Roundup 195

March 13, 2020

New Events


(it is dominating the news. But it is beginning to impact all mission agencies, so I’ve chosen to continue devoting significant space to it.)

Dashboard: 127k known cases, 4.7k deaths, 68k recovered - Link … 4.7k deaths / 127k cases = Case Fatality Rate of 3.7% globally … Doubling Rate outside of China - every 3 to 6 days, depending on country

Top countries hit: China, Italy, Iran, S Korea, France, Spain, Germany, US … all >1k known and confirmed infections (many unknowns possible)


What coronavirus does to the body - Link … Vast majority of cases (esp. among young) are mild, but 10 to 20% of cases need hospitalization … hospitalization, if needed, will require supportive care over several weeks … this care allows them to outlast the worst effects of the inflammation … some % of those hospitalized will not survive, % is higher for elderly or already-sick

How to not get sick (when traveling, and other tips) - Link … masks might keep you from spreading it, but uncertain they will/won’t help you avoid it … … (most things I'm reading say the standard basic masks won't help) … wash your hands! …

Mysteriously affecting the elderly, not the kids - Link … no one knows why. But it’s good news/bad news depending on your age, at least. … some agencies needing to take special precautions due to age of workers


Tests show new virus lives on some surfaces for up to 3 days - Link


Korea death rate kept low by virus testing blitz - Link … didn’t put curbs on internal movement, instead tested 100s of 1000s, targeted quarantine

Taiwan ‘rapidly produced, implemented 124 action items' - Link … border control, case identification, quarantine, education …

Iran is facing a massively devastating pandemic, hard to know full impact … top advisers, government officials, military personnel all infected - Link … mass graves detectable via satellite - Link

Iraq tells people not to visit religious sites - Link … banned all public gatherings, trying to avoid Iran’s Qom super-spreader

Germany: ‘Up to 70% could become infected' - Link

Italy - “confusion & fear sweep through Italy amid lockdown” - Link

Stopping the spread in Syrian refugee camps is ‘mission impossible' - Link

Metro Manila, Philippines under mandatory quarantine - Link

USA: the days of ignoring the virus are over - Link … State Department issues level 3 “reconsider travel” alert - Link … Coronavirus testing increases, shortage of supplies possible - Link … “Confronting the challenges of large-scale testing” - Link … some states launching ‘drive-through testing' - Link … lots and lots of city-wide states of emergency being issued, large gatherings cancelled

Our World in Data is attempting to estimate the testing done worldwide - Link … you don’t see what you don’t look for

Daily Life

Life in Seoul amidst the epidemic - Link

China’s new normal: life springing back after weeks of lockdown - Link … makeshift hospitals closed, don’t confuse signs with actual normality …

Coronavirus exacerbates divide between middle-class, rural underclass in China - Link … “the discontent of migrants looms over China” …

Border closings, quarantines will affect mission travel, short-term trips

I found this regularly-updated survey of air travel cancellation policies - Link

China tightens borders to prevent re-importing infections - Link … quarantine facilities for all international visitors …

India suspends tourist visas after March 13 - Link … wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot more of that in other countries … … closes border with Myanmar - Link … northeast India closes borders as well - Link

Saudi Arabia bans international travel - Link

Thailand: arrivals from 4 countries must declare self-quarantine details - Link … ‘so they can be contacted and officials can go monitor them'…

US suspends travel from EU - Link

Israel will quarantine anyone entering - Link

Mongolia closed down all international flights - Link

30,000 Afghans reportedly left Iran for Afghanistan - Link


If coronavirus goes away in the summer on its own, that’s worse news - Link … it means it can recur in the fall, and efforts to stop it failed …


Should churches forsake gathering for the sake of the vulnerable? Link … good piece from Ed Stetzer arguing they should consider it …

7 lessons from Singapore’s churches for when the virus reaches yours - Link

Lots of US churches deciding to close - Link

USA: why mainline Protestants might fear COVID-19 the most - Link … Episcopalians: 50% over age 65, average age 59 … LCMS: 41.9% over 65, etc … … “Their houses of worship are prime targets for the spread of disease” … “if we’re to keep 3 feet apart, sitting in church could be a danger”

‘Proselytizing Robots': inside South Korean church at outbreak center - Link … not sure I’d call this a ‘church' in the strictest sense? But, interesting …

Economic Hit: will affect cost of travel, but also donations

Oil price collapse beyond any government’s control - Asia Times … ‘hit by both a demand and supply shock, has fallen nearly 50%' … was $115/barrel 18 months ago, now $30/barrel. … Fiscal break-even prices: Saudi, $83; Russia, $42; Iran, $195 … … probability of a systemic crisis is heightened …

Thousands of flights canceled worldwide due to demand shrinkage - BBC … lots of reports of summer short-term trips being canceled… … 4 most heavily hit countries also account for 25% of global airline revenue - Link

I don’t have a good collection of economic analysis yet, … Coronavirus affecting supply chains - Link … but also the demand side (people don’t want to buy) … and service sector (restaurants, hotels, theaters, etc)

#Other Events (not on the radar)

Sahel violence: Dozens dead in latest Burkina Faso attack - Link … 43 killed Monday in attack on two villages …

Ethiopia’s Ambo city: “from freedom to repression under Abiy Ahmed” - Link … security forces try to curb growth of ethnically-inspired rebel, opposition groups …

Guinea-Bissau’s ongoing political chaos - Link … ‘could boost cocaine trade' … analysts do not agree how many coups in 46 years of independence

Desert locust situation update - Link … in huge chunks of East Africa …

Targeted for wanting to go to school in Cameroon - Link … ‘a boycott of education … to get political recognition' …

Enhancing water security and the role of diplomacy in Africa’s Mara Basin - Link … vital water source for 1 million people …

Afghanistan: US begins withdrawing troops - Link … watching to see what happens in the near future, remembering Libya …

A new ‘emperor': Russia girds for 16 more years of Putin - Link … “The quasi-monarchy that we basically now have is a very good thing”

Philippines: Martial law has lapsed in Mindanao, but little has changed - Link … curfews, checkpoints, military remain in place …

‘We were like animals': inside Greece’s secret site for migrants - Link … migrants & refugees are among the most powerless and abused, worldwide …

New Data

I have ordered the new World Christian Encyclopedia, now available in the USA - Link

New Longreads

‘Educate children in their mother tongue', says UN expert - link … ‘noticeably better academic results' + a lot of other benefits … but lots of languages are dying out?

China’s poorly planned cities: urban sprawl, rural underclass - Link … ‘urban sprawl diminishes efficiency, productivity from people concentration' … ‘hukou' = ‘apartheid without the racism'

Vivendi launches a comprehensive report, “Gen Z and entertainment” - Link … h/t Jeff R. GenZ: 8-second attention span, connected, inclusive, anxious

Book Review: The history of Christian missions in Guangxi, China - Link

Just for Luck: how does young China view superstition? Link

Why lifehacks won’t help you manage your time - Link … “you have to know yourself and your ‘prime time'”

New Technology

Amazon to start selling cashier-less technology to other retailers - Link … this could have a huge impact on the retail world … … I could envision this trend re-vitalizing malls where limited-personnel stores could be operated in secure environments …

Internet shutdown in Oromia, Ethiopia takes a heavy toll - Link … internet and phone service have been off for two months …

New Quotables

“Fear often has a way to masquerade itself as wisdom.” ~Pastor Andre Tan, City Church, Singapore