(New York) By Moshe R. Morris
Generally speaking, experts tell us that there are four factors that make a disease an epidemic or a pandemic:
- How “mediocre-deadly” it is.
- How effective it is at getting new victims
- How easy or hard it is to contain
- How elusive it is to vaccines
So now let’s see COVID-19’s report card.
1] Yes, it is mediocre deadly, hovering at about 1.6%. But not too deadly – which makes it capable of being a pandemic. If it was super deadly like Ebola – people would flee completely and there would be no further victims in that area to help it spread.
2] It spreads like crazy. We were all misinformed about how it spreads. Originally we were all told that if we just wash our hands well and we avoid touching our mouth and nose – we would be find. But that WAS NOT THE CASE. It spread like wildfire. They didn’t tell us that COVID-19 spread through the air that the victims breathe out, and that it lingers even after they leave.
And so. people got it by going shopping, and, yes, by going to Yeshiva and to shul.
3] COVID-19 is super difficult to contain – no one has been successful yet, but some have slowed it down. The shuttering ourselves in our homes can slow it down significantly and the social distancing can work – but a chain is only as strong as its weakest link – and we have a number of weak links.
4] There is no vaccine yet, but experts say that it is not evolving superfast – so a vaccine will likely work once it is developed and mass produced. Some company in Israel had announced very early on that they were already working on a vaccine for a related disease, and that it was almost ready – but that did not pan out exactly. So, while there is what to hope for, as of now – there is no vaccine.
Thus, all four of the factors have come together to form a very serious pandemic in the United States. New York is its epicenter, and we Jews must do what we can to contain the epidemic.
So what can we do? Our gvirim should be calling the Rabbis that run the shuls that are open and beg of them to stop. Our Gedolim should also call the Rabbis that are running the open shuls and getting them to shut down. That is for the physical hishtadlus.
For the other type of hishtadlus, we should be doing Teshuvah, because Hashem doesn’t seem to be too happy with our shuls and yeshivos. We should be davening. And we should be giving Tzedakah. Most of all, we should be learning Torah. May this pandemic go away k’heref ayin, and may we all remain healthy.