- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 17, 2020

While fierce new health protocols settle in with the general public during the coronavirus crisis, an esteemed physician also has a ready prescription for one and all.

“There’s nothing wrong with praying in a crisis. Neanderthals no doubt proffered a few entreaties to their Zeus when a sabre-tooth tiger hunt went south. It’s pretty much part of the human toolkit. The wisdom and efficacy of prayer in a crisis depends wholly on one question: is the prayer directed to someone who is real, or is prayer based on a delusion?” writes Dr. Michael R. Egnor, a professor of neurosurgery and pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook.

“If the object of supplication is real, then prayer is probably the first thing you want to do in a crisis. A plea to the Boss is a fine preamble to the grunt work of managing a crisis. I’m a neurosurgeon, and I pray before each operation. It really helps,” Dr. Egnor advises in a column for Mind Matters, a publication of the Discovery Institute and the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence.

He also backs up his recommendations with thoughts from medieval philosopher and theologian St. Thomas Aquinas — plus another source.

The physician also cited Vice President Mike Pence, who recently prayed with members of the White House coronavirus task force. In addition, President Trump has also prayed in the White House on multiple occasions with religious leaders of every description.



“Should we be praying through the coronavirus crisis? Well, there is good evidence of the efficacy of prayer regardless of one’s view on the ultimate question, which ought to be a good thing for everybody concerned,” summarizes Mark Tapscott, an editor of Hill Faith, a blog covering religion on Capitol Hill, which also cites Dr. Egnor’s advice.

CUOMO AND CUOMO

CNN prime-time host Chris Cuomo has had a special guest on his evening program recently. That would be his older brother New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. On two occasions, the pair have discussed the coronavirus and President Trump’s response to it in less-than-flattering terms.

“Does it make sense for liberal CNN host Chris Cuomo to interview his liberal Democrat brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, on the network’s prime time line-up? According to the network, it’s the perfect place for two members of a prominent Democrat family to bash the Republican president,” writes Newsbusters.org analyst Scott Whitlock, who reviewed the exchanges between the brothers.

“This is the second time in less than a week that Andrew Cuomo appeared on his brother’s show. The idea that CNN had no problem with Democrat Chris Cuomo interviewing Democrat Andrew Cuomo — both children of Democratic governor Mario Cuomo — is bizarre. Was Anderson Cooper not available?” asks Mr. Whitlock.

FOR THE LEXICON

“MRNA-1273”

That is the name of the potential vaccine for use against the coronavirus developed by Moderna, with input from the National Institutes of Health. The trial began at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle on Monday.

Also of note: In case you missed the news reports, Jennifer Haller, 43, was the first to receive the vaccine, and will receive another dose of the vaccine in a month.

“I hope that we get to a working vaccine quickly and that we can save lives and people can go back to life as soon as possible,” she told Time magazine in the aftermath.

Another 44 adult volunteers will receive their doses of the vaccine in the next six weeks.

SUCCESS: SAFEGUARDING AMERICA’S INTERNET

A round of applause, please, for Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, who has successfully rallied the nation’s major online providers to look after the nation and keep people connected with one another during the coronavirus crisis.

Mr. Pai has issued the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge” for providers, which ensures that service for residential or small-business customers will not be terminated if their bills go unpaid. The pledge also waives late fees for customers and opens Wi-Fi hot spots to any American who needs them.

Within 24 hours, a reassuring cross section of 85 providers had signed up — from major names like T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T to the Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative, Antietam Broadband and Central Arkansas Telephone Cooperative.

Mr. Pai says he is confident the nation’s broadband and telephone companies will prevail over the huge usage increases coming from increased telecommuting and social distancing.

“I applaud those companies that have already taken the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. They are stepping up to the plate and taking critical steps that will make it easier for Americans to stay connected during this pandemic and maintain much-needed social distancing. I urge other companies to join them. This may be a difficult time for our nation, but if we all work together, I am confident that we can rise to the challenge,” Mr. Pai says.

FOXIFIED

Good new continues for Fox News, which has remained the most-watched network in the cable realm for 10 consecutive weeks, according to Nielsen Media Research. For the week of March 9-15, Fox News drew 3.6 million prime-time viewers each night, with CNN in second place with 2.8 million and MSNBC third with 2.3 million.

“Justice with Judge Jeanine” was the No. 1 show in all of cable news last week, drawing 3.1 million viewers who tuned in for an exclusive interview with Vice President Mike Pence to review the Trump administration’s ongoing coronavirus efforts. The networks “Coronavirus Pandemic Special” anchored by Leland Vittert and Laura Ingle, brought in 2.9 million viewers

POLL DU JOUR

89% of U.S. voters are closely following news about the coronavirus.

89% approve of the White House decision to ban travel from China.

53% believe the virus will be “mostly contained” within a month.

29% have canceled travel plans because to the virus threat.

7% have a close friend or family member who has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Source: A One America News/Scott Rasmussen poll of 1,000 registered U.S. voters conducted March 13-15.

• Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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