COVID-19 News Roundup 4/5/20: Shifting Origin Story, Billionaires Doing Good, Plague Of Wild Animals, Trapped Away From Home, Chicken Soup For The Soul+More

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As our lives are interrupted by a deadly virus, we will keep posting deals to keep everyone’s shelves stocked without needing to leave the house. However as I’ve been doing in the past, I’ll also be keeping readers updated with coronavirus coverage as it disrupts our normal daily routine.

I’ve been keeping tabs on the stories below since the last COVID-19 news roundup, so some may be slightly out of date. But I hope you find them interesting and am looking forward to healthy discussion about them in the comments!

Among all the craziness, let’s take a moment to focus on and be thankful for our health and family. Please stay safe, stay home, and use a mask when you need to go out!

Table of Contents

Obvious News Is Obvious: China Lied, People Died; But Does It Go Much Deeper Than That?

US intelligence has concluded that China lied about the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths that it had. That report is classified, but it’s something that many of us suspected all along.

China officially reported just 81,556 cases and 3,312 deaths. The US already has 321,167 cases and 9,107 deaths.

Unfortunately most of the world relied on China’s data and didn’t prepare for what was coming.

The virus originated in Wuhan. The official thought is that it made the leap from a bat to a human in a Wuhan wet market. Those markets still operate and they are breeding grounds for animal viruses.

Conspiracy theorists have long said that the virus was engineered in Wuhan and/or a Chinese bio-security leak.

The Washington Post is now giving more credence to those theories by calling the origin story murky. The Wuhan wet market didn’t actually have bats for sale that time of year. The Wuhan lab where they studied bat coronaviruses was just a few hundred yards from the wet market. Chinese studies of the novel coronavirus starting in and leaking from the Wuhan lab were published and then mysteriously withdrawn.

Did China cover up an accidental leak of the novel coronavirus?

That comes after China blocked all discussion of the coronavirus for months and allowed millions of people to flee Wuhan, spreading the pandemic to the entire planet. Had the pandemic been properly disclosed and contained, tens of thousands of lives as well as the world economy could have been saved. Whistleblowers like Dr. Li were punished for speaking out about the existence of a new coronavirus in December. He died of coronavirus at the age of just 33, leaving behind a child and a pregnant wife.

Based on cremation photos from Wuhan, it appears that tens of thousands died there alone.

The UK government is furious with China and thinks they had 40 times the number of cases that they reported, up to 3,200,000+ cases. They’re looking into retaliation, such as abandoning their deal to have Huawei install a 5G network in the UK.

Uglier yet, Italy donated PPE to China during their time of need, but China is charging Italy just to get their PPE back. And countries like Spain are returning Chinese coronavirus tests as they are only 30% accurate.

This is not China’s finest hour.

Will countries hold China accountable?

China Made A Holocaust Comparison When Israel Closed Their Borders, Now China Has Closed Their Own Borders

Just 2 months ago China lashed out against countries like Israel and US when they closed their borders to people who had been to mainland China.

It was a controversial move at the time and the President was slammed for doing it:


But Dr. Fauci says that the ban worked and it slowed the spread of coronavirus to countries that implemented the bans.

Alas while other countries, starting with Israel, banned all foreigners, the US never went that far. And it seems like we’re paying the price for that now.

China demanded that countries keep their borders open to them, as they told countries that there was no reason for concern.

So much for that.

In an ironic twist, China has banned all foreigners from entering their country, in an effort to avoid a coronavirus rebound.

Do as I say, not as I do?

PSA: Stay Home For Pesach, Don’t Have Guests For The Seder, Don’t Bring The Barber Into Your House

A PSA from the Vaad HaRabbonim in Cleveland:


On DDF there are reports of people hiring a barber to come to their house to give a haircut before Pesach.

I’m not sure why this needs to be said, but it’s absurd to risk lives for a haircut!

If you have a haircut machine you can use that and rest assured that a couple weeks heals the worst haircut.

If you don’t, then just #LetItGrow. Lives are worth more than a haircut.

Bill Gates Predicted All Of This, Urges Nationwide Shutdown, Stepping Up To Build Vaccine Factories Now

Bill Gates warned the world 5 years ago that the greatest risk of global catastrophe was a virus, not a war:


Sadly, we were caught unprepared.

Mr. Gates did a Reddit AMA recently, a transcript of which is here.

He wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post here on what we can do.

And he’s now urging that we need an extended length nationwide shutdown to combat coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci agrees.

But Mr. Gates is not just telling us things, he’s putting his money where his mouth is.

He will build 7 factories for the leading vaccine researchers. And he’s doing it now.

Even though it’s likely that just 2 of the factories will be used, building them now will save months of time. He’ll spend a few billion dollars, but will save lives and trillions of dollars for the global economy.

So much for all billionaires being evil.

Robert Kraft Brought Over 1 Million N95 Masks From Shenzhen To Boston On The Patriots’ 767

The WSJ has the great story about how New England Patriots’s billionaire owner Robert Kraft helped bring 1.2 million critical N95 masks from China to the US.

The logistics behind the flight were daunting and the crew were only given permission to spend 3 hours on the ground in China, of which they used 2 hours and 57 minutes.

Now that is one amazing mitzvah!

The Failed US Mission To Build Ventilators

The NY Times covers the tragic story of why the US has a ventilator shortage.

In short, eggs were all put into one basket and the tens of thousands of ventilators for the national stockpile were never delivered.

And now doctors are put into the impossible decision of who will live and who will die.

President Bush tried to prepare us for pandemic in 2005. But it was just never fully implemented:

Dr. Fauci Is A Breath Of Fresh Air

Dr. Fauci has advised 6 presidents on infectious diseases and he’s a rare reassuring voice in the coronavirus madness.

This interview is a much watch. The good doctor discusses everything from potential lasting immunity to the Chinese and Europe flight restrictions, and from younger Americans having serious reactions to COVID-19 to when to classify a death as one due to COVID-19.

Did Everyone Get The Tissue Paper Shortage Wrong?

Medium’s Marker claims that the real reason for the toilet paper shortage isn’t hoarders, it’s simple logic.

People are spending all their time at home, so they need more TP at home. Meanwhile commercial TP doesn’t fit on home dispensers, is uncomfortable to use, and isn’t distributed for home sale.

Hence there is a home TP shortage, but a commercial TP excess.

That’s logical, but the TP shortage began before people started working from home. Plus that doesn’t explain the shortages on all of the other essentials.

There’s certainly some aspect of hoarding going on, but perhaps it’s not all due to hoarding.

I’ve always kept us stocked with essentials thanks to the great Amazon sales there have been over the past year. My nature to stock up on deals is finally paying off.

It Was Illegal To Not Wear A Mask In Parts Of The US During The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic, Why Did We Forget The Lessons?

CNN covers the story of how it was illegal to not wear a mask during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.

While many Asian countries took the mask lessons from the US to heart, western countries forgot the lessons over the years.

That means that Taiwan’s response, ramping up mask production and requiring them to be used, has saved thousands of lives.

When everyone wears a mask, the droplets that spread coronavirus are stopped in place. Additionally people don’t touch their face outside their home until they get back and wash their hands.

The US finally updated their guidance on masks on Friday. Cities in the US are starting to require their use. It’s just a shame that President Trump announced that he won’t be following the guidelines as soon as he announced the new guidelines. That unnecessarily divides the country and undermined the recommendation.

The WHO has also changed their recommendations as have other countries. It’s just a shame it took this long.

The US should force companies to make masks en-masse, send them to everyone along with their stimulus checks, and require their usage outside of the home.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Has Been Hospitalized Due To COVID-19

Boris Johnson has been hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms.

It’s a good reminder that nobody is safe from this pandemic. Perhaps our president will realize that after this news and start wearing a mask himself? It would protect himself and show the nation that these are dangerous times and it’s OK to look foolish to protect your life.

The US Sold Off Cases Of N95 Masks For $2/Each In February

The WSJ reports that the US GSA sold off thousands of masks for just $2 each in February.

This is what happens when our country is in denial about what’s coming and when agencies don’t talk to each other about what is needed.

Meanwhile our front-line healthcare workers go without proper protection…

Empty Out Your Amenity Kits For Face Masks And Hand Sanitizer

The Twitter universe has discovered that the eye shades found in airline amenity kits can also be used as a face mask:


I have boxes full of amenity kits from flying on airlines across the globe, and they also have useful essentials like hand sanitizer, toothpaste, and more. Who knew they would come in handy one day?

The FDA Is Now Allowing KN95 Masks To Be Imported

KN95 masks, the Chinese equivalent of N95 masks, have long been banned for US imports due to concern of fraudulent masks.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and the FDA is now allowing the import of KN95 masks. 

That’s good, but it’s a sad indictment that we need to rely on other countries for our own health safety. Then again that’s true for most of these things we use daily…

Make Your Own Face Mask

Via, here’s how to make your own homemade face mask:


Mark Cuban Says 3M Is At Fault For The N95 Shortage

Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban is pointing a finger at 3M for failing to control its supply of N95 masks that hospitals are desperate for.

He says that he’s constantly getting offers of overpriced N95 respirators from 3M distributors that have marked the price up 1000%.

If 3M would demand distributors sell to healthcare only or if they cut out the distributors they would be able to deliver directly to hospitals without allowing the black market to thrive.

Michael Goldsmith’s Fight For Remdesivir Is Over, But Others May Be Saved By The Fight

Fox News writes about the sad plight of Michael Goldsmith and his wife’s crusade to get him Gilead Sciences’ Remdesivir drug.

I wrote about Michael in this post, but sadly he remains on life support.

Unfortunately, his wife Elana shares that they are standing down in their fight for the drug, considered one of the most promising in the fight against COVID-19. At this point, some 25 days into infection, his doctors agree that’s it’s now too late for the drug to help him.

But the fight wasn’t for naught. Gilead Sciences announced that they will be donating 1.5 million doses of the drug, that can treat 140,000 patients. Gilead will be able to treat 1 million patients by years end.

In the meantime, Elana and Michael aren’t giving up. May he and all COVID-19 victims see a speedy recovery.

Dr. Zelenko Becomes A Right-Wing Star; Elon Musk Builds Ventilators 

The NY Times takes a look into Chabad chosid Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, who serves the Satmar community of Kiryas Joel.

Dr. Zelenko’s viral videos of treating even mild COVID-19 cases with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc sulfate have been highlighted by the right-wing media.

Meanwhile Kiryas Joel pushed back against his claims.

It’s an odd story. There certainly have been many people that are reporting positive results with hydroxychloroquine to fight COVID-19, but there also also many that have died despite using it. And then there is the man that died from eating it in fish treatment form…

It seems like Elon Musk first made the treatment go viral, though that was probably him compensating for calling the coronavirus panic dumb:


Then again when Elon compensates, it’s usually good for humanity:


Dr. Zelenko certainly didn’t intend to have the viral fame, but he became the face of the drug’s promise and hope.

Hopefully it helps cure people without giving false hope.

The Plague Of Wild Animals Has Arrived

With humans sheltered at home, animals are taking over cities.



As a firstborn son, I’d rather not know which plague is coming next.

Cell Phone Tracking Shows The Impact Of Social Distancing

This video shows how cell phones from a single beach in Fort Lauderdale travel across the country.

It’s a little crazy that this sort of data is out there, but it’s also amazing to see just how fast things can spread.


In case anyone needs a reminder of what happens without social distancing, take a look at this article of the choir practice that wasn’t cancelled, with tragic results.

There’s good reason why we all need to stay home.

Monsey Stabbing Victim Josef Neumann Has Passed Away; Will The Media Stop Attacking Orthodox Jews?

It seems like forever, but just a few months ago Jews in New York were subject to several brutal anti-Semitic attacks.

Sadly, the victim of the Chanuka stabbing in Monsey has passed away:

Unfortunately the media continues to scapegoat Orthodox Jews for not following social distancing. Sure, there are some who aren’t following guidelines, but by and large the community has shut down everything. Pointing out a few violators is no better than pointing out a few violators from any other group. It needlessly causes hate. And we’ve been down this dark road during the black death plague when Jews were said to spread the disease.



And that Twitter thread continues

Sadly, the holiday of Purim a month ago, seems to have been a time when coronavirus was spread before there were any restrictions announced, so the Orthodox community was hard hit.

But not all journalists lack integrity.

News anchor Kurt Siegelin stirred the pot by accusing Lakewood, NJ schools of being open.

But he made a whole-hearted apology on Facebook for getting it wrong and then updated the story with the facts. If only everyone in the media owned up to mistakes like that!

How Much Are People Wallets Hurting Right Now?

This shocking video puts the current US unemployment claims into context. Hopefully we can defeat coronavirus quickly or we’ll be facing a depression.

A Fire At Fort Myers Airports Destroyed Over 3,500 Cars…Due To Coronavirus?

People aren’t flying and they’re not renting cars.

Thousands of rentals cars at Fort Myers airport have been parked in overflow fields. The cause of the airport fire is unknown, but it destroyed over 3,500 cars that were just parked there due to travel demand that has been sapped due to coronavirus.

Airlines Behaving Badly

The WSJ covers the story of airlines refusing to give refunds for cancelled flights, despite the law requiring it.

US airlines would love it if the US would close airspace, as that would mean they could get away with refusing refunds by blaming it on government regulations.

Airlines like Air France, Delta, El Al, Emirates, Lufthansa, TAP, Turkish, and United are called out for refusing refunds or charging fees for refunds on cancelled flights.

Their advice mirrors what I’ve been preaching for some time now. Never cancel your flights before the day of your flight. Reach out to your airline via phone or social media. File a DoT complaint. Dispute the charge on your card.

Globes also writes about this from the Israeli perspective, where the law also requires refunds within 21 days. El Al has been ignoring that guidance.

Thankfully, the DoT reaffirmed its stance that refunds must be issued when airlines cancel flights.

Many readers have been able to get refunds since that announcement, so if you have been denied before, now is the time to try again.

Meanwhile the airline industry still doesn’t get it:


They believe that airlines should be able to steal consumer’s money to stay alive. Of course if a customer needs to cancel a flight, airlines keep that money, but the suggestion that airlines should keep the customer’s money without providing is a new low for the airline industry.

Stubhub Behaving Badly

Stubhub is no longer offering refunds for cancelled events. They’re offering a coupon for cancelled events worth 20% more than the cost of their ticket, but the coupon will expire in just 1 year.

Sellers are being charged for tickets sold for cancelled events.

Amazon Prime Day Will Be Delayed

Reuters reports that Prime Day 2020 will be delayed.

Amazon has had Prime Day sales in July since 2015. However with coronavirus slowing shipping times down sitewide, it’s no surprise to see Prime Day delayed.

The real question will be if Amazon is able to have a Prime Day this year at all. Amazon is expecting a hit of hundreds of millions of dollars by delaying Prime Day, but losing Prime Day will cost the company billions.

Real-ID Is Delayed, Again

I stopped writing about Real-ID years ago. Having an ID that proved residency was a 9/11 recommendation and was passed back in 2005, but has been delayed time and time again.

It was allegedly going to go into effect on 10/1/20 and the TSA has been warning us about upgrading to a compliant ID card in order to fly, but it will be pushed back until 10/1/21 due to coronavirus.

Wake me up when it’s actually required.

Trapped In Russia

Russia closed their borders, trapping passengers that were in transit.

Passengers on the last flight to the US were told their flight was cancelled and removed from the plane. Chaos erupted.


The US Embassy says…try to get to Finland. Or hope that Russia will allow another flight out.

Trapped In The Maldives

The NY Times has the story of a honeymooning South African couple that is “trapped” in a 5 star resort in the Maldives. (Disclaimer: Non-tznius pictures)

They have the entire island to themselves and the entire staff doting to their every need.

If I had to pick a place to be trapped right now, the Maldives would be at the top of the list.

But it’s not all roses. They may have an entire resort to themselves, but they still need to pay for their room! They’re getting a discount, but Maldivian resorts still cost a small fortune.

That’s the price you pay for paradise and living the dream though I suppose.

Trapped At Sea

I don’t have much sympathy for anyone that boarded a cruise ship after the horrific story of the Diamond Princess came out.

Cruises can be fraught with virus risks in the best of times and are not where you want to be during a global pandemic.

And yes, there are ships that remain at sea with no place to go.

Many fly flags from various Caribbean ports in order to avoid paying federal taxes and minimum wage. Funny how they still demand the US take the ships and ask for bailouts in their times of need. 

Maybe flying the US flag and paying taxes would be a good future investment for cruise ships?

Trapped In Antarctica

The NY Post writes about some people who are trapped in Antarctica!

Antarctica is the only continent that isn’t being ravaged by coronavirus, so there are certainly worse places to be stuck!

My days in Antarctica were some of the most memorable of my life. But that being said, I’m sure happy that our Antarctica cruise isn’t going on now!

With Flying Down 95 Percent, Passengers Are Finding Themselves Flying Solo

Passengers are getting the memo that they need to stay home and passenger numbers are down by 95%:


That means that passengers that do have to fly are getting entire planes to themselves:


Air New Zealand reported having an average of less than 2 passengers per flight, crazy!


As tempting as it is to get a plane ride to myself though, I’m staying put at home. The cost of a ticket may be just $10 across the country, but that’s still not tempting enough to risk my life and the life of others.

The New Airport Codes

OK, I got a kick out of these! Who knows when we’ll travel safely again, so suggest your own codes in the comments!

The Inspiring Emirates Ad And The Emirates Parking Lot

Emirates released an inspiring ad about how we’ll look back at COVID-19:


In the meantime, planes are parked across the world, but it’s still amazing to see a video of them:

Virgin Australia And Singapore Stop Allowing Mileage Transfers To Each Other

As noted here, you can normally transfer miles between Singapore and Virgin Australia and vice versa. The 1.55:1 ratio isn’t great, but has some decent potential.

Unfortunately airlines are in cost-cutting mode and mileage transfers have been suspended for the time being.

Flying Blue Promo Awards Suspended

Air France and KLM offer some exceptional mileage deals on a rotating monthly basis.

However due to coronavirus, they are suspended until further notice.

Virgin Australia Says Goodbye…And Donates Their Toilet Paper

A Virgin Australia flight attendant gives a tearful goodbye on a final flight:


And the airline rounded up all of their toilet paper to donate to those in need. Weird times when toilet paper is an airline’s most valuable asset 😉

Marriott #Bonvoyed Their Ambassadors

If you spend $20,000 annually and 100 nights in Marriott hotels…I feel very sorry for you indeed 😉

But on a serious note, those members get Ambassador Elite status, which is the same thing as Titanium elite status along with a rarely available 24 hour checkin program and a private ambassador.

Marriott has laid off most ambassadors and members may no longer have their own private ambassador. The value of an ambassador veries highly, so if you have a good one, that’s a big sting and a big reason people strive for that level.

Good luck asking Marriott for a refund of money spent chasing down that status 😀

Here’s what Marriott sent to their Ambassador elites,

As an Ambassador Elite member, you are among our most loyal and valued members. As such, I wanted to reach out personally to keep you updated on the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on our company and our program. You may have seen a message from our CEO, Arne Sorenson, in which he shared his thoughts about how much our hearts and thoughts go out to the people who have been affected by this unprecedented event, and how much we appreciate the healthcare workers, local communities, and governments around the world that are on the front line working to contain this coronavirus. I hope you and your family are taking precautions and remain healthy.

Today, governments around the world are making decisions to halt nonessential business activity, and many of our Ambassadors work from contact centers around the globe that have been required to close. As a result, we have adapted the way we deliver the Ambassador Service to you, while enabling us to protect the health and safety of our associates worldwide.

As we continue to react to the unfolding situation, your personal Ambassador may not be available to assist you directly. To preserve the level of service we strive to deliver to Ambassador Elite members, we have engaged our global Ambassador Service team to respond to and address your needs, just as we do after-hours when your personal Ambassador is not working. This approach will help us ensure you get the timeliest response to any travel needs you may have.

We know many of you will miss the one-on-one relationship you may have built or were looking forward to building with your Ambassador this year. While this decision was necessitated by the fight against COVID-19, please know we are committed to returning to business-as-usual when it is safe to do so and permitted by governments. Expect to hear from us again soon, with news about program updates, including 2020 Elite status requirements.

Whether you are traveling now or in the future, I want you to know that your safety, as well as that of our associates, is a top priority. Despite these current hardships, our Ambassador team around the world is waiting to serve you.”

Marriott #Bonvoyed Their Insider Forums

Marriott has long run an Insiders forum where guests shared tip and trip reports.

Marriott announced that they will close the forums immediately and offered a Facebook group as an alternative. A facebook group doesn’t have any of the useful functions of a forum to keep conversations organized.

It’s not surprising that at a time when employees are being laid off that the forums got the axe. But is it too much to ask for more notice? Or for Marriott to not delete the entire forum archive from the past decade as of July 1st?

A Brooklyn Landlord Just Cancelled April Rent 

A nice story from the Times, a Brooklyn landlord of 18 buildings has told his tenants not to worry about April rent.

There are many amazing stories like this that lift our spirits, but they don’t get the news coverage they deserve. Share the stories you know of in the comments!

Heartwarming Jewish Music Videos

Can’t help but shed a tear watching these. But times will be better soon!


Words Of Chizuk From The Sanzer Rebbe in Netanya, Israel

Last time I shared these nice thoughts from Rabbi Aron Moss of

I also love these remarks that were shared on DDF here:

“It’s important to contemplate that just as this virus cannot be seen by our eyes and yet it has the power to transform the whole world, so too the Almighty is not seen but runs the whole world.

While you might say that with the right instruments one can see the virus, you should know that if you have the right “instruments” you can also “see” the Almighty. Those instruments can be accessed – as is mentioned in many works and throughout chassidic literature – through deep connection to Torah….

It is forbidden to say about anything – certainly about something so major – that it is just a random event. We must attempt to ponder: Why did Hashem bring this upon us?

Some think they are able to find causes and assign blame. However, the teaching I received from my sainted father – which is one of the fundamental teachings of Chassidus – is that we are not to look at the deficiencies of others.

It is not the desecration of Shabbos that’s to blame – nor any other sin that other people may have transgressed. We must especially refrain from finding fault during a time when we are supposed to awaken Heavenly mercy. G-d forbid, we should not arouse negative judgment against the Jewish people. We should only speak in their defense.

Instead, at such a time, everyone should look at himself: What can I improve about myself and my avodah for me and all of Klal Yisrael? Let them look at where they can improve in Torah, tefillah, and, most of all, in the way they treat other people.

People are frightened and stressed, and naturally they feel pressured and may tend to lose patience at home and outside. In this situation, when the children are at home – everyone is at home – along with the pressure of Pesach and all its preparations, which yields its own stresses, the primary behavior that we must accept upon ourselves is to be joyful and filled with simcha. To exude calm, to be peaceful with the children, to spend time with the children – the boys and the girls – even more than usual.

I must state – and this is the primary message I want to get across – that although righteous women have been accustomed to devoting all their energy to preparing the house for Passover, this year must be different. I have a tradition that I received many times from my sainted father, z”l, that Pesach was not intended for making the house new once again or to do “spring cleaning” of all kinds of dirt that may have accumulated.

What is required for Pesach is only removing chametz, and according to halacha, nullification [i.e., Kol Chamira] is sufficient. In fact, my father recounted that in the home of his grandfather – the Bnei Yissachar – they would clean the house on the night before Pesach as they searched for chametz, and that was the entirety of the “Pesach cleaning.”

Furthermore, my father himself instructed his children when they had small children of their own to take care of that the mothers shouldn’t go beyond the basic obligation of cleaning at the expense of caring for the children and should not turn the house over to make it clean.

The evil inclination is ready to bring into your home pressure, stress, and irritation about the children – and to cause tension between husband and wife – trying to convince them that “this is necessary in order to make Pesach.” One needs to know that one point of anger – one moment of stress – is far worse than having chametz in the home!

It is our duty – that of parents and righteous women – to ensure calm in the home. Pesach will be kosher with doing less. Do as much as you can calmly with no stress – and nothing more.

Place far more focus on the mitzvah of “You shall tell your son.” Make sure the children grow positively in their spiritual and material needs. Be careful that they come to no harm during these weeks….

What is wanted from us now from heaven – and Jews just want to do the will of G-d – is for our homes to be islands of calm and happiness. G-d is leading in the way that He is right now; let us gladly accept His will with joy and without any angry fights and shouting.

Let us maintain calm and avoid aggravation and not be stringent when it is not necessary, while at the same time not be lenient with what is truly forbidden.

Of course, it is important not to transgress the prohibition against bitul Torah and one should use their learning time productively, but most of the learning should be with the children – as the Torah states, “And you shall teach it to your sons.”… Prepare them for Pesach.

Let us yearn to bring – even this year – the Korban Pesach. If one can, one should study the halachot of Korban Pesach. But what is most important is to engage in chessed – to do what we can to help others. At times like this, when there are many homes that are having difficulties, it is up to us to help with whatever possible. Older girls can help neighbors or the elderly….

My message to children and young men is to be very careful – especially in these days when the challenge is greater – to respect their parents, which is such an essential Torah command….

Unfortunately, there are many who are ill, and if illness can be prevented by adhering to the government guidelines, they should not be underestimated. The dictum of the Torah “You shall be very protective of your life” has no limit. We desecrate Shabbos and Yom Kippur even if there is a small chance that a life may be in danger. And it is even more important to be careful to avoid harming others than to avoid harming oneself….

Of course, one should add a few chapters of Tehillim to one’s prayers and ask of G-d “mena magayfa minachalasecha – prevent a plague from your inheritance.”… We should endeavor to instill in our sons and daughters a deep confidence in Hashem, as Hashem is the Protector of Israel. Encourage and embolden them; help them appreciate the concept of doing kindness with others, both spiritually and physically.

If we do this, may we merit a complete salvation – “with joy you will come out and with peace will you bring” – speedily in our days.

(The English translation is courtesy of Rabbi Yehuda L. Oppenheimer)

What are your thoughts on these stories and what other COVID-19 articles caught your eye?

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83 Comments On "COVID-19 News Roundup 4/5/20: Shifting Origin Story, Billionaires Doing Good, Plague Of Wild Animals, Trapped Away From Home, Chicken Soup For The Soul+More"

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“Conspiracy theorists have long said that the virus was engineered in Wuhan and/or a Chinese bio-security leak.”
I find this hard to believe.

About your question if China should be held accountable? Absolutely yes!! I was so glad when Trump won president to that finally we have someone with balls to stand up for our country. Frankly, I am disappointed the way he is treating China now.


Oy,Trump? What a disaster. Here don’t take my word for it, take his:


Great collection of articles! Thanks @dan!

Halle berry

can you plase explain why plains are still flying with only 1 passenger?


Excellent news Roundup that doesn’t get me depressed



Smarter Than a Fifth Grader

Just an FYI… Bats were DEFINITELY sold at the Wuhan market! A friend of mine videotaped the various species/breeds of animals that were sold for human consumption and roasted bats on skewers were shown.


Can you provide the video?


I’ve seen a video as well. Dont remember the season thou.

Chuchum Ainer

Elon Musk is one of the worst jerks of this whole parsha.

Noticed his donation of 1,000 FDA approved ventilators?
They aren’t the expensive, life saving, invasive ventilators the world has a shortage of. They are BPAP machines. As in, sleep apnea machines. Which cost less than 7% of the cost of an invasive ventilator. That particular model was discontinued 5 years ago

He keeps calling them fda approved, because the fda just approved their use in milder cases instead of ventilators. At the same, they aerosolize the virus, so they can do more harm than good.

So yeah, nice that tesla is attempting to manufacture ventilators. Major thumbs down for the fraudulent pr stunt.

As always, thanks for the roundup and level headed analysis


I am not sure I buy all this bill gates stuff it might be all about $$$$$$ he’s deeply invested in big pharma and needs to look good when exploiting all of Africa but maybe I should judge him favorably


“He will build 7 factories for the leading vaccine researchers”. First off he’s not building them. He’s chipping in some money. I don’t understand why 7 are needed. There’s plenty of vaccine manufacturing capacity (bioreactors) around the world including the US. Some off this effort has been funded by the HHS for years (a result of the anthrax scare).
J&J announces a lead vaccine candidate for COVID-19. I did not see the Gates foundation mentioned in that press release.

Big fan

Perhaps a yud alef Nissan mention would also be a nice touch to add


Even before COVID-19, it’s absurd to think that a western country would put their 5G network in the hands of a company tied at the hip with the Chinese gov’t.

That’s like outsourcing your social security administration to Nigerian princes.


Thanks Dan, amazing job!


Thanks for gathering all this info Dan! Amazing job!


The delta video seems to be staged, the flight # does not match the route.


Nice catch


I wish I had a BKY or a PAT or at least a BCY (balcony). Just the cost of living in NYC I guess.


Sorry but what does NYC stand for?


I was going to answer, but then I got the joke.


Great article, except for mentioning the sad man in Arizona who ingested fish tank chloroquine. For heaven’s sake- who cares! All the media is using this as “proof” that chloroquine is dangerous. Seriously?


Thanks for this roundup!


I want to know why when I call my factories in China and ask if they know anyone that had the virus they don’t know anyone personally??
I myself know of 200 + people just this past week who got affected!
I want to know why cities like Beijing and Shanghai didn’t have any cases almost… 500 cases and 8 death??
A city very closed to Whuhan!!
I want to know why we just discovered that loss of taste and smell are one of the symptoms??
Was China aware of it and not letting the world know??
Something very very fishy is going on!!!


once again a very well job done by the one and only.
thanks again GURU!

Good Vibes

You’re 41/41!

I’m sure it took plenty of time and work to write (especially attaching the links to the correct words )



I’ve read most of these post on DDF but you brought them here together in one piece and you did a great job! I love your analysis.
Thank you Dan!

Bobbie Sue Daitch

would you happen to know if the companion tickets that one gets for some of the Delta Am X cards will be extended to use over a longer period of time?

New York Jets

Dan you are the best!!

Talk about plagues – in Kenya there is a locust infestation!!!


Regarding Tesla making ventilators, I read in an article (link below) entitled “Elon Musk promised ventilators. These are BPAP machines” that made it sound that there was a lot more hype that we were led on to believe. If you have been following this part of the story, do you know what this is about?–These-are-BPAP-machines-/


Nice roundup!


Am I supposed to believe that we spend Billions of dollars on espionage and we didn’t know that there was a pandemic in China because they didn’t tell us?

I’m sure that they being open about it would’ve been helpful, but the idea that we didn’t knows something like this was going on sounds very difficult to believe.

I think the UK is “furious” because they’re desperate for a scapegoat after Boris pretended this was the flu and acted in ways that will lead to many thousands of preventable deaths. The same goes for the USA.

Dan, I love you and all, it you don’t have all the info that the government has. Even with the limited info you had you’ve beenj warning about this way before the administration took it seriously.

The government screwed this up wishing it would go away when all alarm bells were ringing. That’s the saddest part of this all.

Jack out of the Box

In my Israeli apartment this location is a very important destination for leisure/vacation activities. Also for eating chametz this week. PCH = Porch.


PCH will forever be Pacific Coastal Highway. Just saying.

Jack out of the Box

Sorry. I didn’t check with IATA, FAA, or any other recognized body in the industry.



Beautiful likut. Concise and succinct with all of the necessary information. A convenient read.

A chosid

That was a great roundup! I look forward to these every week and I’m grateful for them. Thanks, Dan!


Thank you for posting the quote from the Sanzer Rov.


Thank you Dan for your updates. I find them helpful and informative. I have been a longtime follower of yours, and I am so happy I am!

More bang for your buck

Priority pass for WNC? חג כשר ושמח


Thanks for the roundup @dan! I love the part where the iata called out the dot for sticking up for passengers what a chutzpa


I’ve got to say Dan, this is a darn good news compilation! I always enjoy your news roundups, and this one was especially a good read. (Hopefully the future will only hold good news). Even though I’m not so much in the miles and credit card game (although I’m working my way up slowly), I thoroughly enjoy reading them and getting all the insight and ins and outs. It’s also really nice when you add inspirational material that are applicable to the times. Keep it up!


You can make a face mask without sewing – just Google [no sew face mask]


Viewers of the YouTube channel Some More News [not super-suitable for the frum olam] have long been aware of wild pigs.


thank you very much for this compilation Dan; I especially enjoyed the Words Of Chizuk
From The Sanzer Rebbe