Five Views of the Wuhan Flu

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts describes the five main ways of looking at the current pandemic:


Coronavirus: Five typical reactions

So as we enter into the end of our first real month of reacting to the Covid-19 virus, I’ve noticed about five general groups of people when it comes to reacting to this.  Like all such groupings, this is not some clean cut set of categories that people fit 100% neatly into each and every day.  It’s just a difference in general reaction I’ve noticed. The five basic groups I’ve noticed are:

The Hysterics Group: We’re going to die by the millions.  We’ll be under state mandated military police state martial law totalitarianism as people drop over by the tens of millions.  There simply is nothing to stop it.  All is over.  A dark age begins.  It’s worth noting that many – not all, but many – who are in this group also display rather obvious ideological and political agendas.   Left of Lenin progressive pundits and Never Trumpers are plentiful in this group.  Naturally it’s mostly Trump’s fault.  Also in this group, in a strange twist, are many I know from Orthodox Christian areas.  In that case, it often comes packaged in a ‘Divine Justice’ interpretation of events.

The Fear and Panic Group:  These aren’t quite so stark as the Hysterics crowd, but they see much suffering, death and misery coming with our lives forever changed.  Many are here.  Many medical experts in front of cameras seem to be here.  If we take the most radical, over the top measures imaginable, we could reduce the worst case scenario numbers of millions dead by half!  Some who peddle for agendas and scoring points against this or that leader are here.   This is likely the most common I’m hearing from those notables who have the media’s ear as well as the media itself.

The Caution and Concern Group:  The other set of medical experts are here, accepting many of the dire warnings, but being somewhat skeptical of the worst case scenarios.  They tend to emphasize the fact that the numbers are fuzzy, death rates seem to vary country to country in terms of severity, and don’t put too much on model based predictions.  They also emphasize the need to go along with most of the extreme measures being rolled out to stop this.   Much of the Christian leadership world seems here.  Accept the severity of the predictions, go along with the most extreme solutions, and hope and even pray that STEM steps in to save the day.

The be prepared but this will pass with more of a whimper than the predicted roar Group:  They realize it is a virus, and likely a serious one.  With that, we should do what we need to do to mitigate it, though concern for the long term consequences of radical measures is high in the thinking.  They don’t dismiss the possibility of a very bad global pandemic, perhaps with high death rates and infection rates.  They simply insist that the numbers may or may not go in the worst directions, and it might be worth considering long term harm done by extreme prevention if, in months to come, it turned out nowhere nearly as bad as predicted.  They also, FWIW, point out that a big problem is that we have no way of evaluating this in terms of prevention and results.  If the virus kills millions, the medical community can insist we didn’t do enough.  If it doesn’t, and blows over with nowhere near the infection rates feared, they can say it’s because we took the radical measures.  We’ll never know the truth of this, so proceeding with cautious caution is the wise move.  Put me in this group.

The what virus?  It’s a [fill in the blank] conspiracy Group:  This is the group, often more libertarian or right of center, who’s pretty sure it’s all bunk.  Oh, they admit there is a virus.  They acknowledge it could be bad, and washing hands or being careful around seniors may not be a bad thing.  But most of this is overreaction at best, a vast conspiracy to take away our freedoms at worst.  There is also no shortage of conspiracy theories here, with tales of a man made virus to eliminate the elderly, or to stop the Hong Kong protests (which it has done), or to come into our lives and set us up to give up all freedoms and liberties, abound.  Nobody here denies the virus, but they see it mostly as a big nothing burger being exploited by the principalities and powers.  And as for ideology, they still cling to the old Free Market Freedom notion, and if millions get ruined by this no matter which way it goes, we must preserve the purity of a non-tainted market.

Those are the general ones.  There are overlaps to be sure, and I’m not saying it’s the final word.  Just something I’ve noticed over the last week or so.  One bonus observation, as I heard that in Ohio elective surgery is being limited if not banned during the duration of the outbreak: Does abortion count as elective surgery?

UPDATE#1: Perhaps nobody embodies Group One (the Hysterics) more than Rod Dreher.  In addition to the ‘It’s Trump’s fault, he’s toast, we told you he was a threat to the world’, he also posts daily reminders that this is the apocalypse and the world is doomed to an age and and age of terror and unprecedented carnage.  And in a bit of irony, he just posted a broadside against a Christian pastor for not closing his church and banning church services in obedience to the State.  That would be Rod Dreher, author of “The Benedict Option” in which he argues Christians have to be prepared to gather and remain faithful against the assault against religious liberty and freedoms we’ve come to take for granted, and who makes protecting religious liberty and defying State oppression a primary cause.  Let that sink in.

Go here to comment.  Put me down in the fourth category, shading into the fifth category, sans conspiracy theory.  I really wish more conspiracy theories were true since it would mean that human stupidity is less of a factor in human affairs than it tends to be.  Unfortunately the ever abundant resource of human folly render most conspiracy theories redundant.
Of course, I can’t allow a blog post go by on people viewing something and coming to differing conclusions, without referencing the film Rashomon, that searing look at how truth can very much be in the eye of the beholder:

More to explorer


  1. It seems that there is a vast difference between 4 and 5. I’m not really in 4 but clearly not in 5 either.

  2. I’m in the think like an engineer category.
    – flatten the curve, got it, no one wants hospitals overrun and people dying in parking lots.
    – they’re sure of the numerator, but not the denominator when it comes to the virus. Many may have it it with mild symptoms, they just don’t know.
    We could be overreacting, and it’s because of unknowns.
    – if China wasn’t a communist country which covered things up we’d know more. Send them the bill.
    – we’re not going into a recession, there’s nothing wrong with the car, it’s parked in the driveway.
    – I give this break one month tops.

  3. Firmly with Dave in the “be prepared but this shall pass” category.

    Of course, that’s a little harder to do today now that my bishop, like his brother bishops, has made it next to impossible to get right with God–and stay that way.

  4. That would be Rod Dreher, author of “The Benedict Option” in which he argues Christians have to be prepared to gather and remain faithful against the assault against religious liberty and freedoms we’ve come to take for granted, and who makes protecting religious liberty and defying State oppression a primary cause.

    In a world where everything is seemingly spinning out of control and the only constant is change, ONE MAN embarks on a personal quest, in search of a lifestyle of meaning and significance.
    Rod Dreher is that man in
    Crunchy Cons
    The Benedict Option
    Whatever fresh piece navel-gazing hell his forthcoming book is.

  5. Rod has been suffering from TDS for quite some time, he has no faith in this President’s ability to get things done, even though that “defines” the Trumpster.
    he’s also embarked on his own leaving the bark or St Peter…..
    Add in CVH (corona virus hysteria), he’s a man in a vast ocean screaming at the wind.

  6. I’ve seen it remarked that the problem with the modeling is that the projections are quite sensitive to parameters.

    I think our single best guess as to what will happen is the data of the Diamond Princess. About 700 of the 3,200 passengers were infected, of which about 360 were symptomatic at one point. About 2/3 of the symptomatic passengers were people over 60. This far, 7 passengers have died and 14 cases were serious / critical and remain unresolved.

    The probability of a symptomatic infection did not vary much by age. The old were more likely to be infected, but, once infected, less likely to show symptoms. We have just shy of 70 million people in this country over 60. If just north of 11% are infected and symptomatic, we’ll have just shy of 8 million symptomatic infections. If the infection kills about 3-9% of the elderly symptomatic, that will translate into between 225,000 to 675,000 deaths, enough to raise the annual death rate by 8% to 25%. Given the size of the population today, that would be between 1 / 10th and 1/3 d as severe as the 1918-20 Spanish flu.

    Another possibility for at least the first wave would be the province of Hubei. I believe there were about 2, 700 deaths in Hubei and about 1,800 cases remain unresolved. The population of the United States is 5.7x the population of Hubei, so the death toll in the first wave of infection here might be 15,000 to 27,000.

    It may be ugly.

    As for Dreher, all of his columns are reports on his emotional state (with a hook). S. M. Hutchens offered a while back that many women think of their husbands as pets. That would be, I’d guess, how you’d adjust to having such a high-maintenance character on your hands.

    That would be Rod Dreher, author of “The Benedict Option” in which he argues Christians have to be prepared to gather and remain faithful against the assault against religious liberty and freedoms we’ve come to take for granted, and who makes protecting religious liberty and defying State oppression a primary cause.

    My personal favorite was the off-hand admission around about 2008 that all the windows in his house were painted shut and he had the a/c running 24/7. He blabbed a certain amount about how fond he was about his old Dallas neighborhood, but not, notably, about how many homes therein might burn down now and again.

  7. I have ripped into Dreher here more than a few times. I consider his move to Orthodoxy chicken ” . A real Catholic does not give up and quit on the face of bad times
    We stay and fight it out.
    His hatred of Trump is beyond reason. He may be theost virulent never Trumper there is, although not the best known. He is another Mark Shea. His rationality has been shredded by his hatred of Trump, much as Shea lost it over the waterboarding thing.
    Dumb and dangerous is a bad combination.

  8. “A real Catholic does not give up and quit on the face of bad times.”

    Apparently now we do. At least as far as all the visible signs of our communion are concerned.

  9. Art, I agree with you re: the Diamond Princess. But any number of internet Constitutional epidemiology experts will insist those numbers don’t count because people self isolated in their cabins and sick people were taken off the ship.
    Not sure how to respond to that contention, other than to not bother, since your likely dealing with an unless we take drastic measures we’re all going to DIE! type, and there’s no reasoning with them.

  10. An example of Rod Dreher’s hysteria that I found very disturbing was his Roy Moore Derangement Syndrome during the race to fill Jeff Session’s senate seat.

    Even when challenged with evidence disputing the accusations against Roy Moore, Rod would not let up on his attacks against Roy or his defense of the accusers.

    I find it very disturbing when a journalist abandons guilt without a reasonable doubt for “credibly accused” based upon claims that cannot be corroborated and is some cases are proven to be incredible.

    Although Doug Jones can hardly be considered an advocate for traditional Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox moral positions, his has proven to be the most anti-Trump candidate for the senate seat he now holds.

    claims be corroborated.

  11. from Wikipedia: Biopreparat was a system of 18, nominally civilian, research laboratories and centers scattered chiefly around European Russia, in which a small army of scientists and technicians developed biological weapons such as anthrax, Ebola, Marburg virus, plague, Q fever, Junin virus, glanders, and smallpox.
    Several decades ago a similar accident killed the scientists and the research lab was cordoned off.
    The idea was to invent a plague that was quick and efficient: small pox combined with ebola.
    It seems that China has succeeded.

  12. I’m prepared to believe this escaped from a bio-research lab, but I don’t think this Wuhan flu is a weapon. At least not a perfected one. Unless your idea is to sicken your opponent ahead of any engagement.

  13. His hatred of Trump is beyond reason.

    Oh, it’s perfectly consistent. Rod made it quite clear 14 years ago that the people whose statements of fact he takes on faith and the people he actually sympathises with are other journalists (my favorite example is his statement that the accounts of Dan Rather’s last days at CBS were ‘heartbreaking’), and this is so even though he has almost no history as a beat reporter. The other thing you see is that he is a man continually anxious over his own standing, and he is anxious not in front of you or me, but in front of people he fancies taste makers. Such people are not fond of the president.

    The American Conservative has always been a weird sectarian project whose primary purpose was to attack the conventional right and provide a venue for chronic complainers to vent. The content of its unseriousness has varied over the years, of course, and not all of their contributors are equally asinine. I once participated on Dreher’s boards. There were about two conventional conservatives on a board which consisted of leftists leavened with palaeocranks. He banned me for bogus reasons, so then they were down to one.

  14. I find it very disturbing when a journalist abandons guilt without a reasonable doubt for “credibly accused” based upon claims that cannot be corroborated and is some cases are proven to be incredible.

    I’m remembering the amused ribbing he took from Gerard Serafin and others on the old Open Book blog on his evidentiary standards. He’s always been a stew of biases and emotional displays.

  15. Dumb and dangerous is a bad combination.

    They aren’t the least bit dangerous. They’re word merchants, and it’s a reasonable wager they used to make a better living at it.

  16. Rod Who?

    I don’t waste eyesight/time reading lying liars.

    Sean Davis “The media hate us, they hate America and what it stands for; they hate that they failed to rig the 2016 election; failed to make Russia collusion stick; failed to make impeachment stick; and their last-ditched 2020 play is to destroy the economy.”

    Sean Davis, “The media who spent 3+ years peddling the Russia hoax, doxxing random meme makers, harassing grandmothers, defaming Catholic teenagers, lying about Kavanaugh, and claiming Net Neutrality is Armageddon didn’t magically start telling you the truth last week.”

    Art Deco, How Are You? Do you miss the abject nitwits at Marginal Revolution?

  17. Venn diagram. Too much overlap and variables changing hourly to be a useful exercise . People who were in one group 10 days not likely in same group today. Except that it gives the finger pointing group lots of fun whether the target is God or pope or president or Dreher.

  18. Art Deco, How Are You? Do you miss the abject nitwits at Marginal Revolution?

    It’s mostly a different crew there now, and there isn’t much discussion I can be bothered to follow.

    The moderators have tried to ban me multiple times. Prior to that, they had an intern stalking me, using the handle ‘msgkings’. I couldn’t figure that, bar perhaps that I was one of the few posters who criticised the moderators directly, and other functionaries of Mercatus.

    Hoping you’re well.

  19. Can I point out that what does happen in RASHOMON is rather clear? It’s basically The Woodcutter’s Tale (the stolen knife means less than some take it) and taking it as the template, you can see how The Thief, The Wife and The Husband are all shading things to their benefit while never exactly “lying.”

  20. ANZLYNE, actually most I’ve seen have clung pretty much to the approaches I noticed. As I said, it was not meant as some definitive scientific analysis. Just a general observation, especially when I kept hearing people say ‘some think the worst, some don’t care’. I noticed there was actually a spread between those two extremes. But again, I’ve noticed little change, except perhaps some who were dismissing it altogether a couple weeks ago are now at least admitting something needs done. Most I know and read who were whipping up hysterics three weeks ago are doing the same now. Most others tend to be in, or perhaps overlap, in the others as they have been. The hysterics group being the key, however, since if this doesn’t end up the bubonic plague some are predicting, then what harm came from these radical measures will more or less be on them.

  21. My good husband has been known to tell me “lighten up” to the tune and bounce of an old popular song- 😀tighten up
    In my family we are not all on the same political page or church page – I am disdainfully pointing my finger at those who point fingers of disdain

  22. Having seen puppies for sale at the then BCC Hong Kong markets with black haired dogs considered the best tasting, it’s believable that former laboratory test animals were sold at the Wuhan wet market.
    We don’t know if lab workers from the nearby research facility contracted COVID-19. We do know that the physician who ID’d the virus was under house arrest until at age 34 he died of the virus. That’s strange.
    Of NBC warfare the worst in my opinion is B for biological.

  23. Ernest- They get REALLY angry when you point out that Korea’s numbers (aka, the guys being systematic and sensible but not draconian, and not refusing to treat the sick) line up with the cruise ship’s.

    As far as the source, since I heard that there was a known issue with people selling lab animals to the wet market… I think it may be from the bio lab, but only in the normal research sense. Not the “someone took the new ebola test animal and sold it.” If only because they are probably worth more sold for having it….

    CAM- maybe we’re cynical, but husband and I have been phrasing it as “that doctor who died BECAUSE of the kung flu.” Embarrassing Chinese officials is dangerous.

  24. Yeah, I was more or less told everybody gets the flu, so sooner or later we’re all going to die. It really wasn’t appreciated when I pointed out we’re all going to die sooner or later anyways.

  25. Ernst, the Eastern Catholics are not shutting down. Please go to you tube and look up Remnant TV’s latest. There is a TLM priest in St. Paul who refuses to shut down his parish. If the diocese closes his church, he said he will find a park or a cruise ship or an empty arena and celebrate Mass.

  26. Y’know, so far as I know, NEITHER are testing for antibodies.

    So if folks got sick but it went through their system and was gone by the time they were tested, they won’t show up at all.

  27. I am Category 3. The next 14 days will see if I go to either 4 or “need more ammunition.”

    Dreher’s freakout has been eye-opening. He has always been too emotional, but good Lord…

    Anyone this put out should be off the grid in an Ozarks survival hut, not digitally shrieking in a death zone.

  28. Penguins Fan, I do not know about every Eparchy in the States, but the Eparchy of Parma (Byzantine Rite) is essentially shut down. You may see Bishop Lach’s decree at

  29. Hello, Art! It has, alas.
    We are doing ok. Didn’t like the looks of this in late January and started “prepping.” Some holes in it, but we will be to ride it out for a bit, so long as basic services continue.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: