Humanity has faced many pandemics over several thousand years of recorded history. The Plague of Justinian in 541 BC killed roughly half the western world’s population at that time. The Black Death was also estimated to have wiped out 50 million people, or half the population of Europe when it hit in the 14th century.
Putting the Corona Virus in Perspective
Now let’s contrast the Plague of Justinian, the Black Death and more recent viruses over the last century with the Corona Virus (COVID-19).
There have been about 35,000 cases of Ebola since 1976. It had a fatality rate of about 40 percent. The H1N1 virus has seen about 1.6 million cases since 2009 and it has a 17 percent fatality rate. To date, the Corona virus has about a 3 percent fatality rate.
However, the Corona virus is different from some of these other viruses we have seen over the last century because if is much more easily transmitted and stays active longer. It can literally be transmitted by someone with them just breathing a few feet away from you. It stays active on surfaces for many hours. So, because it can be so easily transmitted there will be a lot more people that get it.
Some estimates show 80 percent of the population in most areas of the world could be infected with the Corona virus. The world has roughly 8 billion people, and if 80 percent are infected with the Corona virus and 3 percent die from it that means roughly 200 million people world wide could die from this virus.
While that 200 million people are far greater than the number that died from the Black Death in Europe, if we look at it in proportion to the population it is far less of the population that will die.
And the vast majority of those 200 million deaths will most likely come from the elderly populations in most nations of the world as that is the group who can typically have the weakest immune systems.
And while 80 percent of the world might be infected with the virus, the vast majority will only experience mild symptoms. Johns Hopkins medical did an excellent comparison of the Corona Virus to common strains of flu that people are infected with each year. Below are some similarities between the flu and the Corona Virus:
Both cause fever, cough, body aches, fatigue; sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
Can be mild or severe, even fatal in rare cases.
Can result in pneumonia.
Both can be spread from person to person through droplets in the air from an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking.
Neither virus is treatable with antibiotics, which only work on bacterial infections.
Both may be treated by addressing symptoms, such as reducing fever. Severe cases may require hospitalization and support such as mechanical ventilation.
Both may be prevented by frequent, thorough hand washing, coughing into the crook of your elbow, staying home when sick and limiting contact with people who are infected.”
What About the World Wide Lock Down?
In the last week governors across the world and the United States, including the governor of the state I live in, ordered that all larger areas where people congregate be shut down for the next few weeks at least. That means no movie theaters, no eating at restaurants (take out only), no sporting events and no church services.
All of this is being done to make sure our medical facilities don’t get overrun and I think most people understand the rational behind the move.
But the fact remains that the vast majority of us will most likely get this just like the vast majority of us experience colds and flu bugs each year unless we have the flu vaccination (which I get for me and my family each year). So, we really are only trying to stave off the inevitable.
My son works as a help desk support person at a local hospital and so does his girlfriend. They already have people with the Corona virus. It is very likely my son could be infected with the virus and bring it home to me and my family. Am I saying we should not wash our hands or take sensible measures to try and not get infected? Of course not. We should certainly take all these appropriate measures. I am just saying despite taking these measures, there is still a highly likely chance we will get infected.
But let’s return to government measures to limit group gatherings. These next few weeks should be used to put standard triage procedures in place at all the nation’s hospitals to prioritize those who truly need medical assistance and those who should just stay home and weather this out.
We cannot have everyone who experiences a fever and coughing overwhelming our emergency rooms and doctors’ offices. Only those like the elderly, infants or others with compromised immune systems or severe symptoms should be going to hospitals. We need an education campaign to get everyone ready for this.
The message boils down to this:
“Yes, most of us will get sick. But for most of us it will be no different than a cold or flu bug. Please do not overwhelm doctors’ offices or hospitals if you are not experiencing severe symptoms.”
Now that we have placed the Corona Virus in its proper perspective in comparison to other pandemics, we will now look at this from a spiritual perspective.
We Have a Hope that Humanists and Others Don’t Have
Humanists believe they can rid the world of all crime, abuse, sickness, poverty and perhaps one day even death by teaching people to have faith in humanity and human ingenuity. But if we as Christians believe God’s Word, then we know that only God can rid these things from the world and one day he will. The Bible tells us these things will not be removed until God comes and makes the world anew after removing those who reject him and casting them into the lake of fire for all of eternity.
In Revelation 21:1-4 we read the following:
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
Revelation 21:1-4 (KJV)
The Bible tells us as Christians that if we allow it, suffering in this life can cause us to focus on the hope that is found only in God:
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
Romans 5:1-5 (KJV)
So yes – both Christians and non-Christians all over the world will most likely be infected with the Corona virus. Christians and non-Christians alike will die from this virus. So, what is the difference? The difference is that for humanists around the world, their hope and faith is in humanity. Our hope and faith is in God. All they have is this life in this world which they cling to so tightly, but we have a hope for a life beyond this world which they cannot understand.
Whenever natural catastrophes or pandemics happen this is God’s way of repeating to the world what he said in Deuteronomy 32:39:
“See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.”
God is sovereign over all his creation, all living beings, all people whether they be Christian or non-Christian. And these times are a powerful demonstration of God’s sovereignty.
God has slowed down the world, if only for a time. He has focused our attention away from all the things that take us away from our homes and brought us back to a focus on the home and the family. And this is a wonderful thing that has come from an otherwise bad situation.
I pray that God will use this pandemic to bring many to Christ and also to strengthen the faith of us who are already his. For those of you are who are in Christ I leave you with this blessed hope: