Being isolated in my office for the past four weeks stirs my imagination to think of a fictional character trying to escape the touch of the Black Death. I think of the classic books I read during my college years, including Daniel Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year. As a boy he narrowly escaped the bubonic plague which killed 20 percent of London's population in the 14th Century. That pandemic, worst ever recorded, killed up to 200 million people in Eurasia and Africa. Famous fiction like Edgar Allan Poe's Masque of the Red Death and many others of the same theme come to mind, each describing an escape from evil.

The coronavirus pandemic we face today is evil indeed, with US deaths already exceeding 27,000. But it's good to get some perspective in our fight against this virus. Deaths in 2018 attributed to the "common" flu in the US were 80,000. (CDC. Highest death toll in 40 years). Death by poisoning, 75,000. Unintentional deaths, same year, 170,000. Unintentional deaths by fall, 36,000. Death by self inflicted injuries, 273,000. Car deaths, 40,000.

Also, "...the unspeakable violence of WWI killed about 16 million people". The (Spanish) flu killed 50 million.

So, as terrible as things are today, they have been a lot worse. And, I salute all the courageous doctors, nurses, health workers at every level, who are saving us from experiencing that "worse".

We should note especially that this coronavirus is 5-times more infectious than the common flu and will hang around 5-times longer if not for strong isolation measures, like "stay-at-home".

The hope is we can continue the fight to save our lives, while at the same time keeping our national economy from sudden death. That is the question I'm confident President Trump will answer correctly if he can keep the Democratic buzzards at bay.

Meanwhile, back to the office, where production is happening from three locations while the door is closed. By far the hardest thing for me to deal with in the silence of my office is the total closure of my church. I miss Mass, the sacraments, and I miss my priests and parishioners!

I try to walk most days, either with Pebbles the Wonder Dog, or alone. I've never been so sick of TV; almost all trash. FOX news has been a huge disappointment; can't stand Gutfeld, very little international news. I'm also really fed-up with the suffocating glut of ads. But, I'm thankful for a good library and an uninterrupted place to read, though I miss normal office activity as well. I never knew how boring I was until I had to spend four weeks by myself! Overall, I think it's the total disruption of my 31-year-old daily routine at the newspaper that bothers me most. If this is what retirement is like, I'm glad I missed it. Otherwise, I believe I would have slipped into eternity long ago. Thank you, Lord - not that I'm tempting fate.

Whether we call the epidemic coronavirus, Wuhan virus, or just the China virus, Clifford D. May's recent column, "Xi Jinping's Wuhan virus has changed the course of history" has it right. So it's fair and just to pin the label "nemesis of humankind" on communism and its practitioners, not on the hapless, good Chinese people, enslaved for the past 100 years by this loathsome system.

May calls for a drastic change in our dealings with communist China: "One thing though is for certain: Our dependence on China’s communist rulers must end." I've always greatly admired the Chinese people and their extraordinary ancient civilization. They are brilliant. My fascination was rekindled last night watching a Nova production of "The Emperor's Ghost Army". It tells of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, about 200 BC, and his multi-thousand terra cotta funeral army. We can only wonder about the skill and intelligence which created this advanced civilization. Then, I look at modern China's development and ask, if they can accomplish this under the slavery of communism, what could they do under the freedom of democracy?

Communism and socialism, in all their poisonous flavors, have always been the problem.

It's up to American political and military leadership to keep us safe from every virus, including political viruses such as communism. Do our children still learn that communism is atheistic, hates democratic values, and rejects Christian ethics and virtues? If not, why not?

After looking at the specific damage this virus has done to the world, civilian, economic, and military, I believe conclusions developed by Bill Gertz in the Washington Times are credible. The article quotes a former military intelligence officer who claimed “the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a maximum-security Chinese laboratory granted authority to research dangerous pathogens, was likely involved in a biological weapons program" which got away.

This virus has disabled four US atomic aircraft carriers, planes, and troops.

I have to ask how many communist Chinese ships, planes, and troops were likewise infected. Maybe the difference here is that the Chinese take seriously the thoughts of Sun Tzu (500 BC) “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”, while Americans still think like Clausewitz.

The Cold War has never left us. In fact, it may have caused us to shelter in place.