- according to the World Health Organization, there are only seven confirmed deaths, not over 150;
- it seems to be spread by droplets, no evidence that it is airborne;
- all of the cases outside Mexico so far are of people who recently visited that country, not onward transmissions.
Now all of that could change, and we should keep praying, but clearly the panic is a little overblown.
All the same, it is clearly better that the authorities take appropriate precautions early than under-react only to have people die unnecessarily as happened in some past disease situations!
Conspiracy theories inc
But I have to say I'm rather bemused by some of the wild and woolly comments on this over at Rorate Caeli, which practically parody extreme traditionalism. So let me make a few more key points:
- the Church and public authorities in Mexico and elsewhere are taking precautionary measures. There is nothing in our religion that requires us to take undue risks to our health unless there is a very good reason to do so, such as saving someone else's life (in fact, wouldn't recklessly endangering ourselves be sinful?). Devotion to the mass is salutary. And wanting to go to mass at a difficult time is a natural reaction. But putting all catholics at special risk of dying out of devotion to the mass doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me when we could be praying the rosary or saying the Office at home. Not as efficacious? Possibly, although I don't know that this is clearcut theologically - think of all those saints who performed miracles directly through their prayers;
- Holy Mass does not provide a magical barrier against the transmission of disease. There can be occasions when the eucharist does perform miracles of this kind, but be careful of presumption!;
- I agree this would be a very good time to ban communion under both kinds, I've always thought it shocking from a health perspective (as well as being problematic by requiring the laity to take hold of the chalice). But a claim that 'Communicating via both species' in some ways dilutes the fact we receive Our Lord in either species' is clearly erroneous - after all, the priest has to communicate under both kinds for at least liciety (and some would argue validity)!
As for some of the conspiracy theorists over there - give me a break!
I'm removing Rorate from my blog list.