What’s wrong with this picture?

Gino Fasoli was an Italian family doctor and emergency room physician.  When he worked in Africa, he was even kidnapped to treat the sick. Then he retired. He was 73 years old. Then Dr. Fasoli got a phone call days ago asking him to come back to work and help out.  He did answer the call to help his fellow citizens as Italy’s health care system was overwhelmed. Gino contracted the Covid-19 virus and died.

When the governor of your state calls up retired doctors and nurses to help in this pandemic, realize that many will do so, sacrificing their own lives in the process.


That is when Li Wenliang’s heart stopped beating ‘to shuffle off this mortal coil.”  He was the first medical professional in China who tried to warn other medical professionals that a hospital was treating 7 confirmed cases of SARS from Huanana Seafood Market. He reported the cases were caused by a corona virus and urged the people in his WeChat group – medical providers- to take protective measures.

On January 3, police interrogated Li for making false claims on the internet and he was made to sign a letter promising not to do it again.  January 7,or 8, Li treated a patient who was a shopkeeper at the Huanana Seafood Market for glaucoma. The shopkeeper developed a fever the next day.  Li himself came down with a cough and fever on January 10 and was admitted to intensive care at Wuhan Central Hospital on January 12.

February 4 the Chinese Supreme People’s Court ruled that eight Wuhan citizens should not have been punished as what they said was not entirely false.  The court said it might have been a good thing if citizens had believed the rumors and started taking precautions.

On February 6, while Li’s condition deteriorated. China Newsweek said his heart stopped at 21:30  on the 6th. This was posted to social media which was then scrubbed for a different version put out by Wuhan Central Hospital, “”In the process of fighting the coronavirus, the eye doctor from our hospital Li Wenliang was unfortunately infected. He is now in critical condition and we are doing our best to rescue him.” The hospital announced he died on February 7 at 2:58AM.

Li’s death created a ripple through Chinese society which the officials are trying to manage.  Even Chinese academics have reprimanded the government over this.  One calling the viral outbreak a man-made disaster.

Pray for Li’s wife, his son and unborn child.


By now you must have heard the country is facing a shortage of ventilators that could lead to serious ethical challenges.  To put this in some kind of perspective,  US hospitals have about 160,000 machines and the federal stock pile includes another 12,000. That sounds like a lot, but not all are fit for critical care and many are already in use.

New York State expects it might need 18,000 ventilators when the wave of the Covid-19 pandemic peaks in the state. Worse case, the state is short by 15,783 of a week of these machines at the peak of the epidemic. Even if the federal government gave this one state all of its reserve supply, it wouldn’t be enough.

Some of the major market players in the ventilators market are Philips Healthcare (Netherlands), ResMed (US), Medtronic (Ireland), Becton, Dickinson and Company (US), Getinge (Sweden), Dräger (Germany), Smiths Group (UK), Hamilton Medical (Switzerland), GE Healthcare (US), Fisher & Paykel (New Zealand), Air Liquide (France), Zoll Medical (US), Allied Healthcare Products (US), Airon Mindray (China), and Schiller (Switzerland).  Who knows how many of them depend on parts from China?

The head of a UK company that makes ventilators, Craig Thompson from Penlon, says it is unrealistic to suppose that car manufacturing companies can make ventilators. In his words:  “The idea that an engineering company can quickly manufacturer medical devices, and comply with the rules, is unrealistic because of the heavy burden of standards and regulations that need to be complied with.”  In other words, regulations will kills us.

The open source Irish entrepreneur Colin Keogh and Breeze Automation CEO and co-founder Gui Calavanti produced a prototype ventilator using 3D-printed parts and readily available, inexpensive material.  The Irish Health Services is going to test it for validation in Ireland – but if it works for the Irish, it will probably work for the rest of mankind. You can find these guys on Facebook at Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies.

A group of Italian volunteers distributed 3D-printed versions of a patented valve for ventilators which was in short supply at Italian hospitals.  They asked the company that manufactured the ventilators for the design files for the valves but were turned down as these were ‘company property.’ So the volunteers reverse engineered the part. The 3D printed version cost about $1.00 US.

So all you folks who suddenly became homeschooling families, maybe consider doing a unit respiration and 3D printing and blueprints (and copyright infringement.)


mass graves

In case you didn’t see this, satellite images show that Iran has built mass graves.  Seems their epidemic is worse than initially reported.  This would be a good time for the mission community to reach out to help Iran.

Yes, we know that the virus is highly contagious – but we also know that very few younger folks die from it.  It seems almost inevitable that this virus will circumnavigate the globe. The question is not whether you will contract it, but when, and how it will turn out for you individually.  If you are in a low risk group, please, for His sake, help the other.


behaving oddly

The new virus is behaving very differently from most viruses, like the flu for example, as it is not dangerous to both the very young and the very old.  Statistics from China suggest it kills no children under the age of 10 (as of the date the figures were published) and close to 22 percent of those over 80. Especially at risk are those over the age of 80 with pre-existing vulnerabilities.

Most respiratory infections have a U shaped curve, hitting both the old whose immune systems are failing and the young, whose immune systems are not online.  While scientists try and figure out this odd aspect of the virus, its time to consider how we can care for the most vulnerable among us.

In the United States, about 30 percent of older adults live alone. That means many of them have no one to drop off groceries or pick up medicine for them should they need to try and stay out of harm’s way when pandemic comes to their local community.

Hopefully, all the folks in the US who have volunteered to serve on medical missions abroad will have the heart to reach out to the senior citizens near by.

the virus

Where to start? Iran just free 54,000 prisoners to combat the spread of Covid-19. Prisoners who texted negative were allowed out after posting bail.  A jailed British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe might be included in the paroled.  Nazanin was jailed after being convicted of being a spy.  The UK insists (of course) that she is innocent.  An excellent move on the part of Iran to try and slow the spread of the virus.   Tehran has over a 1000 confirmed cases including many senior Iranian officials.  Included among those who have died after contracting the virus is a member of the Council that advises the Ayatollah.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has come out in favor of a constitutional revision that will define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.  His proposed changes include a proclamation of Russians’ faith in God.  Some of course will see this merely as his attempt to cloak his real motives.

We have heard but cannot confirm, that China’s level IV virology laboratory is across the street from the market in Wuhan were the virus is said to have spread to humans.  We have also heard via an article in a New York paper that employees of labs in China have been known to sell animals (that should have been incinerated) to markets for food.

We have also heard that the Chinese doctor who originally tried to warn the world of Covid-19 was a believer.  He has passed on and we hope to glory.



Wuhan China has just been locked down.  Bus, subway, ferry, and long-distance transportation was shut down at 1000 local time on 23 January.  People can of course still drive out of the city perhaps.

Late on Wednesday, Chinese authorities confirmed the number of dead had almost doubled in the space of a day.  WHO hasn’t decided yet whether to declare a public health emergency.  China seems to be trying to avoid that happening. The National Health Commission vice-Minister told people, don’t go to Wuhan, and if you are in Wuhan, don’t leave.  Person-to-person transmission of the virus has been confirmed.

Signs of infection with the new virus look similar to many other viral infections going around now, including respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Lunar New Year is coming up in China, when millions of people are traveling. So this was a good call on the part of the Chinese government.  But the virus has already winged its way out of China.

This event should reinforce the necessity of being able to shelter in place, wherever you are.