Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 March 2020 Proverbs 1:7.

Proverbs 1:7.    ​The fear (reverence, reverential awe) of the Lord is the (principal) beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
 
It’s like a ghost town; like a lockdown in jail! Mama! The whole country is now in a state of near immobility. There’s been directives from the Prime Minister, the Premier, the Mayor, even my City Councillor to shut it down, stay home and practice social distancing. Hn! What a bam bam! Around my house, only the birds are singing, and hopefully the garbage truck will soon pass by to pick up the garbage. Nothing or no one else seems to be moving. I don’t know if our world has ever had so many states of emergencies at the same time, even in times of serious warfare. But that’s what it seems it will take to help defeat this Coronavirus. 

And life is so strange and mankind so foolish, stubborn and full of himself, that I want to share something that if it’s true, and there’s no reason to doubt it, could have avoided a lot of this disaster. It’s a video of an apparent warning from Bill Gates, back in 2015, at a conference about the Ebola Virus; another virus that caught us flat-footed and without any protection.  His words were: ‘Today, the greatest risk of global catastrophe doesn’t look like this…’ and the video shows a huge nuclear cloud mushrooming in the atmosphere. ‘Instead, it looks like this…’ and the video shows a microscopic enlargement of a germ cell. 

‘If anything kills over ten million people over the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war. Not missiles, but microbes. Now part of the reason for this is that we’ve invested a huge amount in nuclear deterrents, but we’ve actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic. We’re not ready for the next epidemic! You can have a virus where people feel well enough while they are infectious that  they get on a plane or they go to a market. The source of the virus could be a natural epidemic like Ebola or it could be bio-terrorism. And so there are things that would literally make things a thousand times worse. 

In fact, let’s look at a model of a virus spread through the air, like the Spanish flu back in 1918. So here’s what would happen: It would spread throughout the world very very quickly…’ And a graph comes up showing how quickly the virus spread back then – some 36 million in 263 days – ‘And you can see that over 30 million people died from that epidemic. So this is a serious problem. We should be concerned. But in fact we can build a really good response system. We have the benefits of all the science and technology that we’ve talked about here. 

We’ve got cell phones, to get information from the public and to get information out to them; we have satellite maps, where we can see where people are, and where they’re moving; we have advances in biology that should dramatically change the turn around time to look at a pathogen and be able to make drugs and vaccines that’s fit for that pathogen. So we can have tools, but those tools need to be put into an overall global health system…and we need preparedness. The best lessons I think on how to get prepared, are again what we do for war. 

For soldiers, we have full time – waiting to go. We have reserves that can scale us up to large numbers and NATO has a mobile unit that can deploy very rapidly. NATO does a lot of war games to check, are people well trained, that they understand about fuel and logistics and the same radio frequencies, so they are absolutely ready to go. So those are the kinds of things we need to deal with an epidemic. And what are the key pieces? Our first is, we need strong health systems in poor countries. That’s where mothers can give birth safely, where children can get all their vaccines, but also where we’ll see the outbreak very early on. 

We need a medical reserve corps; lots of people who’ve got the training and background; who are ready to go with the expertise. And then we need to pair those medical people with the military; taking advantage of the military’s ability to move fast, do logistics and secure areas. We need to do simulations; germ games, not war games, so that we see where the holes are. The last time a germ game was done in the United States was back in 2001, and it didn’t  go so well. So far the score is germs one, people zero. Finally we need lots of advance R&D in areas of vaccines and diagnostics. There are some big breakthroughs like the adeno associated virus that could work very quickly. 

Now I don’t have an exact budget for what this would cost, but I’m quite sure that it’s very modest compared to the potential harm. The world bank estimates that if we have a worldwide flu epidemic, global wealth will go down by over three trillion dollars, and we’d have millions and millions of death. These investments offer significant benefits beyond just being ready for the epidemic; the primary health care, the R&D, those things will reduce global health equity and make the world more just, as well as more safe. 

So I think this should absolutely be a priority. There’s no need to panic. We don’t have to hoard cans of spaghetti, or go down into the basement, but we need to get going, because time is not on our side. In fact, if there’s one positive thing, that can come out of the Ebola epidemic, is that it can serve as an early warning, a wake up call to get ready. If we start now, we can be ready for the next epidemic. Thank you!’ 

Ah mih people, what words of wisdom eh! But the sad part is that we never took Bill’s advice. Now if we don’t take the advice of the richest and one of the most powerful men in the world, who’s are we going to take eh? You can say all you want about him, and how he got his wealth and how he can afford to sit in his ivory tower and talk, but like a prophetic warning, his words have come through, a mere five years later. And we were not ready! And besides, the virus is not a respecter of persons, it takes both the rich and powerful as well as the poor and needy. 

So we’ll see oodles of deaths, let’s hope not millions, and the world economy has already been devastated, by more than 3 trillion, since most things and places around the world have been shut down. What’s the next step eh? We now fighting to do the R&D, and hopefully sometime develop a suitable vaccine, but all of that takes time, and until then, people will die, and the world will become more like a death camp and poverty stricken place than a thriving and prosperous hotspot. 

Oh my people, it’s the same thing with the warnings in the Good Book: tribulation and calamity will befall us if we don’t reverence, worship and obey our Creator. Cousin Sol said it in spades: ‘The fear (reverence, reverential awe) of the Lord is the (principal) beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth! That’s why we find ourselves in disasters such as these. But our foolishness, and consequently our calamities, can be minimized, if we will follow true wisdom and turn to our great, forgiving and merciful God in prayer. 

Friends, it’s our ONLY hope! Even if we find an antidote for this current virus, something else will soon assault us if we don’t get ready for it with constant and sincere prayer. So please, I implore us, not only in these calamitous times, but when they pass. ‘To pray without ceasing. And in every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’ (1 Thess. 5:17-18) Much LOVE!

…there’s lots of truth to the old saying…if you don’t hear…you’re going to feel…

P.S. Yes I know it’s long and late, but I got up late, and the warning might be a tad late for now, but if we survive this, there will be a next time. So let’s be wise and learn from it nuh! Much LOVE!