March 17, 2020

Iran warned its people that "millions" may die. This came "after hard-line Shiite faithful... pushed their way into the courtyards of two major shrines that had just been closed over fears of the virus."

AP reports.

This is very sad. It shows the problem of embedding people too deeply in religion. They feel they need to get to the shrine, apparently.
Meanwhile, Iran’s supreme leader issued a religious ruling prohibiting “unnecessary” travel in the country.
It's possible that religion can help people follow orders and that the religious leaders can look to medical experts to decide what orders to give. In the abstract, I might guess that it's easier for an authoritarian country to make everyone do what needs to be done. But concretely, we see religious people crowding and pushing into a closed shrine. They're gathering and having more contact with each other than usual.

Please comment, but ask yourself before hitting the publish button: Am I helping?

The whole world is in this together, and it seems to be worse in Iran than anywhere else.

181 comments:

Phidippus said...

Why is this epidemic so severe in Italy and Iran?

Very on-point article just up on Power Line: https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2020/03/why-italy-and-iran.php

Money quote: "Relying on China for economic development was never a good idea, but it turned out to be more dangerous than we knew."

If understanding helps, I think I helped.

Jersey Fled said...

I would say that it's a problem of embedding people too deeply in a particular religion.

rhhardin said...

Modern medicine didn't plan on the faithful population explosion.

Oso Negro said...

I guess it is some buried religious impulse, or free-riding on Judeo-Christian values that informs the sympathy for the suffering of a people who have been all too happy to march around shouting “death to America” for the past 40 years. Oh, and on a personal note, they were trying to kill my son and his fellow Marines in Iraq. So I am helping by questioning the need for compassion for people who pretty much hate our guts. I feel no such compassion, and further suspect that they were up to no good with the Chinese. If they all die, the world may be better off.

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...

Couldn’t happen to a nicer country.

Jersey Fled said...

In the U.S. the opposite happened as millions did not attend live services this weekend, but attended online.

Bob Smith said...

Gee, that’s too bad.

Lucid-Ideas said...

@Phidippus

In the case of Italy, there is a huge population of immigrant Chinese labor for the fashion industry. There is a huge connection to China, so that would make sense.

In the case of Iran, I'm going to go hygiene, as I would with the whole ME. You can't imagine it until you've lived there and experienced it - their level of superstition associated with cleanliness rather than hard science.

pacwest said...

Is social distancing lowering the number of total infections, or just lengthening the process? As exemplified by this and the parties in western bars, is social distancing even a viable alternative? It seems to me there needs to be a middle way way.

tim maguire said...

Islam was created about 700 years after Christianity, and it remains about 700 years behind. It made sense when people didn't know how disease works to reach out to God according to the traditional ways for help during health crises. Christians, of course, still reach out to God, but they also understand how not to make the problem worse while doing it.

Curious George said...

"In the abstract, I might guess that it's easier for an authoritarian country to make everyone do what needs to be done."

As I brought up in an earlier thread, China, South Korea, but nothing on the Norks. I wonder if Rocketman is shooting everyone who coughs.

Tom T. said...

This has zero to do with religion. Mecca has been successfully closed, after all. This is a failure of education, communication, and control by the Iranian government, and unfortunately that evil government is going to cost a lot of innocent people their lives.

mockturtle said...

Risking death for meaningless rituals never makes sense but these are the same devotees who think blowing themselves up to kill infidels sends them immediately to paradise.

Ice Nine said...

Live by religious fanaticism; die by religious fanaticism. (shrug)

JohnAnnArbor said...

Couldn’t happen to a nicer country.

Wishing death on the Persian people for having bad leadership isn't helping. To say the least.

BlackjohnX said...

What you are seeing in Iran is one graphic example of the mass hysteria which is gripping the chicken little's cowering in their bunkers. Is Frisco the example to follow where you are mandated to stay inside - stop living your life? What are the authorities going to do if people violate the injunction, arrest the violators and throw them en masse together in jail cells? Now there's a solution. Or, is Las Vegas the solution. Let individuals and businesses make the decision to operate normally or modify behavior and operating guidelines? The LV Athletic Club is operating normally as is Massage Envy. I prefer to live in a world where I can weigh risk vs reward and come to my own decision.

Ice Nine said...

These Iranian Muslim fanatics don't have a lick of sense.

cubanbob said...

Italy and Iran do share in common an aging population. I might be wrong but it would appear the more intensely religious population in Iran is older Iranians on average and thus more vulnerable to the severe complications of the virus. Although the regime has advised the population I doubt it is capable of draconian measures to stop the intensely religious simply because they may revolt and bring down the current regime.

tim in vermont said...

During the Black Plague, the scales started to fall from the eyes of many as relics of saints, etc, provided no protection. It was a big moment in the history of the west. Look at pre-plague visual art vs post-plague art, for one thing. It’s night and day different.

Ken B said...

1 Not all religions. This is important to recognize, however much it offends les biens pensants.
2 Authoritarian governments make things worse, in part because people learn over time not to trust them. Also important to recognize.
3 How much worse would we be if Sanders-like policies had devastated our entrepreneurial pharma infrastructure. Maybe not as bad as Iran, but bad. Restrictions have already caused delays with masks etc.

Limited blogger said...

Not sure what I can do to help the people of Iran?

JohnAnnArbor said...

The Orthodox are having issues, too, with spotty compliance with public-health recommendations:

"But conservative Eastern Orthodox traditionalists from Tbilisi to Athens have argued against church closures or altering their centuries-old custom of sharing the bread and wine with a common communion spoon."

Maybe it's getting through. But the Orthodox community is a fragmented one, and being more-traditional-then-you is a big deal to some.

tim in vermont said...

The Chinese were teaching them how to maintain an absolute hold on power through the use of technology. That’s my guess anyway, and has been my assumption for a long time.

Greg the class traitor said...

It's possible that religion can help people follow orders and that the religious leaders can look to medical experts to decide what orders to give.

First you have to have good orders to follow.

"Shove essential oils up your anus to block the virus" is a really bad starting point

Ken B said...

Oso Negro
Not all Iranians. The regime, and its supporters. It has a lot of supporters for sure. But it has a lot of non supporters and dissidents. Most of the country I think. Did you see the videos of crowds in Iran refusing to walk on American and Israeli flags?

Howard said...

It won't be totally in vain. If indeed it turns out to be a monumental tragedy in Iran it will show how the virus can explode and teach everyone else what to avoid.

gspencer said...

"It shows the problem of embedding people too deeply in religion."

Properly restated, "It shows the problem of having ANYTHING to do with Islam."

Greg the class traitor said...

Why Itly?

Well, this is a classic "bury the lede" article from the Washington Post:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/coronavirus-spread-from-china-now-china-doesnt-want-the-world-spreading-it-back/2020/03/04/22a2ff7e-5dc8-11ea-ac50-18701e14e06d_story.html

Zhejiang is particularly at risk of cases from Italy because the Wenzhou area has historical trading links with the European country, which has reported more than 2,200 cases and dozens of deaths. There are about 200,000 Chinese from Wenzhou and Qingtian living in Italy, most working in the restaurant business, the Zhejiang Daily reported this week.

So a couple thousand Chinese people went home from Italy for Chinese New Year. Some got sick. Then they flew back to Italy, to their restaurant jobs.

Gosh, I wonder why Italy got so many infections?

Silly Calabrese said...

The birth rate among secular irreligious types is comically low, probably something like 0.9. That isn't just low, it's extinction level. The birth rate among the religious is much higher, and is highest among faithful Muslims. Is that why US progressives are so pro-Muslim? Hoping to get into their good books for when the inevitable inversion happens? Well, I wouldn't count on that.

Fernandistein said...

Via BD Stanley...

Greek Orthodox church says 'holy cup cannot carry disease', allows congregations to share spoon

tim in vermont said...

I was at a funeral yesterday, and the Cantor asked us to “scoot together” while the Rabbi declined to shake the hand of the son of the deceased. So it was a mixed bag.

iowan2 said...

The first confrontation with this anecdote, is trying force their beliefs into your personal beliefs.

Not a student of Muslim at all. Having said that, life on earth means less to them than most. Why is death bad? Why have the rest of the world been at odds with Muslim faithful? For 2000 years? One aspect is the idea we can kill the idea of Muslim domination by killing the men pushing the idea. Muslims never ever lose. Their heirs carry on the fighting. So it has been for 100 generations. One mans life is nothing to advance the goal of all souls worshiping one Allah

In this particular situation, again with my limited understanding, would be to appeal to the sense of caring and protecting others weaker than themselves.This seems self evident to us, but we aren't the ones storming the gates. In an overarching philosophy, Allah will provide for all. That includes protecting the virtuous from disease.

Mark said...

embedding people too deeply in religion

What's NOT helpful is to lump all religions together as if they are all the same -- or as if they are even similar.

They are not.

YoungHegelian said...

I gave up Mass for Lent.

Ann Althouse said...

The "flu" argument is something I'm deleting now and from now on. Go somewhere else if you want to redo what we have already processed and know to be not merely stupid but dangerous. It's certainly not funny. It's not clever. It's not any help at all. I specifically said think whether you are helping before you publish a comment on this post in particular. Shape up or be regarded as a troll.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

" It shows the problem of embedding people too deeply in religion. They feel they need to get to the shrine, apparently."

People aren't dying in Italy because hordes of Catholics are stampeding into the Sistine Chapel.

Letting the fanaticism of ONE religion define all religions has been a favorite trick of the anti-religious since 9/11.

MayBee said...

Am I helping?

I know you think you are helping with all the helping talk, but it's starting to sound like Mr Rogers making a propaganda film.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

If this virus rids us of evil Iranian rulers who threaten the West and Israel with their weapons and are responsible for so many IED deaths in Iraq and keep their citizens locked in like slaves, then that will indeed be HELPING. It is no coincidence that the two countries most closely tied to the One Road One Bridge project with red China are the two most radically impacted by this Wuhan Flu, most likely accelerated by having 300,000 Chinese workers in both Italy and Iran.

Achilles said...

Please comment, but ask yourself before hitting the publish button: Am I helping?


Millions of people are out of work today and have kids to feed.

Maybe some retired boomers could contribute to a fund to help those families out.

I know that you all set up the system to funnel the money up to rich old people from poor young people.

But ask yourself: Am I helping?

Leora said...

I think the problem isn't religion but superstition that rides on it.

narciso said...

Mahan air brought it from china, not some lone peddler, we know how the regime handled the spread in thr prisons and the hospitals.

Achilles said...

Ann Althouse said...
The "flu" argument is something I'm deleting now and from now on. Go somewhere else if you want to redo what we have already processed and know to be not merely stupid but dangerous.

Oh.

My.

God.

Do you feel proud of yourself Ann?

Numbers hurt don't they.

narciso said...

The pasdaran is as blind as the pla in its disregard for the people.

bagoh20 said...

" Am I helping?"

Religious Muslim people on the other side of the world in closed totalitarian state? Are you serious? My comment here can help them? I had no idea. OK then. Convert to Christianity and/or join the 21st century. That should help more than anything else I can say.

Did they hear me? Are they doing it?

Ken B said...

“ The "flu" argument is something I'm deleting now and from now on ... Shape up or be regarded as a troll.”

Well I certainly understand this. It really is pernicious nonsense, and several of us have refuted it often, and with high quality links. I asked at least one of those arguing we are in a wild over reaction to make an argument that doesn’t rely on the flu thing. He (think “tendon”) refused.

jimbino said...

It's possible that religion can help people follow orders and that the religious leaders can look to medical experts to decide what orders to give.

As we said in the 70s, "If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament."

Bruce Hayden said...

“Why is this epidemic so severe in Italy and Iran?”

What should not be forgotten about Iran is that it is run by very fundamentalist Shiite Muslim clerics, many of whom truly believe in the imminent coming of their Twelver Armageddon. Following the precepts of their religion for these fundamentalists is more important than surviving. This means that the faithful have been found licking their shrines to disinfect them, and using violet extract in the butt to fight the disease - because that is what the Prophet told them to do 1300 years ago. He didn’t wash his hands with soap and water, so why should they?

Islam tends to be more fatalistic anyway than either Christianity or esp Judaism, but many Muslims have come into the 21st Century. I agree that it was notable that the Saudis closed the Mecca shrines. Good for them. That sort of thing is what the ruling Iranian Ayatollahs should have done. Instead, they seem to have told their faithful to die for their faith by trusting in the words of their Prophet. The good thing though, is that they lead by example, and as a result, the country’s rulers are preceding their flocks into martyrdom. The other good thing is that they are rapidly losing influence. The Iranian populace is that much closer to revolt, and their coreligionists in the neighboring countries in their Shiite Crescent, are telling them forcibly to go home, even going so far, in neighboring Iraq, to burning their consulates.

Achilles said...

There are countries that are much more integrated with China economically than the US is.

Looks like China Joe Biden is going to be the democrat nominee placeholder for a while longer.

I find it interesting that Bernie works for the same people but sold out for so much less money.

Larry J said...

Is social distancing lowering the number of total infections, or just lengthening the process? As exemplified by this and the parties in western bars, is social distancing even a viable alternative? It seems to me there needs to be a middle way way.

The goals of social distancing are twofold. First, they hope there will be less total infections. Second, they want to keep the number of infections at any one time low enough that existing medical resources aren't overwhelmed, even if the infections go on for a longer time. If you didn't see it yesterday, here's a link to an interesting Washington Post article that illustrates the concepts through a series of simulations.

From what I've read, Italy's hospitals are overwhelmed to the point they're having to determine who "deserves" to get full treatment with ventilators and such and who doesn't. Death panels, in effect if not in name.

mockturtle said...

Althouse @ 12:32:

Hear, hear!

narciso said...

Thats why rewarding then with 150 billion seemed daft, the ruling circles are in for themselves.

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

Please comment, but ask yourself before hitting the publish button: Am I helping?

The "flu" argument is something I'm deleting now and from now on. Go somewhere else if you want to redo what we have already processed...

Perhaps *you* were helping, providing a valuable social resource, by allowing people to vent their frustrations by posting the same goddamned thing over and over and over in every goddamned coronavirus thread.

But I understand that there are limits to the civic-mindedness of even the most civic-minded.

mockturtle said...

Wishing death on the Persian people for having bad leadership isn't helping. To say the least.

Nice sentiment, Joan, but somewhat misplaced, as it's the Iranian government who warned people not to do this.

dbp said...

If you look at this dashboard of infections, recoveries and deaths:

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

do you get the feeling that the numbers out of Iran and China are not accurate?

I do.

rehajm said...

A friend from Jordan noted there's a cleansing ritual several times a day. Not soap and water and two Happy Birthdays but it must have some positive impact...

...also the mullahs control everything. Not difficult to get people to comply with whatever they say, noted event excepted..

narciso said...

Its called ablution,,dont know if its as extensive in shia circles.

Char Char Binks said...

At last, some hopeful news.

William said...

When all this is over and we learn lessons as to who did things right and who did things wrong, my guess is that Iran ends up as the worst case example. Maybe North Korea is worse, but who will ever know?...I think it's too early to say anything definitive, but I think in both therapeutics and a vaccine, the United States will be in the lead group.....I suppose all those people in Iran who perish think that their abode is not on earth and that their early death is a victory for paradise. Religious arguments, like Sanders' critique of the pharmaceutical industry, are irrefutable.

narciso said...

Iran has a population of 81 million about25% higher than italy, according to 2017 figures

Dave Begley said...

And why is it so bad in Iran?

1. All sorts of Chinese were in Iran building stuff as part of the Belt and Road Initiative. The Chinese infected the Iranians.

2. The Iranian government is corrupt and incompetent. Islam is a culture of death. Individuals amount to little. What other religion signs people up for suicide? The Iranian people need to overthrow the mullahs and move into the modern world.

Iowan2 above has it right.

narciso said...

Do not wish ill on the people.

Sebastian said...

"we see religious people crowding and pushing into a closed shrine"

The hajj itself has often spread disease.

I am helping by pointing out that Islam is a risk factor for global health.

Once again, Donald J. Trump was ahead of the game with his "Muslim ban."

narciso said...

There is a degree of fatalismn it manifests itself in expressions like inshallah.

Dave Begley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GingerBeer said...

It's surprising that in the face of such a grave and complex threat the world hasn't sought out sage wisdom from the likes of Davis Hogg and Greta Thunberg. As every parent knows, teenagers have all the answers.

Sebastian said...

Helping a little more, I will add that not only is Islam a major risk factor for global health, so is Chinese communism. The two biggest, I'd say.

MadisonMan said...

Althouse @12:32: So, you are washing your hands of that argument? How wise!

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

Aunty Trump: During the Black Plague, the scales started to fall from the eyes of many as relics of saints, etc, provided no protection. It was a big moment in the history of the west. Look at pre-plague visual art vs post-plague art, for one thing. It’s night and day different.

It is indeed. But I have a great love for "pre-plague", relic-related romanesque art and architecture, sculpture in particular. (And the history of the relic-racket makes fascinating reading in itself.)

Good description of both the power of that art and its contrast with subsequent Western art:

"...a figure of awkward gravity. It is not a representation of suffering, neither is it an object of reverence; but a figure of humility, of resignation. It is overwhelmingly touching, and this is because it embodies an attitude to reality which is of the very essence of the best early Christian sculpture, and which may offer a clue to much of the appeal of such sculpture today. Nothing in the way this piece has been carved is elevated above the simplest but strongest feeling of an ordinary man. Sophistication has yet to enter man's devotions...Christ lived, Christ suffered, died, lived again: the cycle is a plain one, the message common, the manner of its representation accessible to all. That is something European art tended to lose in its subsequent grandeur. Reality is not here the reality of appearances but of emotions; and the sculptor could allow himself a freedom in the treatment of appearances because mere physical accuracy did not particularly matter. This figure was carved not in imitation of external realities but in order to convey internal ones. It was carved, so to speak, from the inside. A comparable approach to reality has been adopted by many of the principal carvers of our own century...Maybe this is why Romanesque sculpture tends to register a more intimate connection with our own sensibilities than does much of the sculpture that has filled the intervening centuries." [From]

Don't know if this observation about modern "sensibilities" is true in general. But romanesque sculpture has always had a sock-in-the-gut appeal to mine.

Big Bird said...

Keep in mind that this is a viral pneumonia. Things like smoking can increase your risk factor greatly. Over 300 million Chinese smoke, over 40% of all men. In almost all EU countries, over 20% of the population smokes. Here in the US, its around 14%.


Don't know what percentage is in Iran, but licking on doorknobs doesn't exactly lower your risk factor.

Laslo Spatula said...

Don't be a flu stooge, I guess.

I am Laslo.

Paddy O said...

"embedding people too deeply in religion"

Everyone is embedded in religion, usually quite deeply. Some people are embedded in religions formally called such. Religion is an expression of where a person is seeking coherence in their identity and an orienting philosophy for their sense of self in a complex world. Some use a shrine, some use sex, some work, some divinity, some talk-show hosts, etc.

Different religions then have different impacts. Christianity is well situated because it is by definition (socially and theologically) diffuse, able to incorporate holy places and people, but not reliant on any centralization. Indeed, it is explicitly translatable to allow for diverse expression, experience. Islam can be too, but where shrine-oriented responses point to a form of syncretism, it makes for challenge especially when people feel vulnerable not only to death, but the kind of divine judgment such a situation seems to indicate.

It's not really coherent, but neither is the religion where people fly from all over the world to gather and wail about environmental disasters while doing penance before a perceive living saint.

Dave Begley said...

The whole world is in this together, and it seems to be worse in Iran than anywhere else."

Every country for itself. Each nation pursues its own self-interest. That's the way it always has been and always will be.

The US put together coalitions to fight ISIS and Iraq but the countries that joined did it for themselves.

If our CIA was doing its job, it would be helping the Iranian people to overthrow its government

Paddy O said...

I've noticed a curious high percentage of celebrities have been affected too.

The privileged are at greatest risk because of their networks and travel.

Which is why the world has to come to a stop, the privileged now realize how vulnerable they are.

Steve Schainost said...

From Wikipedia:

Inshallah
ʾIn shāʾ Allāh Arabic: إِنْ شَاءَ ٱللّٰهُ‎, is the Arabic language expression for "God willing" or "if God wills". The phrase comes from a Quranic command which commands Muslims to use it when speaking of future events.[Quran 18:24] The phrase is commonly used by Muslims, Arab Christians, and Arabic-speakers of other religions to refer to events that one hopes will happen in the future. It expresses the belief that nothing happens unless God wills it and that his will supersedes all human will.

i.e. If you are going to die, you will die "Inshallah". If you are going to live, you will live "Inshallah".

Ann Althouse said...

"Religious Muslim people on the other side of the world in closed totalitarian state? Are you serious? My comment here can help them?"

I did not say that you could help, but you don't have to comment. Better than nothing is a high standard. If your comment isn't helping, then it is NOT better than nothing. So when you are not helping, don't comment. Get it? Yes, I am quite serious. It was obvious to me that this post would bring out the bad in some people and I was telling you in advance not to do that. Up your game. Or don't play.

Ken B said...

What is helpful? I fear Althouse means kumbaya and nice nice.
I think it helps to understand how bad, or even evil, ideas are hurting us.
1 communism. China hid and destroyed evidence, lied, killed whistleblowers Chinese communism is a threat to all of us
2 certain religions.
3 the notion that borders should fall, and that it is xenophobic to favor your own countrymen

There are other bad ideas at work. The fetish we have made of green policies like banning safety features such as bags or disposable menus, the excess regulation on innovation, etc. but those three are IMO targets we must assail, and forcefully, when this all calms down.

So, I think highlighting that helps. YMMV.

Amadeus 48 said...

What is the "flu" argument?

I wouldn't want to make a mistake here. Is it that this virus may be more or less virulent than the Spanish Flu? Is it that this virus may be more or less virulent than the swine flu? What about the bird flu--and this one takes me back, the Hong Kong flu?

So many things to compare this to! How about the Black Death?

I think we aren't going to know the answer until all the bodies a toted up, after the fact. The public health people seem to be saying the same thing: Wash your hands a lot, and stay home if you are sick. Tests are for diagnosis for someone who has symptoms. To administer a test to someone who doesn't have symptoms (a cough, a sniffle, a fever, etc.) is a waste of resources and a diversion from finding a vaccine, a cure, or a mitigating treatment. This whole lock-down thing (which I realize that Meadhouse chooses to embrace to a fault) is a political response more than a necessary public health action--it is overkill.

John Lynch said...

Figures don't add up. The death rate is not 75%. He mispoke, it was mistranslated, or he's lying. Or an idiot.

Char Char Binks said...

I didn't read the entire post before commenting, so I failed to ask myself if I was helping. Now that I've had time to think about it, I'm confident that my comment was helpful.

Jessica said...

I saw several articles in which scientists are saying we need to socially distance for 18 months until there is a vaccine. I honestly believe that will lead to societal collapse across the world. The economy will collapse, poverty will devour the nations, crime will surge out of control. But the alternative of millions of additional deaths from the disease is also completely unacceptable. Thoughts?

Michael said...

How can I do this helping any more than I am? I am sheltering in place reading about Churchill and the people of London during the bombings. (The Splendid and the Vile: highly recommended) and contrasting the valor of the
Londoners with segments of our present population. I am also dipping into, again, The Pursuit of the Millenium as well as Extraordinay Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Both timely reads. I am taking slow jogs through the empty streets. I am smoking a Cuban cigar. I am soaking in a hot tub. I am memorizing a poem. I so hope this is helping.

Ken B said...

Amadeus
The flu argument is the argument that because covid has killed fewer than the normal flu all our reactions are gross over reactions. One commenter in particular, think tendon, believes the disease is less dangerous than the yearly flu and that closings, self quarantine and social distancing are more destructive than helpful.
This argument ignores science and prudence. Althouse does not want it on her blog. I don’t agree with her policy but I surely do understand it.

mandrewa said...

Here's my estimate of what will happen by my current understanding. I'm assuming that almost everyone will be exposed if a significant fraction of the population behaves as described above.

But even so I'll guess that 10% manage to avoid exposure to the virus.

There are 82.9 million people in Iran.

But it's mainly the elderly that are at risk. Looking at Iran's population demographics I'll estimate that about 5% are over 65 years old.

So 0.9 x .05 x 82.9 million is 3.73 million exposed and at risk.

Now the preliminary data seems to indicate that the spread of Coronavirus 2019 is confined to areas between 30 and 60 degrees latitude and with an average outdoor temperatures between 41 and 52 degrees Farenheit. I'll assume that describes all of Iran right now.

Now the data from the Diamond Princess cruise ship suggests that everyone on the ship was exposed to the virus but despite that only 17% of the people got it. And of those 17%, half had no symptoms.

Now the old were no more likely to get the virus than the young, but the consequences for the old were far more serious. Diamond Princess indicates that somewhere between 0.38% and 2.7% of a population exposed to the virus will die.

Since the population on the Diamond Princess was disproportionately elderly, this range is probably appropriate for the elderly population of Iran.

So somewhere between 0.0038 x 3.73 million and 0.027 x 3.73 million can be expected to die in Iran from Coronavirus 2019.

Or between 14 and a 100 thousand people in Iran, mainly elderly, will die.

Now understand that this is a prediction of actual deaths from the coronavirus. What the government of Iran reports as the death toll is a completely different subject. They can in fact claim whatever number they wish pretty much without challenge.

Jessica said...

I saw several articles in which scientists are saying we need to socially distance for 18 months until there is a vaccine. I honestly believe that will lead to societal collapse across the world. The economy will collapse, poverty will devour the nations, crime will surge out of control. But the alternative of millions of additional deaths from the disease is also completely unacceptable. Thoughts?

exhelodrvr1 said...

Why is it worse in Iran, Italy, China, and (for awhile) South Korea, and are those factors significant in the United States?

West Texas Intermediate Crude said...

Once again, nobody knows anything.
80% of people who test positive have "mild disease. How many people are positive but have no or minimal symptoms? Nobody knows. The impending increase in availability of testing will only muddle the situation further. The number of positive persons will go up, the percentage with serious or lethal infection will go down, and there will be no perspective on whether what we are doing is helping or hurting. As I understand it, the test is for the presence of virus RNA, not antibodies as many tests of this sort are, so asymptomatic carriage may be common, possible even dominant, especially in the young and healthy.
What to do?
Social isolation for the vulnerable, for sure.
Destroy the nation's economy for a possible benefit of avoiding en "epidemic" of mild disease in the young, healthy and productive?. I don't understand the logic.

Oso Negro said...

Blogger Paddy O said...
I've noticed a curious high percentage of celebrities have been affected too.

The privileged are at greatest risk because of their networks and travel.

Which is why the world has to come to a stop, the privileged now realize how vulnerable they are.


Paddy O, the celebrities and politicians have tests available that are NOT available to the proles. The world has come to a stop because politicians are afraid to be blamed.

TheDopeFromHope said...

I did not know that Italy had imported 300,000 Chinese to work in their country. What idiots.

If I'm the Italian government I do two things: 1) unilaterally cancel all debt with China; and 2) round up a bunch of Chinese and hold them ransom for big money. China caused the problem, make them pay for it.

Oso Negro said...

Let me note that "lack of compassion" is not the same as "wishing death for the Persian people". It's simply an indifference to their outcomes in the current epidemic. When I feel compassion for people, I DO something about it - I have done pro bono work in sub-Saharan Africa because I feel compassion for them; I have funded orphans in Ukraine because I feel compassion for them; I have donated computers to schools in Laos because I feel compassion for them. I have no use for virtue-signalling by professions of compassion for a people that despises me and sends their sons to attempt to kill my son.

Drago said...

Dave Begley: "Every country for itself. Each nation pursues its own self-interest. That's the way it always has been and always will be."

Case in point: the EU has basically washed their hands on Italy.

But I suppose my making note of that isn't "helping".

Vance said...

The thing I think where Althouse went wrong is pointing the finger at "devout" religion as a problem here. There is nothing at all wrong with devout religion. What's wrong here is the devotedness to wrong ideas.

Devout, devoted followers of science also screw up royally. From a pure, scientific point of view there is nothing wrong with "operating" on the "undesirable" parts of society. What did Mengele do that was wrong, scientifically? It was a horror show morally, but scientifically? Science without ethics and morals can be monstrous.

No, the problem is with Islam in particular. Devout Islam tends to be bad.

In the abstract, looking to God for salvation from a sickness or pandemic is not wrong. I certainly believe in miracles, and in divine healing. Indeed, even today with incurable diseases, or in other situations the only solution is to have faith in God and plead for His mraculous healing.

But as a Christian, I note that God's miracles tend to be things that mankind cannot do for themselves. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but it was the people around Jesus that rolled away the gravestone--that was something they could do. Jesus told Peter where to fish, but it was Peter that drew the nets up into the boats. He could do that.

Washing your hands, "social distancing" etc is something within our powers. Usually God will not interfere with our stupidity. Sometimes He does, but most times He lets us be accountable.

But you know what? Maybe the faith of these poor Iranians will motivate God to intervene and prevent the sickness from affecting them. I wouldn't put money on it, but it's possible. Not likely, though... God loves faith, but stupid faith wins no prizes.

purplepenquin said...

If our CIA was doing its job, it would be helping the Iranian people to overthrow its government

The CIA did exactly that in 1953. Seemed to work out for the short-term, but not so well long-term. It's one of the (if not the) reason they don't like nor trust the USofA now-a-days.

FullMoon said...

Well I certainly understand this. It really is pernicious nonsense, and several of us have refuted it often, and with high quality links. I asked at least one of those arguing we are in a wild over reaction to make an argument that doesn’t rely on the flu thing. He (think “tendon”) refused.
3/17/20, 12:43 PM


Yeah, did notice you repeating same thing over, and over and over again..

When all is done, you can claim victory. And "he" can also claim victory because deaths are way less than predicted. I still say two weeks for local govts to declare worst is over, go back to work but, by the way, some people still gonna get sick and die..

FullMoon said...

Couldn’t happen to a nicer country.

Wishing death on the Persian people for having bad leadership isn't helping. To say the least.

Yeah, kinda like blaming Californicators leaving the state for turning red states blue when it is your own young people voting the dems into power..

The Godfather said...

Earlier today I saw an hour or so of a White House press conference about the Covid-19 epidemic, featuring Trump, Pence, Mnuchin, and several others. I found it interesting and somewhat comforting. It appears that the adults are in charge. They didn’t ignore the risks and likely suffering and loss ahead, but they focused on getting the country through to the other side, and then repairing the damage to our economy. To me, that “helps”.

Paul said...

Iran.... couldn't happen to a uh worse regime. But I bet North Korea, with all their commerce with China and their malnutrition problems, is being devastated to. Again, couldn't happen to a worse regime. You have my crocodile tears.

That leaves... the brutal regimes in Africa. I wonder how they will fair?

bagoh20 said...

I've been here the last couple days reading and commenting, and I guess I just skipped the discussion about the flu, and why it's a bad thing to bring up, but I'll take your word for that.

So, in the U.S. there are only 12 serious/critical cases of this virus. Nearly 6,000 active cases, but almost no seriously sick people. Currently only 12 in the whole country. There have been 74 deaths, just over 1% of cases. If we had more testing, there would undoubtedly be far more cases in that denominator making the fatality rate far below 1%. So, why is there such a panic about this and about hospital beds, etc? Something doesn't make sense to me here.

Can someone tell me what I'm missing?

exhelodrvr1 said...

https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/

Marc said...

I know you think you are helping with all the helping talk, but it's starting to sound like Mr Rogers making a propaganda film.

That's my impression, too.

And while it's true that "religion can help people follow orders" that sure looks to me to be a very reductive if not irreligious way of looking at religion. But am choosing to interpret the post as a critique of, specifically, 'the Mohammedan religion as lived in Iran' without reading too much into each of the separate propositions.

ga6 said...

"I've noticed a curious high percentage of celebrities have been affected too. "

Just a new status symbol..look at me.. publish a signed doctors note and maybe I would say go with God and see their heads steam.

Amichel said...

This makes me wonder how bad things are in North Korea, that we just haven't heard about.

bagoh20 said...

If we are playing a game here, what's the objective? I'm here to learn, express myself, and find community. If it's some kind of game with a totalitarian referee, then it kinda sucks for all that.

Does that help?

Ken B said...

John Lynch
Good catch. If Iran has 40 million cases as worst case then the numbers fit. I think he meant 40 million cases not 4 million.

YoungHegelian said...

As a finicky sonafabitch about maintaining theological distinctions in the face of a marketplace of ideas where the distinctions are often sloppily smeared, I'd like to point out that attaching such importance to shrines, religious objects, "saints", etc. is a feature of Shi'ite Islam, but is widely reviled in the Sunni world as idolatrous. Sunni Muslims loath this stuff, seeing as a big part of "Shi'ite Heresy". Remember, Sunni terrorists routinely target Shi'ite Muslims (e.g. in Pakistan).

Yes, I know, there is the pilgrimage to Mecca, the Qa'abba, and what not, but understand that the Saudi authorities, and especially the Salafist clergy, are deeply uneasy with that, too. It's just that 1) it's such an ingrained part of Muslim tradition now that any attempt by the Saudis to end it would result in a world-wide Muslim revolt & 2) it brings in lots of money to Saudi Arabia with which to salve their guilty consciences.

Who knows how Shi'a Islam got its love of what the Catholic Church calls "The Cultus of the Saints". Probably, it got imported in from a population originally Nestorian Christian, and over hundreds of years, the origins got passively forgotten if not suppressed.

But, in any case, hundreds of millions of Sunni Muslims are looking at this "knob-licking" business and saying "WTF?" every bit as much as we are.

Ken B said...

I am calling bullshit on Althouse’s long standing claim she does not delete posts based on viewpoint. She is deleting based on a viewpoint. It’s a stupid viewpoint, but that’s the criterion.

madAsHell said...

I've noticed a curious high percentage of celebrities have been affected too.

They do it for attention. This is why they would segregate the pregnant high school girls from the general population.

Dave Begley said...

Richard Epstein on models. From Power Line blog.

"[I]t seems more probable than not that the total number of cases world-wide will peak out at well under 1 million, with the total number of deaths at under 50,000 (up about eightfold). In the United States, if the total death toll increases at about the same rate, the current 67 deaths should translate into about 500 deaths at the end.

Of course, every life lost is a tragedy—and the potential loss of 50,000 lives world-wide would be appalling—but those deaths stemming from the coronavirus are not more tragic than others, so that the same social calculus applies here that should apply in other cases."

MAJMike said...

My church held Sunday worship via live feed Internet with the services available for later viewing on YouTube. Wednesday evening service and Bible study classes were also suspended.

The opportunities for remote viewing are many. Besides we understand that He is with us whenever two or more are gathered in His name.

We can and do worship anywhere.

narciso said...

the post doesn't understand any religion

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nichevo said...

Ken B said...
I am calling bullshit on Althouse’s long standing claim she does not delete posts based on viewpoint. She is deleting based on a viewpoint. It’s a stupid viewpoint, but that’s the criterion.

3/17/20, 4:09 PM



Agreed, more so as one of my posts seems to be missing. Here's a "pro-flu"(?) argument: the costs of social distancing are higher than the costs of making/inventing/building out/rehabbing medical facilities and equipment and drugs and treatments to "meet the curve."

But it always makes sense to buy time. I guess.

Fernandistein said...

What's NOT helpful is to lump all religions together as if they are all the same -- or as if they are even similar.

They are not.


Sure they are, because they're all just a load of bullshit.

Clark said...

"Nearly 6,000 active cases, but almost no seriously sick people. Currently only 12 in the whole country." If that 12 becomes 120 and then 1,200 then 12,000 then 120,000 then 1.2 million by the end of May—that would be a problem. (I used one order of magnitude per 14 days.)

Clark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandistein said...

Mark, you're a bullshit peddler, so even though you think your BS is special, it smells just like all the other bullshit.

mockturtle said...

Bagoh, your information is seriously out of date. There are now 102 deaths in the US, eight new just today.

mockturtle said...

This new virus is not heat-resistant and will be killed by a temperature of just 26/27 degrees. It hates the Sun.

FM, I assume you are talking Celsius.

mockturtle said...

I was very impressed by Mnuchin today and even my liberal sister was impressed.

mandrewa said...

Thinking about it further, there was a mistake in my earlier comment. Looking at the demographics of the Diamond Princess cruise ship something like 55% of the people on the ship were over 65. But I was comparing this to the 3.73 million people in Iran who were over 65 (and who I estimated would be exposed to the virus). So to correct for the different ages structure of these two populations I need to multiply my earlier estimate of deaths by 1.8.

So after that the fatality spread estimate goes to 1.8 x 0.0038 x 3.73 million and 1.8 x 0.027 x 3.73 million.

Or between 25 thousand and a 181 thousand deaths from Coronavirus 2019 in Iran this spring assuming 90% of the population is exposed to the virus.

But another factor is that the passengers of the Diamond Princess received high quality medical care which is unlikely to be the case in Iran, especially when so many people will get ill at the same time.

So another important but unknown number would be how much the lack of medical treatment would increase the death toll.

alanc709 said...

If nothing else, this pandemic is exposing the authoritarian tendencies in some of the least expected places. Some in this blog.

Robert Cook said...

"Oh, and on a personal note, they were trying to kill my son and his fellow Marines in Iraq."

We started the war in Iraq. We are the invaders in the region. If we had not deposed Saddam, Iran would have no foothold in Iraq.

Robert Cook said...

These Iranian Muslim fanatics don't have a lick of sense.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

As we said in the 70s, "If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament."

3/17/20, 12:44 PM

And it was a deeply stupid statement in the 70's and continues to be stupid.

If men could get pregnant, they would not be men. By definition.

Still true, no matter what crazies say.

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Cook said...

"Death panels, in effect if not in name."

We have our own death panels. They are the insurance company administrators who decide which treatments and procedures they will decline to pay for which patients.

Ken B said...

“ Sure they are, because they're all just a load of bullshit.”

The flu argument in the guise of a religious comparison. “Oh no, none is worse than any other, there really is no important difference between Quakers distributing food to shut-ins and crowds in mosques licking doorknobs during a pandemic.”

Calypso Facto said...

"(I used one order of magnitude per 14 days.)"
COVID-19 has been identified in the US for 3 weeks now and there has been no order of magnitude jump in serious cases, despite the fact that there HAS been an order of magnitude increase in TESTING, from 2 tests a day initially (2/23), to 20 tests a day (2/26), to 200 tests a day (2/29), to 2,000 tests a day (3/9), and now almost 4,000 tests a day this week. (Source: CDC)

Ken B said...

Dave Begley
I looked at Epstein’s piece. I don’t see where he has an argument, except “look the numbers are still low here”. They are, but exponential growth starts low.

bgates said...

It shows the problem of embedding people too deeply in religion.

If you're painting with that broad a brush, the answer to your earlier question, But who are these fiends who steal toilet paper from public restrooms?!

is "Midwesterners".

Robert Cook said...

"If our CIA was doing its job, it would be helping the Iranian people to overthrow its government"

Perhaps you're being ironic, but I don't think so. It's telling that you speak about "our CIA doing its job." What job is that? Overthrowing governments of other nations, or trying to? Yes, that is what they do, but why? What right do we have to overthrow governments of other nations, either directly or indirectly? Yes, I recognize this has been the overriding project of the USA for the entire post-WWII period, but isn't more than half a century of illegal and bloody US intervention into other nations enough, (in reality, too much)? Given the woeful outcomes of our endless project of imposing our will outside our borders, along with the squandering of astonishing sums of the people's treasure, (at the expense of our society and infrastructure, for the benefit of war profiteers and grabbers of political power), isn't it fucking time the CIA not just stop "doing its job," but be dismantled down to the last brick and unindicted torturer and murderer?

bgates said...

Speaking of being unhelpful, the above post purportedly "From Stanford hospital board" was disowned by Stanford three days ago.

Robert Cook said...

"If you are going to die, you will die 'Inshallah.' If you are going to live, you will live 'Inshallah.'"

The western term for "Inshallah": Que Sera Sera.

mandrewa said...

What happens if I do the same sort of estimate for the United Kingdom?

The UK has a population of 67.8 million, versus Iran's 82.9 million,
but 18% of the UK's population is over 65, versus Iran's 5%.

So the at-risk population of the UK is 12.2 million versus Iran's 4.15 million.
(Now I know that more people are at risk than just the over 65s, but really
this is where the risk is concentrated, so focusing on them should give
a pretty good approximation.)

Hopefully the UK will be more successful than Iran is probably going to be
at reducing the percentage of its population exposed to the virus.

Say we assume only 30% of the UK's 65 and over are exposed to the virus this
spring, then we get a fatality spread estimate of from 0.3 x 1.8 x 0.0038 x 12.2 million
to 0.3 x 1.8 x 0.027 x 12.2 million.

Or between 25,000 and 178,000 deaths this spring.

Now these numbers are based on the Diamond Princess experience. They should be
multiplied by another factor, unknown, to compensate for a lack of hospital beds or even
divided by a factor if we assume appropriate treatments like hydrochloroquine
are available.

If instead we assume only 20% of the UK's 65 and over are exposed to the virus,
then the deaths drop to between 17,000 and 119,000 deaths this spring.

I read today that the UK government would consider 20,000 deaths this spring a
"good outcome." That means they are expecting higher fatalities.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

This issue is not bringing out the best in people.

Amidst little real data, most everyone seems to be speculating or sharing opinions. I would like it if the armchair experts would just admit to their vacuity. The volume of opinions divided by the number of real information yields a figure that is on par with the actual case impact this coronavirus is having right now in the USA. As to why West Virginia has no cases, I’m sure the smart set would say “They don’t get out much there.”

Say what you will about President Trump’s job at the helm, but the supposed “expert” Dr. Fauci is not helping, either. This could be cynic’s delight, but I am not a cynic — I’m a skeptic. Should I believe the totalitarian Chinese? The government may be doing the safe thing, but it doesn’t strike me as the smart thing, given the demographics and risk factors.

The drastic measures do not create economic safety. We’ve gotta be able to live. If stating this obvious truth that is not “helping,” then this concept of “empathy” is hollow self-congratulation and moralizing on the part of the smart, beautiful people who are able to “work from home.” That’s not going to provide help or find a cure — it’s emotional masturbation while America’s economic engine grinds to a halt. And let me be clear: this is NOT about money, this is about human contribution and ability to live up to responsibilities. You can’t do that if you’re a blue-collar worker being told to “shelter in place.”

What’s the endgame here?

Marc said...

I would happily participate in a religious procession through the streets with the holy relics of the saints or even, as at Corpus Christi in many places, with the Most Blessed Sacrament; we can't even hear Holy Mass in these days of plague, however, because the state has shut the doors of the churches (I realize that this isn't a precisely accurate description of the current situation) so there's no way that the city would grant the permit. While I understand that there is legitimate concern about the potential transmission of the plague and/or the potential burdens on the medical infrastructure, it remains my prerogative to doubt whether those potential eventualities are sufficient to justify the 'emergency' regime now in place. I understand, also, that this will be judged to be, by some, as an expression of 'bad religion', or, perhaps, not 'helpful'.

Robert Cook said...

"'If our CIA was doing its job, it would be helping the Iranian people to overthrow its government'

"The CIA did exactly that in 1953. Seemed to work out for the short-term, but not so well long-term. It's one of the (if not the) reason they don't like nor trust the USofA now-a-days."


Who says it worked out for even the short-term?

Paul J said...

The time to bring up the "Flu" argument will be *after* all the hubbub has died down and things are more or less back to normal, not now when we are in the grip of it.

Only in retrospect will the hysteria be seen for what it was, if such is what it was.

So keep your powder dry, Fluzies; tomorrow belongs to you. Probably.
Paul J.

Mark said...

Why all the hate, Fernandistein?

What has it ever gained you?

Mark said...

This issue is not bringing out the best in people.

Sadly, I think that this is the best in some people.

mandrewa said...

Sorry, I meant to say hydroxychloroquine.

Ken B said...

“ Why all the hate, Fernandistein?”

I take it you are new here. His schtick is hipper-and-smarter-atheist-contrarian. Think Richard Dawkins but with the depth and erudition of Jerry Lewis.

bagoh20 said...

"Bagoh, your information is seriously out of date. There are now 102 deaths in the US, eight new just today."

Yes, update to today's numbers at 102 deaths out of 6428 cases and my point still stands that the death rate at 1.6% is still low considering we likely have not identified a very large percentage of the active cases yet. The updated data, still shows only 12 serious/critical cases, and my question there still stands: why is such a low number of serious cases and deaths such a big problem for our infrastructure to handle? I'm not trying to score points here one way or the other. I'm trying to understand. Is that number of 12 serious/critical cases correct? BTW, the number of recovered cases is also up to 106 today.

mockturtle said...

Not the job of our government to overthrow other regimes. The CIA has been notoriously involved in the assassinations of several foreign leaders and none of these overthrows helped anyone. Time to disband the CIA, IMO, as they have a record of corrupt practices. Each of our military branches has its own intelligence functions and, in addition, there are over a dozen other US intelligence entities. Drain the swamp!

Browndog said...

I just hope everything works out for everybody.

wildswan said...

"bagoh20 said...
Can someone tell me what I'm missing?"

China went from 256 cases to 20,000 in one month. Bergamo in Italy had a similar acceleration so that most of Italy's 1200 dead came from that one region in about one month and still rising. So, if there are low numbers here in the US, what nobody knows is whether we have choked it off by means of early banning of flights from China or whether the thing is about to take off everywhere in a wild uncontrolled flood of death. And the policy here is to ask people to basically self-quarantine for ten days or three weeks - it varies - and states and cities are closing restaurants and bars by decree. I'm in the banned school of thought but I'm compromising in that I think we had to put in some kind of quarantine. There might have been a panic without it. This way people know what to do and what the government wants and they can settle down to pointing out how wrong dotgov is, as usual.

I assimilate Iran's problem to the "ghost dancing" phenomenon where overwhelmed indigenous peoples think a special shirt or a special dance will protect them against bullets. The Bible warns against that kind of thinking. For instance, The Lord warned the Israelites not to fight the Anakim. But the Israelites went to war taking the Ark of the Covenant with them because they thought this would force the Lord to help them win. They lost and the Anakim got the Ark as well. You are supposed to follow the precepts and commands of the Lord, not try to control outcomes by magically forcing God over onto your side. Nor are you supposed to think that he has to defend you since you are of the elect. That's covered in the temptations of Christ:
"Then the devil took Him to the holy city and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple. “If You are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning You, and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’” Jesus replied, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”

I don't like the Iranians either but I can pity people who are overwhelmed with fear and when people turn to magical thinking as they are doing (magical, not religious), they are deeply afraid. They see the natural order or, anyhow, the social order, is not holding. They don't trust their leaders.

Ken B said...

Bagoh
You are ignoring the fact that not all cases began simultaneously. But even on its face, your numbers are not encouraging:
106 got better
102 got dead
6200 still undecided

bagoh20 said...

Then again, Italy with 5X as many cases is running an 8% fatality rate. They also are running an infection rate that is 27 times ours by population. The top four nations by infection rate are Italy, Switzerland, Norway, and Spain, all over 200 per million. The U.S. stands at 19/M. Why would that be? Maybe public transportation being so common there? Our most infected cities, NYC, Seattle, and SF also use a lot of public transportation.

Browndog said...

Both Iran and Italy were infected directly from Chinese from Wuhan. Northern Italy was called Little Wuhan with several direct flights in and out daily.

I hope this helps.

Ken B said...

Bagoh
As Browndog notes, they got infected earlier, and maybe in a higher “dose” per capita. But don’t compare entire huge countries. Look at Washington state.

Oso Negro said...

Blogger Robert Cook said...
"Oh, and on a personal note, they were trying to kill my son and his fellow Marines in Iraq."

We started the war in Iraq. We are the invaders in the region. If we had not deposed Saddam, Iran would have no foothold in Iraq.

3/17/20, 4:59 PM


Robert Cook, perhaps you fail to understand the depth of my attachment to my son. I reject the Abrahamic religions precisely for Yahweh's perversity with Abraham and Isaac. I don't give a fuck who started the fucking war.

bagoh20 said...

We likely know of nearly ever single case of death from the virus, but there are likely thousands of people who had it, recovered, and never knew they had it, so the "recovered" number is not realistic.

bagoh20 said...

I think that Brian Williams possibly died from this virus AND recovered, but he is a special man.

Browndog said...

4 million people from Wuhan got on airplanes and "went on vacation for the Chinese New Year" shortly after the outbreak began.

I thought at the time China was deliberately spreading the virus around the world. A week later they started their "hug a Chinese" campaign in Italy, and the super woke mayor of Venice couldn't wait to promote it.

Not sure if this helps.

Steven said...

Oh, lord, that old idiocy again.

The CIA did not overthrow anybody in Iran in 1953.

An election-stealing son-of-a-bitch (he used his power to literally stop the counting of votes in areas where his opponents would have won) tried to make himself dictator of Iran (first by having his rump parliament give him the power to rule by decree, and then holding an openly-rigged referendum to abolish that parliament).

In response, every other party leader (including the ones who'd supported his prime ministership up to then), the Shah, the clergy, and the military formed an alliance to overthrow the would-be dictator. As was entirely predictable, since they would all lose their power and possibly their lives and freedom under the new dictatorship.

Afterward, a few idiots in the CIA, trying to puff up their importance and the CIA's power, claimed credit for what would have happened anyway by pointing to a few propaganda expenditures.

And ever since, the left's pretended that it was a case of the CIA overthrowing a democratically-elected government.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

All this sociology is not science, Virology is. Where’s the data?

FullMoon said...

Afterward, a few idiots in the CIA, trying to puff up their importance and the CIA's power, claimed credit for what would have happened anyway by pointing to a few propaganda expenditures.

And ever since, the left's pretended that it was a case of the CIA overthrowing a democratically-elected government.


Like Russian facebook ads stealing the election?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

And if I was one of these nuts incandescent with hate, I would say this coronavirus was a gigantic conspiracy to rob the Irish and Irish diaspora of their ONE DAY to celebrate their heritage. Thankfully, ‘twould seem that those of Irish extraction are not so bizarre after all.

Erin go Bragh!

stonethrower said...

"embedding people too deeply in religion." People are embedded? Who knew? Ann, you sound like you work for NPR. Wow.

I, too, feel sorry for the Iranian people who feel they must risk the visit to sacred sites. But I try not to hit people on the head with my compassion.

Robert Cook said...

"The CIA did not overthrow anybody in Iran in 1953."

Well, not all by themselves, anyway...but they did. Whether Mossadegh was an "election-stealing son-of-a-bitch" may be a matter of perspective, but even if he was, that does not grant us the right to assist the UK in interfering in Iran's internal politics.

BlackjohnX said...

It seems I spoke to soon above. Seems our Liberal Democrat Governor Sisolak is about to shut down all Non-Essential activities and mobilize the National Guard to impose a 6PM to 6AM curfew. I hope I am wrong on those counts. Nothing like a little martial law to reassure ourselves that our government cares. Maybe we will be asked to quarter the citizen soldiers. That would be the patriotic thing to do. Crispus Attucks could not be reached for comment. The chicken little's rule the roost. I thought it was Trump who was supposed to be the dictator, Hitler reincarnate. Guess again.

mockturtle said...

We likely know of nearly ever single case of death from the virus

Not by a long shot, bagoh. Unless you think everyone who died of some respiratory infection in the past three months were tested. And--hey, no test kits!

mockturtle said...

CIA involvements more recently than 1953 include Diem in Vietnam and Allende in Chile; planned assassinations include Fidel Castro, Sukarno, Trujillo and Lumumba. Just to name a few. Much as we may dislike another nation's leaders, it is not the function of a government intelligence agency to topple governments.

William said...

I just read a newspaper article that stated that one of the reasons why Italy is hit so hard is because Italians have multi-generational families and visit each other frequently. Positive and kindly aspects of your culture can help to spread the disease.....The virus will spread according to its own logic and not according to morality or political beliefs......After WWII, the Soviet Union occupied the northern third of Iran. Truman leaned on them to retreat within their previous borders. Does this constitute interfering in the internal affairs of Iran. Persia has been around for several thousand years. It's my understanding that they had problems prior to the American Century or the British Empire. I think the Mongols might have given them a hard time.

Nichevo said...

Robert Cook said...
"'If our CIA was doing its job, it would be helping the Iranian people to overthrow its government'

"The CIA did exactly that in 1953. Seemed to work out for the short-term, but not so well long-term. It's one of the (if not the) reason they don't like nor trust the USofA now-a-days."

Who says it worked out for even the short-term?



Why have you never got the courage to express such thoughts in the form of a statement instead of a question? Why don't you say outright, I would have preferred for Mossadegh to continue to usurp power and promote the spread of Communism in Iran and the region? Because that's what you mean.

narciso said...

The shah alienated the merchants with land reform, same policy that went gang busyers in vietnam and el salvador.

Robert Cook said...

A prescription for the USA's foreign entanglements from over a decade ago that is as necessary as it was then, and as little heeded.

CR said...

The lure of a sacred space is a powerful thing.

bagoh20 said...

"Not by a long shot, bagoh. Unless you think everyone who died of some respiratory infection in the past three months were tested. And--hey, no test kits!"

My understanding is that autopsies are being preformed and the cause of death for any suspected of Corona is being established. Maybe not 100%, but the number of undetected recoveries has to be in the thousands, so the point is that the recoveries have to be far out pacing the deaths, which means immunity is on the march, I hope.

Ken B said...

“ immunity is on the march, I hope.”

We would all hope so, but exactly how does this supposed immunity march? I know only two ways, vaccination or infection and recovery. There is no vaccine, so all you are saying is the people are getting infected. You seem to posit a free floating cloud of immunity landing on places. That’s not how it works. If immunity is on the March then so, logically, is the virus.

Achilles said...

bagoh20 said...
Then again, Italy with 5X as many cases is running an 8% fatality rate. They also are running an infection rate that is 27 times ours by population. The top four nations by infection rate are Italy, Switzerland, Norway, and Spain, all over 200 per million. The U.S. stands at 19/M. Why would that be? Maybe public transportation being so common there? Our most infected cities, NYC, Seattle, and SF also use a lot of public transportation.


Viruses persist in the environment for an amount of time after expelled from the host. On tables and doorknobs etc.

The humidity and temperature of the environment affect the percentage of virus that survives drying on a surface and how long it can survive dry on that surface.

If you look at temperature/humidity band maps during these time periods compared to outbreak locations the match is uncanny for a fairly narrow band of temperatures.

Achilles said...

mockturtle said...
We likely know of nearly ever single case of death from the virus

Not by a long shot, bagoh. Unless you think everyone who died of some respiratory infection in the past three months were tested. And--hey, no test kits!

This is wrong.

Autopsies are done on people who died with respiratory problems right now. The only number you can count on right now if you can count on anything being honest in this system is the number of deaths from Conrona Virus.

Achilles said...

Ken B said...
“ The "flu" argument is something I'm deleting now and from now on ... Shape up or be regarded as a troll.”

Well I certainly understand this. It really is pernicious nonsense, and several of us have refuted it often, and with high quality links. I asked at least one of those arguing we are in a wild over reaction to make an argument that doesn’t rely on the flu thing. He (think “tendon”) refused.

I refused?

More likely I didn't notice.

I skip over people who have particularly lame styles of argument and tend towards just being snarky douchebags who post about their illustrious victories in really stupid ways.



Gospace said...

Paul said...
Iran.... couldn't happen to a uh worse regime. But I bet North Korea, with all their commerce with China and their malnutrition problems, is being devastated to. Again, couldn't happen to a worse regime. You have my crocodile tears.

That leaves... the brutal regimes in Africa. I wonder how they will fair?


Africa, for the most part, either too hot, too humid, or both for flu or C-19 to spread. BTW, I read that increasing the humidity in most U.S. public buildings would be one of the most cost effective ways to reduce flu numbers yearly.

But as another person I read put it, "When epidemics are a way of life, what's one more?" Pretty much Africa.

Marcus said...

I'll pray for the hostess as I would do for anyone who paints religious people with such a broad brush.

THEOLDMAN

And there is no hidden meaning in my use of the word "broad"

Achilles said...

Amadeus 48 said...
What is the "flu" argument?


The flu argument is that orders of magnitude more people are dying of the flu right now than COVID-19. Also see swine flu which killed between 115000 people and 565,000 people worldwide. These were all acceptable before. But not anymore and people cannot explain why. The flu killed 300,000 people this year is the lowest estimate.

Additionally the current insane reaction to COVID-19 is going to lead to losses in productivity that will cause more death and hardship that the virus itself will cause.

People are going to starve. Things are not going to get built. Energy is not going to be produced. Food is not going to be grown. This will particularly affect the poor.

Nobody cared about a few hundred thousand people dying in 2009. Pointing that out hurts feelings.

Michael McNeil said...

The CIA did exactly that in 1953. Seemed to work out for the short-term, but not so well long-term. It's one of the (if not the) reason they don't like nor trust the USofA now-a-days.

Who's “they”? Some few Iranian leftists who survived the Islamic Revolution? The mullahs and Islamists in charge of the Islamic Revolutionary government certainly don't “not like” nor “trust” (hah!) the “USofA” “now-a-days” for any such leftist-conceit reason. No, the Islamists hate the U.S. because it's the “Great Satan”!

As for the people of Iran outside those highly restricted and ideologically selective circles — best I can tell the Iranian people are among the most pro-American folk on earth.

Greg the class traitor said...

Blogger Jessica said...
I saw several articles in which scientists are saying we need to socially distance for 18 months until there is a vaccine. I honestly believe that will lead to societal collapse across the world. The economy will collapse, poverty will devour the nations, crime will surge out of control. But the alternative of millions of additional deaths from the disease is also completely unacceptable. Thoughts?

There's 300 million people in America. If every single one of them got infected with the Wuhan Virus, and 3% died, taht would be 9 million dead. Probably 1/2 of them out of the workforce

If we shut down the economy for 2 - 3 months, we're looking at closer to 90% of the population dad. Because that's what happens when the economy utterly crashes, food doesn't get delivered to cities, goods don't get created, etc.

I know which is the bigger tragedy

FullMoon said...


Biden Falsely Claims U.S. Refused Coronavirus Tests From WHO

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Anyone noticed how many new people have showed up in the commentariat the last three weeks? And I'm not talking about the commenters just on this blog -- I mean all of them. At least the ones I follow.

That could mean a lot of things. A lot of Anonymous comments (thankfully not allowed on this blog), people staying home and more engaged in the blogosphere, people who are bored seeking an outlet for expression, people looking for connection, people...

What I find most interesting are the people who don't post their own thoughts, but just critique, criticize and refute others' thoughts. Nothing generative, just critical. Such people tend to be rude, snide and curiously ideological. Even absolutist, in many cases. No information, data, nor backup. They arrive with levels of ontological certitude not commonly seen.

I think they're full of shit. Unusually vacuous. Strange. And invariably Trump-hating. Conspicuously so, I might add...

cyrus83 said...

It depends on what obligations the religion places on its followers. If visiting a shrine is considered a necessary action in the religion and there is no mechanism in place to dispense with the obligation, then yes, it is perfectly rational that these people opted to storm the courtyards to follow a religious tenet rather than listen to someone talking about the risk of disease. That is generally the same kind of mentality one would see in the saints, where the fidelity to the religion takes precedence over physical well-being.

Christians have a similar dilemma to deal with regarding Sunday worship. Is the command to attend church on Sunday absolute or can it be dispensed with when circumstances warrant? The Catholics, for example, have a legal mechanism wherein the bishop can dispense the obligation for some or all of his territory for just reason, many such decrees have been published in response to this pandemic.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said..This is very sad. It shows the problem of embedding people too deeply in religion. They feel they need to get to the shrine, apparently.

I had roughly the same comment re: the college kids partying in huge groups down at FL beaches earlier this week...