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

Wrong again: the current COVID-19 hotspots in Israel are no hotspots

If there are hotspots of COVID-19 outbreaks, why is the PM blaming all Israelis? Who do we all have to be more careful if only some of us are neglecting their responsibilities? However, that may not be true.

* * *

The newest figures say that in Chaired neighborhoods in Jerusalem, the virus spreads twice as fast as in the rest of the Capital.

But — big but — of the newly infected, 72% are members of the same nuclear family in the same household of someone infected already.

Everyone knows that the number of children (and grownups) in Chareidic circles is at least twice as high as in secular homes. In other words: There are only more Chareidic COVID-19 patients now because they have more people per household. Not because they are more careless.

In other words, the hotspots are not hotspots.

I would not be surprised if the same is true for Arab Jerusalem.

Much as I think that we religious Jews should be held to a higher standard than less-religious Jews — as my blog posts regularly show, in this case, the figures don’t show that in Chareidic neighborhoods the behavior is less responsible. So: no lockdown selectively for the hotspots that aren’t.


On a happier note, a faster spread of the infection might point to a virus mutation that makes it more susceptible. That would be good news because generally, that would make it also less deadly — as I explained before. However, less deadly in percentage may also kill more people, because less dead in more infected could still elevate the death toll.

The overall moral: be more careful with avoiding crowded, closed places for longer than 15 minutes (and especially places where people shout or sing), avoiding people who do not wear masks, wear a mask, wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap after touching public surfaces before eating or touching your face, and stay home if you can. You don’t only avoid a small chance to die from the infection, and a chance to infect others, and a chance to get a horrible sickbed but you also avoid having a mild form that could make you exhausted for many months.

It seems to me that an overlooked factor that may heavily influence how much the coronavirus may sicken someone is the amount of virus we breathe in. That is not just an all-or-nothing issue of being infected or not. That, in infected, a low amount of virus making it into the lungs may be less bad for your health. Not only is the greatest chance when infected that you survive. But if you get infected minimally, your survival chances may be enormously greater. Just yet another reason to use your brain and prevent getting infected as much as possible.

Also, the later one gets the infection, if at all, the better it is. Because the virus likely will be less aggressive, the physicians will know better what to check and how to help you with healing, there will be less chance of infecting others because more people got it already, and there will always be a chance that you’ll have the vaccine before the virus gets to you.


The trophy for the most ridiculous piece of writing about COVID-19 this week goes to an article that asks if our life expectancy will go down since COVID-10 tends to kill mostly the elderly. Any 6-year-old can understand that life expectancy would go down much more if the coronavirus would kill mostly younger people. With a mortality rate of 0.5 and a spread in the population of 5% per year, no effect on how old we’ll get is to be expected.

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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