Coronavirus: Why so many people are dying in Belgium

Belgium believes its high Covid-19 mortality rate is down to more rigorous counting of cases.

That rate, unlike the total number of fatalities, is a measure of the number of deaths in relation to the size of population.

President Donald Trump pointed to a graph recently, displaying Belgium at the top and the US in seventh place, as a result of the number of deaths relative to population size.

President Donald Trump listens beside a chart showing daily mortality cases during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2020

He was suggesting the US was handling the pandemic more effectively.

Belgium has a population of 11.5 million. That means 66 people in every 100,000 have died from Covid-19. In the US, with a population of around 330 million, it’s 19 in every 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

But those figures are “faulty comparisons” that have been “abused”, argues Prof Steven Van Gucht, a Belgian virologist and government spokesman.

“That’s the difference between public health science and political motivation,” he explains. “That’s purely inspired by showing how good you are doing, and it’s wrong. We are actually reporting in a more correct way.”

What’s different about Belgium?

Belgian officials say they are counting in a way that no other country in the world is currently doing: counting deaths in hospitals and care homes, but including deaths in care homes that are suspected, not confirmed, as Covid-19 cases. Continue reading “Coronavirus: Why so many people are dying in Belgium”

Resurrection and Our Coronavirus Times

Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox

Recently, in response to my DM’s on resurrection, Easter, and our current coronavirus emergency, I received a tweet from a reader in the UK who asked  “Why the current situation does indeed bring a resurrection?”   I believe it brings resurrection if it wakes people up to:

Father and daughter washing hands. Photo by CDC on Unsplash

1) Our interdependence–which is much deeper than our apartness or differences;

2) Learning not to take basics for granted such as good health–and the health of our planet;

3) Honoring the good work that people do and can do when they get themselves trained to serve;

4) The holes in our so-called ‘safety-nets’ and how to remedy them;

5) Getting out of denial about climate change, which will make this pandemic seem like  a picnic compared to the changes to come if we don’t change deeply in the next 9 years;

6) How we can all live more simply on this planet;

7) How we ought to celebrate more deeply while we are healthy;

8) How we can–when we have to–take radical life-changing decisions as a group and must do re. climate change bearing down on us;

9) How much generosity and willingness to sacrifice resides in the human heart–a lot more than we are often aware of;

10) Lessons in how precious life and existence are for all of us born of the 13.8 billion years of the Universe’s unfolding;

Continue reading “Resurrection and Our Coronavirus Times”

Revealed: leader of group peddling bleach as coronavirus ‘cure’ wrote to Trump this week

The leader of the most prominent group in the US peddling potentially lethal industrial bleach as a “miracle cure” for coronavirus wrote to Donald Trump at the White House this week.

Trump eating Kentucky Fried Chicken … without any bleach

THE GUARDIAN

The leader of the most prominent group in the US peddling potentially lethal industrial bleach as a “miracle cure” for coronavirus wrote to Donald Trump at the White House this week.

In his letter, Mark Grenon told Trump that chlorine dioxide – a powerful bleach used in industrial processes such as textile manufacturing that can have fatal side-effects when drunk – is “a wonderful detox that can kill 99% of the pathogens in the body”. He added that it “can rid the body of Covid-19”.

A few days after Grenon dispatched his letter, Trump went on national TV at his daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on Thursday and promoted the idea that disinfectant could be used as a treatment for the virus. To the astonishment of medical experts, the US president said that disinfectant “knocks it out in a minute. One minute!”

He went on to say: “Is there a way we can do something, by an injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that.”

Trump did not specify where the idea of using disinfectant as a possible remedy for Covid-19 came from, and the source for his notion remains obscure. But the Guardian has learned that peddlers of chlorine dioxide – industrial bleach – have been making direct approaches to the White House in recent days.

Grenon styles himself as “archbishop” of Genesis II – a Florida-based outfit that claims to be a church but which in fact is the largest producer and distributor of chlorine dioxide bleach as a “miracle cure” in the US. He brands the chemical as MMS, “miracle mineral solution”, and claims fraudulently that it can cure 99% of all illnesses including cancer, malaria, HIV/Aids as well as autism.

Since the start of the pandemic, Genesis II has been marketing MMS as a cure to coronavirus. It advises users, including children, to mix three to six drops of bleach in water and drink it.

In his weekly televised radio show, posted online on Sunday, Grenon read out the letter he wrote to Trump. He said it began: “Dear Mr President, I am praying you read this letter and intervene.”

Grenon said that 30 of his supporters have also written in the past few days to Trump at the White House urging him to take action to protect Genesis II in its bleach-peddling activities which they claim can cure coronavirus.

On Friday, hours after Trump talked about disinfectant on live TV, Grenon went further in a post on his Facebook page. He claimed that MMS had actually been sent to the White House. He wrote: “Trump has got the MMS and all the info!!! Things are happening folks! Lord help others to see the Truth!”

Paradoxically, Trump’s outburst about the possible value of an “injection” of disinfectant into the lungs of Covid-19 sufferers came just days after a leading agency within the president’s own administration took action to shut down the peddling of bleach as a coronavirus cure around the US.

Continue reading “Revealed: leader of group peddling bleach as coronavirus ‘cure’ wrote to Trump this week”

Benedictine nuns release Gregorian chants to help ease coronavirus isolation

French order opens abbey doors to allow what could be the largest recording project ever

A monastery of Benedictine nuns living in seclusion in southern France has opened its doors to allow recordings of its Gregorian chants to be made available to the outside world.

In what is believed to be the largest recording project ever conducted, the US musician John Anderson followed the 45-strong order for three years. He installed microphones in the abbey church of Notre-Dame de Fidélité de Jouques near Aix-en-Provence in southern France and captured the nuns singing their eight daily “offices”. The result is thousands of chants, the entire Gregorian repertoire, about 7,000 hours long. Continue reading “Benedictine nuns release Gregorian chants to help ease coronavirus isolation”