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Toronto bans Holy Communion, Baptism, and Singing in Churches

Pravoslavbob

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The City of Toronto appears to have temporarily banned Holy Communion, Baptism, Singing, (and one document not linked to here even mentions loud talking) in its churches as part of its fight against COVID-19!  If one googles the issue, it really appears that the Orthodox consider this bylaw to be directed at them, or at least, the Orthodox are the ones who have reacted to it most strongly.  The "sharing of chalices" and "communion objects" is also banned.  According to some sources, the Greek Orthodox Church appears to have agreed to this.  I understand that other Orthodox Churches may have openly refused to comply and it would appear that many other Christian Churches are simply ignoring the ban so far.

https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/978e-COVID-19-Guidance-for-Places-of-Worship.pdf




 

Ainnir

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Lord, have mercy.
 

LBK

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This directive has nothing to do with targeting Orthodox worship, and everything to do with minimizing covid transmission. Since the pandemic started, there have been documented outbreaks in Europe and the US, where the virus was traced to church choirs, and services where large numbers of people had gathered, such as funerals, where social distancing and other precautions had not been taken, whether through genuine ignorance early in the pandemic, or through wilful refusal to follow precautions.

While AFAIK none of these outbreaks occurred within Orthodox communities, covid doesn't make exceptions for religious affiliation.



 

Pravoslavbob

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LBK said:
This directive has nothing to do with targeting Orthodox worship, and everything to do with minimizing covid transmission. Since the pandemic started, there have been documented outbreaks in Europe and the US, where the virus was traced to church choirs, and services where large numbers of people had gathered, such as funerals, where social distancing and other precautions had not been taken, whether through genuine ignorance early in the pandemic, or through wilful refusal to follow precautions.

While AFAIK none of these outbreaks occurred within Orthodox communities, covid doesn't make exceptions for religious affiliation.
It may not be targeting Orthodox worship specifically, but it is certainly directed (in large part) at Christian worship in general.  Do you think it is a good idea to ban the reception of Holy Communion?  And I can certainly see the wisdom in limiting singing/chanting, but again, are you in favour of eliminating it entirely?
 

LBK

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Pravoslavbob said:
LBK said:
This directive has nothing to do with targeting Orthodox worship, and everything to do with minimizing covid transmission. Since the pandemic started, there have been documented outbreaks in Europe and the US, where the virus was traced to church choirs, and services where large numbers of people had gathered, such as funerals, where social distancing and other precautions had not been taken, whether through genuine ignorance early in the pandemic, or through wilful refusal to follow precautions.

While AFAIK none of these outbreaks occurred within Orthodox communities, covid doesn't make exceptions for religious affiliation.
It may not be targeting Orthodox worship specifically, but it is certainly directed (in large part) at Christian worship in general.  Do you think it is a good idea to ban the reception of Holy Communion?  And I can certainly see the wisdom in limiting singing/chanting, but again, are you in favour of eliminating it entirely?
1. You were the one who claimed it was targeting Orthodox worship.

2. In my neck of the woods, covid restrictions included ALL houses of worship. Christian worship was not singled out.

3. I do not believe Orthodox communion is a disease vector when received "with fear of God, faith, and love". 2000 years of practice has not led to greater risk of disease or death among Orthodox priests and deacons who consume the contents of the chalice after all have communed, and covid is not the only contagious disease that has wreaked havoc on this earth over the centuries.

However, we are also exhorted to respect the laws of the land, and lawful authority. It is selfish and arrogant to defy sensible and proper public health measures intended to minimize the spread of a disease which is debilitating as well as deadly. Something about tempting God comes to mind.
 

JTLoganville

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LBK said:
However, we are also exhorted to respect the laws of the land, and lawful authority. It is selfish and arrogant to defy sensible and proper public health measures intended to minimize the spread of a disease which is debilitating as well as deadly. Something about tempting God comes to mind.
In my State the Governor was widely photographed marching (albeit masked) with BLM protestors who were NOT masked and NOT maintaining "proper social distancing".

At that point he lost all public credibility, to the point that when he and his transsexual Secretary of Health (how can a man dressing like a woman be considered "healthy"?) attempted to shut down a regional hot rod show the Judge basically laughed him out of court.

"Lawful authority" by its very definition must obey the "laws" (albeit Executive Orders) it has issued for others.
 

LBK

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"Lawful authority" by its very definition must obey the "laws" (albeit Executive Orders) it has issued for others.
As indeed they must. Or are you saying that because people in authority break the rules, the rest of us don't need to follow them either? We all should know where THAT would lead, whether it's breaking road rules, fraud, or ignoring public health directives.
 

JTLoganville

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LBK said:
"Lawful authority" by its very definition must obey the "laws" (albeit Executive Orders) it has issued for others.
As indeed they must. Or are you saying that because people in authority break the rules, the rest of us don't need to follow them either? We all should know where THAT would lead, whether it's breaking road rules, fraud, or ignoring public health directives.
I am saying that while the Governor ex officio continues to have legal authority he has abdicated moral authority.
 

hecma925

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If listening to a sermon is the cenerpiece of one's faith, such laws have zero effect.
 

LizaSymonenko

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...it is thankfully, only a single city.

However, even-so... the faithful can request Eucharist at home... and baptize their children at home.

I was baptized at my home on day 3 of life... and I've never looked back.
 

Pravoslavbob

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LBK said:
1. You were the one who claimed it was targeting Orthodox worship.
I made no such claim.  You are putting words in my mouth.  I said that according to a google search I did on the matter it seemed  that the Orthodox either think that the ban was directed at them, or are the ones who have reacted most strongly to it

2. In my neck of the woods, covid restrictions included ALL houses of worship. Christian worship was not singled out.

3. I do not believe Orthodox communion is a disease vector when received "with fear of God, faith, and love". 2000 years of practice has not led to greater risk of disease or death among Orthodox priests and deacons who consume the contents of the chalice after all have communed, and covid is not the only contagious disease that has wreaked havoc on this earth over the centuries.

However, we are also exhorted to respect the laws of the land, and lawful authority. It is selfish and arrogant to defy sensible and proper public health measures intended to minimize the spread of a disease which is debilitating as well as deadly. Something about tempting God comes to mind.
I have little desire to have a debate with you about this.  All houses of worship were affected by the Toronto edict, but aside from circumcision in the case of Jews, I don't see how it strikes at the very heart of a number of faiths, as it seems to in the case of Christian communities with a sacramental focus.  I have no objection whatsoever to respecting the laws of the land when it comes to fighting COVID-19.  The Ontario provincial government (one tier higher than that of the government of Toronto) placed quite strict controls on churches initially and allowed them to be open only to about five to ten people at at time.  No formal restrictions were placed on those present at services when it came to receiving sacraments or on how worship should be expressed.  The government of Ontario has allowed places of worship to open to a greater degree in the past few weeks.  And now, a city government, that of Toronto, has announced that within its borders no sacramental life for laypeople will be permitted in churches inside its borders, no matter how many preventative measures are taken.  Singing has also been banned, apparently with no exceptions being made for those who take sensible precautions.  How many Orthodox services do you know of that can proceed with no singing or chanting whatsover?  Please do not assume that I am of the faction that is calling for churches to be open just as in "normal" times with no restrictions at all.  On the contrary, I have been of the opinion that the civil authorities should be obeyed in order to help control the virus.
 

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A careful look at the Toronto guidelines made them rather ambiguous when taken at first glance. This is because for instance they were put under the section titled guidance, and section on sharing communion said that it was to be discontinued as advised by the health department official. A key term in that sentence was specifically "as advised." That is, it could have been given as advice to discontinue, rather than a mandatory requirement.

According to the blog orthochristian, what happened next was that a major Greek Community organization that owned four churches in Toronto interpreted the guidance to be a order Banning sharing communion in Orthodox churches. Meanwhile, according to the blog, Toronto officials separately reassured the churches that the ban on communing would not be enforced, which seemed to be that they weren't reading it as a mandatory ban requirement. Next, the Greek Community organization wrote to the Toronto government that there was a conflict between the guidance against sharing communion and the Toronto staff making a reassurance to the contrary. The Greek Community organization insisted that Toronto reconcile this conflict, and the Orthodox Christian Blog took the View and the analysis that the Greek Community organization was trying to get the Toronto government to pressure the church to stop sharing communion. The blog pointed out that there had been conflict in the past between the community organization and the Greek Church authorities.

The result was that the Toronto authorities pressured the Greek Church into complying with the guidance against sharing communion. In fact, according to the blog, the Greek Church Metropolis for Ontario went Way Beyond the government's request and actually ended sharing communion in effect across Ontario as an entire province. As evidence, the blog links to an SMS conversation where the Greek Metropolis of Ontario in a conversation seems to saying that it is Banning sharing communion for the whole province.
 

Pravoslavbob

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rakovsky said:
A careful look at the Toronto guidelines made them rather ambiguous when taken at first glance. This is because for instance they were put under the section titled guidance, and section on sharing communion said that it was to be discontinued as advised by the health department official. A key term in that sentence was specifically "as advised." That is, it could have been given as advice to discontinue, rather than a mandatory requirement.

According to the blog orthochristian, what happened next was that a major Greek Community organization that owned four churches in Toronto interpreted the guidance to be a order Banning sharing communion in Orthodox churches. Meanwhile, according to the blog, Toronto officials separately reassured the churches that the ban on communing would not be enforced, which seemed to be that they weren't reading it as a mandatory ban requirement. Next, the Greek Community organization wrote to the Toronto government that there was a conflict between the guidance against sharing communion and the Toronto staff making a reassurance to the contrary. The Greek Community organization insisted that Toronto reconcile this conflict, and the Orthodox Christian Blog took the View and the analysis that the Greek Community organization was trying to get the Toronto government to pressure the church to stop sharing communion. The blog pointed out that there had been conflict in the past between the community organization and the Greek Church authorities.

The result was that the Toronto authorities pressured the Greek Church into complying with the guidance against sharing communion. In fact, according to the blog, the Greek Church Metropolis for Ontario went Way Beyond the government's request and actually ended sharing communion in effect across Ontario as an entire province. As evidence, the blog links to an SMS conversation where the Greek Metropolis of Ontario in a conversation seems to saying that it is Banning sharing communion for the whole province.
Some of what I saw elsewhere in city literature about the ban did indeed appear to be ambiguous.  You have looked into the Greek Orthodox response more thoroughly than I did.  From what you have gleaned from blogs, etc., It would seem that both the City and the Greek Church have behaved strangely at certain points.
 

rakovsky

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Pravoslav Bob,
Here is the Orthodox Christian blog article on it:
https://orthochristian.com/132458.html

It is worth reading. It is a longer set of information than what I wrote above. There are a couple unusual factors in this situation. I don't know if you or anyone else has been to Orthodox churches in Toronto, but I went about 5 to 10 years ago and looked into OCA churches and visited two of them. Almost everyone there, maybe 80 to 95% where recent immigrants. Like people who were born in Eastern Europe. So it's a good question what happened to the Past generations who show up in the black and white photographs. I imagine that the Greek churches did better with retention. But I don't know because I didn't look into them. Toronto apparently is the strongest City in the Americas as far as non religion. At least, it seems to have that reputation. Which is probably not correct, but anyway Canada comes from the British Empire much more recently than the United States does. Canada has there for the heritage of Church of England being State Church, as well perhaps as having a resulting decrease of Interest in the establishment Church. I have noticed that in England there is a lot less attendance in charge despite the nation having a state church that historically the government required the population to attend. So with less interest in religion among the population in Toronto, it's not surprising, or at least less surprising that the city government and even Church authorities would support or be amenable to this kind of over restriction.

Another factor to consider is the relationship of the Greek Church, especially the Greek community and its organizations to establishment policies and politics. This is really an area where Greek community seems much different then other Orthodox communities , and seems more entrenched in national policy directions, and institutions and organizations, for lack of a better explanation or term. To give an easy example, the Greek Community has a whole array of national organizations, fraternal organizations, which don't really exist in the classic pattern other Orthodox communities. It's true that the OCA had R clubs and now has FOCA, which is the closest analogy that comes to mind, but it doesn't really give a good idea of the array of Greek Community organizations. One reason why this is relevant is because a key factor in the Toronto story is the role of the Greek community organization that owns for churches in Toronto and seemingly facilitated government pressure on the Greek Metropolis to implement the ban on communion sharing.

This is getting into an area that is well beyond the scope of this thread, but there is an aspect to the Greek community that has both advantages and disadvantages I suppose when it comes to church life. A good example of advantages is that financially the Greek Church seems to be much better off than otherwise. There are cases where Greek parishes have well-paid clergy and staff people. Greek Community organizations care very much about the well-being of their churches and see it as an important part of the important special heritage. And this aspect ranges from top to the bottom. For instance there are some Greeks who are Greek first and Orthodox second, seeing Orthodoxy as an outgrowth, a cultural consequence, being Greek. So they may not see canceling church services or putting excessive restrictions on church services as a giant problem compared to how they might otherwise. That's at the bottom of the layers. At the top of the layers, there is patriarch Bartholomew, who probably has lots of international connections, which he has seemingly in most of his past years used for good, like in promoting ecumenical relations with the other Christian groups. Be that as it may, patriarch Bartholomew announced even before the leading hierarch Greek Church in America that all services Under The ecumenical patriarchate would be closed due to the virus. Apparently the closures and strict measures in Greek churches in North America naturally followed as a result of his decision at the top.
 

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We won’t have choir in my parish for a while. As a member of it, I miss it, but standing close and singing would surely spread the virus.

Such directives apply to other religions as well. So the Jewish people, Hindus, Muslims and so forth have the same guidelines. Even though they don’t have Communion, they have to follow the other guidelines.

Most members of the government are Christian. They are not trying to oppress you, but to help you not get sick.

This is a temporary response to help stop the spread of a deadly disease.

So pray to the Holy Unmercenaries, pray for those who are ill, pray for the sickness to pass.

It will get better someday.

Just my opinion.
 

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biro said:
We won’t have choir in my parish for a while.
Sorry to hear that. Are you in an area like Toronto, or one like California where the government announced a guidance against singing?
As a member of it, I miss it, but standing close and singing would surely spread the virus.
While standing close would spread the virus if you had it and were coughing, I don't think that singing would make much difference over talking loudly if you have a mask on.

Back in February social distancing measures were worthwhile in risky situations, but at this point deaths from COVID are in drastic decline. Viruses become less potent as time goes on. At this point, such very strict measures are an overreaction, and the ongoing hysteria and severe restrictions with all the negative severe indirect consequences are unfortunate for humanity.
 

Dominika

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I don't know what part of Canada is, and if the Arabic transaltion is right, but it says that priest said abotu giving Communion by disposable spoons and people tart shouting that metropolitan Sotirios (metropolitan of the GOARCH archidiocese of Canada) is anaxios... And that Christ is our life.
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=733274524097881
 

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I  am really surprised at the reaction of some posters on this forum to the Canadian response to COVID19 because  many consider our response to be  better effort than the US. see: https://www.businessinsider.com/canada-doing-far-better-than-the-us-combating-the-coronavirus-2020-5
The Province of Ontario as compared to Manitoba or Saskatchewan is a  "hot spot" and of course has different rules for fighting the virus. And with in the province of Ontario there  are different zones which are under different stages of the recovery.  areas  of the province which have lower rates of infection are in stage 3 of the recovery mode but the city of Toronto and area is still in zone 2 recovery mode.

This quote from a July 7th  article written by Orthodox Christians actually living in Toronto explains the situation of the Greek Orthodox Church in the city of Toronto:
https://orthodoxyindialogue.com/2020/07/07/faith-in-a-time-of-pandemic-orthodox-christianity-misleads-again/#more-17632

Earlier today Orthodox Christianity published a “report” entitled City of Toronto Bans Holy Communion, intending to outrage its readers into imagining that public health policy during the current pandemic singles out the Church for “persecution.” It includes a brief video clip in which a priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada announces to his congregation this past Sunday that they may not come forward for Communion. In an obviously emotional moment, he makes the unfortunate statement that “the persecution of the Church continues.”
This sheds new light on why Archbishop Sotirios felt compelled to ask the priests of the Archdiocese to exercise more restraint in their public comments about Holy Communion and the pandemic...,
and the rules for Toronto:

• June 14 — Churches in the province of Ontario are permitted to reopen for public worship, but limiting attendance to 30% capacity. The interior of the churches is clearly marked with coloured masking tape to show where people may and may not stand or sit, and how much distance they must place between themselves in the communion line.
• June 15 — The Ontario Ministry of Health advises, but does not mandate, the temporary suspension of Holy Communion.
• June 20 — Toronto Public Health mandates the temporary suspension of Holy Communion within the city limits, but does not suspend church attendance.
• July 7 — A phone call to the Archdiocese for clarification confirms the Archdiocese’s firm commitment to cooperate with federal, provincial, and municipal health officials in all matters pertaining to the pandemic.
• The Archdiocese remains in close contact with public health officials to discern when the laity can once again receive Holy Communion, considers the suspension of Communion to be a temporary measure, and most emphatically does not feel “persecuted.”

 

Ainnir

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I'm not one to say we should defy local authorities unless their leadership is immoral (according to God).  This one's tough... no we're not entitled to the Eucharist, and many faithful don't receive every week anyway.  I've seen St. Mary of Egypt cited (possibly here on the forum), I think.  However, if we truly believe our Faith, then not communing is the same as not drinking water, breathing, or eating.  It's that spiritually vital, but a secular authority will never understand that.
 

hecma925

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St. Mary of Egypt spent her Eucharist-less time repenting, rather than complaining.  Then again, the government didn't force her into the wilderness.
 

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hecma925 said:
St. Mary of Egypt spent her Eucharist-less time repenting, rather than complaining. Then again, the government didn't force her into the wilderness.
A very important distinction.

It is ill advised to create a general rule from an exceptional circumstance; or in the case of +Mary of Egpyt, a most extraordinary persopn.
 

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IreneOlinyk said:
I  am really surprised at the reaction of some posters on this forum to the Canadian response to COVID19 because  many consider our response to be  better effort than the US.
"Better" is subjective, because it has to do with balancing values of freedom, human liberty, religious practice in worshiping God, healthy safety as well as the extent and risk posed by the illness.

For instance in the wake of WWI, did Canada have a "better" response to the risk of immigrants from the Austrian empire undermining the Allied war effort when Canada mass-imprisoned Ukrainians who came from that empire? Nowadays certainly we would say "No", in part because of the infringement on human freedom.

In the 1920's, did the US have a "better" response than Canada to the health risks and public safety risks of alcohol when the US prohibited alcohol? Certainly public drunkenness, drunk driving, and alcohol poisoning are risks from alcohol. The ban actually increased crime, and bootleggers brought alcohol from Canada. Today, Americans would generally answer that Canada's response was "better" because it valued human liberty and freedom over draconian measures to enforce a ban on alcohol on the whole society.

Likewise, today, while there is subjectivity involved in judging what is "better", the Toronto measures like banning singing and banning communion sharing are certainly a draconian overreaction in terms of what is sensible. For instance, the scientific studies and research published online that one can easily find using GOOGLE SCHOLAR show that the Communion chalice is not a vector for spreading diseases.

This is not to say that the virus doesn't pose risks or that no reaction is needed. If we were talking about a nursing home or cruise ship filled with elderly passengers where 5 people had COVID back in February, it would be a much different response about what measures were necessary.
 

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rakovsky said:
Pravoslav Bob,
Here is the Orthodox Christian blog article on it:
https://orthochristian.com/132458.html
It's good that you waded into the blogosphere to more fully research this.  I didn't want to go down that rabbit hole, but clearly it's what I should have done before I started this thread.  Things are a good deal more complex than what is evident on the surface of the issue.  ::)
 

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The OrthoChristian website has an article with the video that Dominika showed. The article says that now in Toronto they went back to sharing communion, but that they are doing it with plastic spoons. This is after Toronto had government agents go to the church after prompting by the Greek Community organization, and after the metropolis acquiesced and banned communion sharing. So the use of plastic spoons with the resumption of sharing the Eucharist suggests that the Toronto "guidance" was just that - guidance. Otherwise, it's pretty unlikely that the Greek church would be having sharing communion again after so much government pressure and the metropolis' acquiescence.
 

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rakovsky said:
While standing close would spread the virus if you had it and were coughing, I don't think that singing would make much difference over talking loudly if you have a mask on.

Back in February social distancing measures were worthwhile in risky situations, but at this point deaths from COVID are in drastic decline. Viruses become less potent as time goes on. At this point, such very strict measures are an overreaction, and the ongoing hysteria and severe restrictions with all the negative severe indirect consequences are unfortunate for humanity.
I am not sure where you are getting this information Rakovsky. It is perhaps worth a discussion on all of these points, but what caught my eye is the notion that a virus strain becomes less potent as time goes on. Reverse transcriptases are error prone, so the virus will mutate over time. If you leave this current strain floating around poorly abated, the large viral pool that results can result in a more infectious strain that out-competes the existing strain. Vaccines that target the spike protein may also become less effective due to mutation. What is going on worldwide is just as important as what is going on here. This pandemic needs to be capped everywhere.
 

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I don’t understand how you abate a virus.  It’s in the population.  We’ll either build resistance to it or we won’t.  Maybe that’s what rakovsky meant by it weakening.
 

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Opus118 said:
I am not sure where you are getting this information Rakovsky. It is perhaps worth a discussion on all of these points, but what caught my eye is the notion that a virus strain becomes less potent as time goes on. Reverse transcriptases are error prone, so the virus will mutate over time.
Right, the viruses mutate over time, and speaking realistically, this means that it will in fact become less virulent.

Doctors react to study revealing COVID-19 mutations may be weakening: ‘This is virology 101’
https://orthospinenews.com/2020/05/06/doctors-react-to-study-revealing-covid-19-mutations-may-be-weakening-this-is-virology-101/
Dr. Ramin Oskoui, a cardiologist and CEO of Foxhall Cardiology, reacted on Tuesday to a study that found a new coronavirus mutation reportedly mirrors a change that occurred as the SARS virus began to weaken, saying, “it’s well-known that as viruses progress, they typically mutate to weaker forms.”

“The phenomenon is known as ‘Muller’s Ratchet,’” Oskoui told “The Ingraham Angle” Tuesday.

He added that this is “virology 101.”

“This is how they go away. They typically mutate, as well as herd immunity, to attenuate weaker strains that no longer make people so ill,” Oskoui continued.
When the article talks about herd immunity what it means is that when a lot of people or masses of people get a virus, then they develop immunity to the virus and that actually makes it less likely to spread. So for instance when large numbers of people got European diseases, in medieval times, the Europeans became immune to the diseases. Meanwhile the Native Americans were not immune to the diseases like smallpox. As a result, large numbers of Native Americans were wiped out.

Yes, the new coronavirus is mutating—but that’s not a bad thing
SARS-CoV-2 is changing at the rate scientists would expect for a coronavirus

Having it change on us unpredictably can seem scary. But just because the virus is mutating doesn’t mean that it’s suddenly going to become more dangerous. In fact, experts say, it’s very unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 (as the virus is officially known) will mutate in ways that change how the pandemic plays out.

The odds of the virus mutating in such a way that it actually becomes more lethal or contagious over the timescale of weeks, months, or even a couple years aren’t very high.


In past outbreaks of other diseases such as SARS or Ebola, scientists haven’t seen evidence that a particular virus was mutating to become more deadly. “While there may be some mutations from time to time that arise that do have an epidemiological impact, it’s not very often that we actually find them,” Grubaugh says.

Source: Popular Science Magazine online

https://www.popsci.com/story/health/covid-19-coronavirus-mutates-changes/
 

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Ainnir said:
I don’t understand how you abate a virus.  It’s in the population.  We’ll either build resistance to it or we won’t.  Maybe that’s what rakovsky meant by it weakening.
Ainnir,
There are several factors in a virus's abatement. One factor is resistance as you mentioned. Another one is the virus's mutation over time to weaker forms. A good historical example of abatement is the Spanish Flu virus that killed about 4 to 5 times as many Americans as Covid has and ended after about a year following WWI.
 

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Christians used to defy unjust governments and worship underground.

Now they willingly submit to tyrannical, unjust and unconstitutional demands from anti-Christian governments pushing a hoax designed to keep us in a state of panic.

Our Fathers were made of tougher stuff.

 

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Dear Rakovsky,
I dislike the amount of labor it takes to deal with quotes. I am going to remove mine to make it simpler before responding and divide up your quotes

rakovsky said:
Right, the viruses mutate over time, and speaking realistically, this means that it will in fact become less virulent.
No. Let's simplify this. The virus has a gene product that encodes a sticky protein. We have the current strains (China/Italy). If a few viruses mutate to become less sticky, the current strains continue while the mutant viruses diminish in population. If a virus mutates such that it does less damage to the host such that the host can beat it off, it will only increase if its output and/or infectivity increases beyond the current strain, given time this would become something like the common cold Corona viruses. If a virus mutates so as to be more sticky and/or sticky to more cellular targets or more resistant to environmental factors without decreasing the damage that it does, it will, with time, displace the current population. If the virus mutates such that it becomes so deadly that it kills a large swath of the population, it will disappear in time because the host population will decrease. There are other "Ifs". All of the "Ifs" are possible. I am not inclined to play Russian Roulette. The safest scenario is to abate the virus while we have time.



Doctors react to study revealing COVID-19 mutations may be weakening: ‘This is virology 101’
https://orthospinenews.com/2020/05/06/doctors-react-to-study-revealing-covid-19-mutations-may-be-weakening-this-is-virology-101/
Dr. Ramin Oskoui, a cardiologist and CEO of Foxhall Cardiology, reacted on Tuesday to a study that found a new coronavirus mutation reportedly mirrors a change that occurred as the SARS virus began to weaken, saying, “it’s well-known that as viruses progress, they typically mutate to weaker forms.”

“The phenomenon is known as ‘Muller’s Ratchet,’” Oskoui told “The Ingraham Angle” Tuesday.

He added that this is “virology 101.”

“This is how they go away. They typically mutate, as well as herd immunity, to attenuate weaker strains that no longer make people so ill,” Oskoui continued.
When the article talks about herd immunity what it means is that when a lot of people or masses of people get a virus, then they develop immunity to the virus and that actually makes it less likely to spread. So for instance when large numbers of people got European diseases, in medieval times, the Europeans became immune to the diseases. Meanwhile the Native Americans were not immune to the diseases like smallpox. As a result, large numbers of Native Americans were wiped out.
We are the native Americans in this case.

Yes, the new coronavirus is mutating—but that’s not a bad thing
SARS-CoV-2 is changing at the rate scientists would expect for a coronavirus

Having it change on us unpredictably can seem scary. But just because the virus is mutating doesn’t mean that it’s suddenly going to become more dangerous. In fact, experts say, it’s very unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 (as the virus is officially known) will mutate in ways that change how the pandemic plays out.

The odds of the virus mutating in such a way that it actually becomes more lethal or contagious over the timescale of weeks, months, or even a couple years aren’t very high.


In past outbreaks of other diseases such as SARS or Ebola, scientists haven’t seen evidence that a particular virus was mutating to become more deadly. “While there may be some mutations from time to time that arise that do have an epidemiological impact, it’s not very often that we actually find them,” Grubaugh says.

Source: Popular Science Magazine online

https://www.popsci.com/story/health/covid-19-coronavirus-mutates-changes/
Look at the March date of this article. Population size is everything.
As always, even when I might have a different opinion, I always appreciate the thoughtfulness your posts.
Take care Rakovsky.
 

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Opus118 said:
rakovsky said:
Right, the viruses mutate over time, and speaking realistically, this means that it will in fact become less virulent.
No. Let's simplify this. The virus has a gene product that encodes a sticky protein. We have the current strains (China/Italy). If a few viruses mutate to become less sticky, the current strains continue while the mutant viruses diminish in population. If a virus mutates such that it does less damage to the host such that the host can beat it off, it will only increase if its output and/or infectivity increases beyond the current strain, given time this would become something like the common cold Corona viruses. If a virus mutates so as to be more sticky and/or sticky to more cellular targets or more resistant to environmental factors without decreasing the damage that it does, it will, with time, displace the current population. If the virus mutates such that it becomes so deadly that it kills a large swath of the population, it will disappear in time because the host population will decrease. There are other "Ifs". All of the "Ifs" are possible.
Sorry, I don't really understand your answer. It's well known that viruses mutate over time to become less harmful to their victims. An example of this is the Spanish Flu. If you got it in 1918, it could be awful for you, but if you got what was left of the epidemic four years later, it would not tend to be as harmful for you. This is because the strain that you got in 1922 would not be as powerful as the strain going around in 1918.

I posted two scientific articles restating this, and your response was "No." Then to explain your No, you gave some "if" hypotheticals. However, none of those "If" hypotheticals disprove the reality that viruses in the population as a general practical rule diminish in harm.

Next, you commented that this was like Native Americans dying en masse from smallpox. Look, if that was actually the case, I would be with you, but that is not reality. The Native Americans died off probably in the millions from smallpox and other European diseases.

When COVID first came to the US in the spring, I thought that might be what we were dealing with. But then I found out that it has limited transmission and that the mortality rate is 1 to 2%. 5 to 50,000 Americans die of the flu annually, 600,000 died of Spanish flu, and about 130,000 supposedly have died of COVID. So COVID is nowhere near the Spanish flu, and even the Spanish flu was nowhere as bad as the Indians getting smallpox.

So relative to the grand picture, the current hysteria and severe restrictions on church life are a major overreaction. If you were talking about protecting nursing homes or about quarantining symptomatic carriers it would be a different story.
 

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Dear Rokovsky, I am again going to delete my posts before commenting.

rakovsky said:
Sorry, I don't really understand your answer. It's well known that viruses mutate over time to become less harmful to their victims. An example of this is the Spanish Flu. If you got it in 1918, it could be awful for you, but if you got what was left of the epidemic four years later, it would not tend to be as harmful for you. This is because the strain that you got in 1922 would not be as powerful as the strain going around in 1918.

I posted two scientific articles restating this, and your response was "No." Then to explain your No, you gave some "if" hypotheticals. However, none of those "If" hypotheticals disprove the reality that viruses in the population as a general practical rule diminish in harm.
I used "Ifs" because I believe that to be the reality of the situation and there are more variables that I did not outline. There are different possible outcomes. There are no rules as to what will happen and I have not seen any justification for them and there are plenty of examples that what you are proposing is just plain not true. I am not being harsh, I just want you to contemplate on examples that do not fit your proposal that you have yet to justify why it makes sense mechanistically. Examples, Marburg virus from the 1960s, still just as deadly. Ebola virus from the 1970s, still just as deadly. HIV from the 1970s, still just as deadly if it were not for antivirals compounds. The original SARS CoV1 in 2002 did not disappear because it mutated, it disappeared because the symptoms were manifested in a mere two or three days minimizing the spread and facilitating contact tracing. The symptoms of CoV2 appear up to two or three weeks! It is a hidden killer and more difficult to stop.

Next, you commented that this was like Native Americans dying en masse from smallpox. Look, if that was actually the case, I would be with you, but that is not reality. The Native Americans died off probably in the millions from smallpox and other European diseases.

When COVID first came to the US in the spring, I thought that might be what we were dealing with. But then I found out that it has limited transmission and that the mortality rate is 1 to 2%. 5 to 50,000 Americans die of the flu annually, 600,000 died of Spanish flu, and about 130,000 supposedly have died of COVID. So COVID is nowhere near the Spanish flu, and even the Spanish flu was nowhere as bad as the Indians getting smallpox.
The morbidity of the first wave of the Spanish flu was hardly different from the normal flu. It was the second wave that did the damage. I personally think it is not useful to compare/predict the outcome of one virus based on another. I am just pointing out that if the population of CoV2 remains high as it is now, the probability of a mutation that increases long term damage or death also increases.

So relative to the grand picture, the current hysteria and severe restrictions on church life are a major overreaction. If you were talking about protecting nursing homes or about quarantining symptomatic carriers it would be a different story.
It is not hysteria. It is common sense and it appears most carriers are not symptomatic.


 

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Opus118 said:
I used "Ifs" because I believe that to be the reality of the situation and there are more variables that I did not outline. There are different possible outcomes. There are no rules as to what will happen and I have not seen any justification for them and there are plenty of examples that what you are proposing is just plain not true.

I am not being harsh, I just want you to contemplate on examples that do not fit your proposal that you have yet to justify why it makes sense mechanistically. Examples, Marburg virus from the 1960s, still just as deadly. Ebola virus from the 1970s, still just as deadly. HIV from the 1970s, still just as deadly if it were not for antivirals compounds. The original SARS CoV1 in 2002 did not disappear because it mutated, it disappeared because the symptoms were manifested in a mere two or three days minimizing the spread and facilitating contact tracing. The symptoms of CoV2 appear up to two or three weeks! It is a hidden killer and more difficult to stop.
Dear Opus,
Sure you can provide examples. I don't think that Marburg virus, Ebola, or HIV are flu viruses like COVID is. When it comes to flu viruses like COVID or the Spanish Flu, in reality they go away over time, in part because the viruses change into less harmful forms and because people get immune to them.

I don't believe that SARS disappeared in 2002 just due to containment efforts and not due to the natural "Virology 101" tendency of viruses to mutate into less harmful forms. The SARS was going between humans and Civets and infected thousands of people. I don't believe that all of the thousands of people and civets who had it were contained so that they couldn't pass it to others and that the virus had no option but to extinguish itself. That is not realistic. The animal population was hardly so severely contained, for instance. And even if it was, this does not disprove the natural tendency of flu viruses to mutate and decrease in virulence over time. For instance:
In 2018, Drosten’s group published a paper showing that early in the SARS outbreak of 2002–03, that virus lost a small chunk of its genome, 29 base pairs in one gene. Adding those base pairs back in the lab made the virus much better at replicating in several cell culture models.
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/mutations-can-reveal-how-coronavirus-moves-they-re-easy-overinterpret
That is, in the SARS outbreak, the virus did in fact mutate in a way that decreased its replication ability.

It's like the claim that COVID is passed from bats to pangolins to humans. Even if all the humans were quarantined, there is not really a way to keep it quarantined in the bat population, nor guarantee that it could not continue to pass from bats and pangolins to humans somehow. I guess that you could try to kill off the bat population like hysterical medieval Europeans killed off cats en masse, but that is not really sane. The virus is not so extreme or severe to warrant hysterical extreme measures. As Stephen King himself said, this is not like his novel, "The Stand".


It's a lot harder to quarantine the bat population than the human one.

In the Middle Ages, devil-fearing Christians killed cats, which carried the unintended consequence of increasing the rat population and the spread of the Black Death

Feb 6, 2017 Marija Georgievska

In the 1300s, doctors had almost no knowledge about the causes of plague. As a result, there were countless superstitions about plague. Some Europeans blamed various groups as Jews, beggars, lepers, and friars, while others blamed animals. The best-known superstition was about the bad luck of cats and their association with the devil.

Many cats were killed as a result of this superstition, which exacerbated the problem of the plague. Without cats to act as their predators, little kept the rat population in check. People in Europe continued to kill cats for another 300 years and remained vulnerable to the plague when it swept through Europe again in the 1600s.

https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/02/06/in-the-middle-ages-devil-fearing-christians-killed-cats-which-carried-the-unintended-consequence-of-increasing-the-rat-population-and-the-spread-of-the-black-death/
We are not dealing with a Bubonic Plague or Black Plague situation, fortunately. We don't need overreactions shutting down our society, our personal lives, our churches, or killing off animals en masse.
 
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