Like Spring: Signs bloom all over for coronavirus's end
It's probably a little early to say for sure, but based on what's happening now, it almost seems like a long dark winter is finally lifting. You can see it going on all around the world.
First, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hanging on. He's still in the hospital, still in intensive care, but based on the reports seen, he's not getting worse. He's still not on the ventilator. The latest is a confirmation from No. 10 that he doesn't have pneumonia. No news is good news. He's got someone running the place while he fights this off. Everyone of decency in the world, even U.K. Labour leader (now former) Jeremy Corbyn is wishing him well. Maybe it's the collective power of prayer.
Second, Italy and Spain have finally broken the upward swing in the pace of cases. Spain reported 637 deaths yesterday, down from 674 the day earlier, and 950 last Thursday. Italy's death toll hit a high of 636 but new cases dropped off sharply. The two hardest-hit European nations are finally seeing less, rather than more of the hellish caseload of infections they have been through. And Italy's prime minister has offered President Trump and the United States the most effusive of praise. We Americans are so glad President Trump, outside the radar, it seems, found a way to help them out.
Third, Austria is opening itself up for business again as soon as April 14, as is Denmark, with regard to schools. These weren't the worst-hit states, but that's how these things go, the less sick recover the fastest. Assuming it really is safe for them to open -- and in the East Asian states such as Singapore where cases are recurring, it's possible it's not time yet based on reinfection rates, but it's seems to be a trend, hopefully the first in a string of them to come.
Fourth, the French have announced that the fire-ravaged Notre Dame cathedral, will hold a mass there on Good Friday, one of the holiest days of the Christian year. It will be with a small group of people, socially distanced, of course. Since everyone's on lockdown and can only do internet mass, it means everyone is invited. Knowing the cathedral's tenuous state, many will be happy they can at least be virtually present at Notre Dame while they still can. But it also might mean things are looking up for Notre Dame, too. The mass will hearten the French.
Fifth, stateside, it's finally getting at least a little better. New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state registered at least a dip in the fatalities in the past 24 hours. And the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model, cited by the White House, has been proven very wrong in its hospitalization forecast for an averaging about 165,000 people, when in reality it was about 19,000. The model was wrong -- and for us, it's good news. Maybe it's a trend. President Trump and his team seem to think so, and he's been quite upfront with the public, which makes his statement credible. According to the Associated Press:
“We’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel,” Trump said at an evening White House briefing. Pence added, “We are beginning to see glimmers of progress.”
Sixth, stocks are up for the third day running in both Europe and the U.S. and posting big-gulp-sized gains. It's good. Equities are a leading or forward-looking indicator of what buyers think is going to happen, meaning, the investors laying their own money on the line now are forecasting an end to this ordeal.
It's all too soon to call everything done, but as Pesach and Easter approach, there is reason to look for renewal.
Image credit: Pixabay public domain