that He "put [diseases] on the Egyptians" if He hadn't or wasn't even able to?  He is made a liar and we are made hopeless under your theology.

For your comfort, as well as for your orthodoxy, I urge you as a brother to accept God's sovereignty over every molecule in creation.  As just one resource, I recommend watching or listening to R.C. Sproul's sermon, "If God Is Good, Why Do I Suffer?" -- available here:  https://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/classic_collection/if-god-is-good-...?

I would agree with you that if God had no power over the coronavirus my theology would be hopeless. However, I absolutely believe that God has power over the coronavirus and could eradicate it in an instant if he chose to. But why does that mean he had to be the one that caused it? I don't follow the reasoning that God is powerless over a plague unless he is also the cause and designer of it. I'm curious what you would think of the following verses where Jesus had power over disease that was not caused by God, but rather by Satan.

Luke 13:10-16 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

 

Acts 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

 

To me, it seems pretty clear from these verses that God had power over the disease, but it's also clear that he was not the one who brought the disease. It was the work of Satan.

I don't think any of us has the ability to know why the coronavirus is here. I won't be telling the people in my church that God is powerless over the virus, but I also won't be telling them that he is the cause and designer of it. I will be telling them that although we don't know the reason why it's here, God can and will bring purpose to any situation including this one.

Mark_Smith's picture

Ken S wrote:

I don't think any of us has the ability to know why the coronavirus is here. I won't be telling the people in my church that God is powerless over the virus, but I also won't be telling them that he is the cause and designer of it. I will be telling them that although we don't know the reason why it's here, God can and will bring purpose to any situation including this one.

Yes, I would like to know from the experts which "worse sinners" is the coronavirus going after?

The lost hedonists? The drug users? The abortionists?

The "Christians" who never read their Bible, pray, or attend church for any reason other than to check a box and criticize others?

Your divorced Christian brother/sister? The pastor who watches porn in secret? The gossip?

Just who is the target? I would like to know?

And, if you can, explain what the people in nursing homes did that was so bad to get this virus since it is raging in several?

Bert Perry's picture

Apart from the debates over divine sovereignty, it strikes me that Proverbs 27:12 marks some of the boundaries; we are called not just to act on the issues we know for sure, but also those we can reasonably foresee, and that would be in light of things like the rate (see article about 34 people infected from one church event, Seattle area nursing home, NY synagogue, etc..) at which people can become infected.

And the more hopeful "flip side" of this is the degree to which this is not happening as people use social distancing to reduce the rate of transmission.  And on the light side, this is not from the Babylon Bee; a church has donated their Chick-Fil-A points to buy lunch for 500 hospital workers.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dmyers's picture

As we know from the first chapter of Job, Satan can't do anything without God's permission.  God uses Satan's activity, just as he uses man's sin, to accomplish His ordained purposes.

John Piper had a blog post yesterday that probably summarizes the truth better than I would, so I'll defer to him:

This is not a season for sentimental views of God. It is a bitter season. And God sent it. We know this, because he “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11). All things. Not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from our heavenly Father (Matthew 10:29). 

Nature is not sovereign. Satan is not sovereign. Sinful man is not sovereign. God rules them all (Luke 8:25; Job 1:12; 2:6; Acts 4:27–28). So, we say with Job, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

Therefore, God not only comprehends the coronavirus; he has purposes for it. God does nothing, and permits nothing, without wise purposes. Nothing just happens. Everything flows from the eternal counsels of God (Ephesians 1:11). All of it is wisdom. All of it is purposeful. For those who trust Jesus Christ, all of it is kindness. For others, it is a merciful wake-up call: “Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Revelation 22:17).

Hope this helps.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Maybe a test case to see who was right. Sweden isn't going to the draconian measures of other countries. Time will tell.

https://nationalpost.com/news/world/sweden-refuses-to-lockdown-the-count...

As someone who has relatives in Sweden, Sweden doesn't need to shut down their country because they already socially distance themselves at least 6 ft.  Its part of their culture.   Check out the video.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JHgLF6X9KU

Bert Perry's picture

Per Joel's comment, I'm hoping for obvious reasons that Scandinavian culture will be helpful in Minnesota, too.  :^)

Seriously, as someone who was working significantly from home even before Minnesota's governor issued quarantine orders, I have to note that a lot of thinking people were self-quarantining way before then.  So the government led quarantine is, in my view, simply a way of persuading rebellious people to do what they should have been doing already.  

And like Joel says, north of the Italian Alps and east of the Rhine, all the way into Scandinavia, there are some very conformist social habits combined with greater social distance.  So they might not need to issue government orders there in the same way that they do south of the Alps.  Either way, though, they're aiming for about the same behaviors. 

And a ministry thought for those who (a) have survived and cleared COVID-19 and (b) have ministry experience or predilection; it's said that a lot of people are dying alone from COVID-19, and might benefit hugely from someone who is "safe" to simply sit by them, maybe call relatives from time to time, etc..

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.