The global panic surrounding the coronavirus outbreak is breathtaking in its overreaction. Two nations quarantined. Major events cancelled in areas where there is no coronavirus! Airlines going bankrupt. Hotels vacated. Borders locked down. Stock markets plummeting. (Warren Buffett says it’s time to invest!) One would think it is the bubonic plague, but it isn’t. COVID-19, the virus at the heart of the global panic, is a coronavirus, which is a flu virus. COVID-19 is the flu. It kills some people, mostly elderly over 70 in poor health and small children, but it is not particularly deadly in the broad scheme of things in this dying world. The vast majority of people who contract it have flu symptoms of varying degrees and go on with their lives. The death rate is 1-2%. (The death rate on the Diamond Princess was 1%, all over 70 years of age, and in South Korea, where statistics are candid, the fatality rate is 0.6%.) William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, warns, “There’s a large epidemic of coronavirus anxiety” (“Early mortality rates for coronavirus are likely misleading,” ABC News, Mar. 9, 2020). To put this business in right perspective, while a few thousand have died of COVID-19, MILLIONS have died of other things. About 3 million people die of all causes in America every year, and 56 million worldwide. That’s MILLION. Leading causes of death in America are, in the following order, heart disease, cancer, accidents, lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. Those are the first seven. Number eight is influenza (the flu) and pneumonia. About 39 thousand died of the flu last year in America. Worldwide the annual number of flu deaths is about 200,000. Where are the constantly-updated, red-blotched charts tracking those deaths? In part, it is irresponsible media entities and omnipresent social media that have stirred up the frenzy by focusing 24/7 on fear-mongering. There are warnings that 70% of the world will contract COVID-19; 20% of Americans could die; it is an escaped Chinese bioweapon; Trump is lying…. Quacks and nutcases are in “hog heaven.” Everyone has become an expert. I have a wiser source of information. The world’s most authoritative book on the future informs us that the really big epidemics are ahead. BILLIONS will die during a seven-year period that is approaching and that precedes the return of Christ to establish His kingdom. We read about them in the book of Revelation. “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth” (Revelation 6:8). As for death, the fact that multitudes are in panic mode from a flu virus with a small fatality rate proves that men are terribly afraid of dying. And CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews, BBC, UPI, Yahoo, Bloomberg, etc., are not giving the most important warning, which is that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” Hebrews 9:27), and they are not giving the most important information, which is how to be saved from eternal judgment. If you are not ready to die, you better get ready, because the mortality rate is 100%! According to the world’s most authoritative history book, only two men have left this world without dying, and that was Enoch and Elijah, and those were special cases personally superintended by God. That same book tells us the fundamental reason for death, and it is not COVID-19. It is sin, and all are sinners. The good news, in that same book, is that the compassionate Creator sent His Son to be the Saviour of the world. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
(Friday Church News Notes, March 13, 2020, www.wayoflife.org firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)