Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

The Israeli coronavirus bad news that is good news that is bad news

If the first coronavirus antibody tests are representative of Israel, there is some bad news that is good news.

It was now found that 270,000 would have been infected. So, some news outlets panic, there is no “herd immunity” yet and so after months, most Israelis are in as bad a situation as when the pandemic hit the Holy Land.

That may be true — again: If these first coronavirus antibody tests are representative — but then something much better would also be true. With 270 Israelis dead, that should mean that corona kills 0.1% of all those infected — the same percentage of the common flu!

When we didn’t know how many people got infected without symptoms, estimating mortality was anyone’s guessing game. In fact, conservative estimates came to 3, 5, even 8% — which meant 30, 50 or 80 times the flu!

Now, if this Israeli early finding were a sole, preliminary finding, we should take this with a large chunk of salt. But it is not. A week ago, the US CDC came with something very similar. I didn’t report it because it was such an outlier that I didn’t trust it. It reported that the death rate was rather something like 0.26%, two-and-a-half times the flu. This came after Trump had bullied the CDC so I couldn’t know if they were truthful still.

So, on the one hand, COVID-19 is not more deadly than the common flu. Shouldn’t that mean that we shouldn’t be scared of it anymore and open up our houses and society — which we also don’t lock during flu season?

The answer is a four-fold no, for these reasons:

  1. It’s deadly like the flu but hardly anyone is immune and no one can be vaccinated so many more people would get infected and die.
  2. This epidemic doesn’t stop at the end of winter so it’s corona season around the year, killing many more people.
  3. Unlike the flu, doctors hardly know this new virus so have an extremely hard time treating the bouquet of symptoms that keeps enriching itself.
  4. The flu is so contagious that — though it may kill thousands — we can’t prevent it — except by vaccination and prayer. In comparison, this new coronavirus is much less contagious and thus, we can and so we must try to stop the bloodbath. Not like in Sweden that wants to ride out the storm until most are immune, with now a death toll of 4,468 with no end in sight.

That this new virus has the same mortality as the common flu but is still much more dangerous and deadly is not counter-intuitive as we see the enormous death toll in New York or the US as a whole, which far outnumbers the yearly flu toll.

So, hurray that COVID-19 is only as deadly as the common flu. But hold your horses or it might kill dozens of times more than the flu kills per year.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500th blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry, and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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