Whoops

MSN is reporting today that 19 sailors were killed and 15 others wounded when an Iranian warship accidentally fired upon another warship during a training exercise.

The article reports:

The incident took place during training in the Gulf of Oman, a sensitive waterway that connects to the Strait of Hormuz through which about a fifth of the world’s oil passes. Iran regularly conducts exercises in the area.

The frigate Jamaran fired at a training target released by a support ship, the Konarak. However, the support ship stayed too close to the target and was hit, state broadcaster IRIB said.

“The incident took place in the perimeter of Iran’s southern Bandar-e Jask port on the Gulf of Oman during Iranian Navy drills on Sunday afternoon, in which 19 sailors were killed and 15 others were injured,” state TV said, quoting the navy.

Fars news agency quoted an unidentified military official as denying some Iranian media reports that the Konarak had sunk. The navy statement said investigations were undergoing regarding the cause of the incident, student news agency ISNA said.

IRIB said the Dutch-made Konarak vessel, which was purchased before Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, had been overhauled in 2018, and is equipped with four cruise missiles.

My sympathies to the families impacted, but not to the government that made this possible.

Be Careful Out There (Or Better Yet, Stay Home)

It’s hard to fight an enemy you can’t see, yet that is what Americans are being asked to do. We can debate the seriousness of the coronavirus if we choose, but we can’t debate that it is here and that it is killing people.

MSN posted an article yesterday about the death of two people in Washington state. I realize that compared to the growing number of coronavirus deaths in America, two people may seem insignificant (not to their families), but their story is significant.

The article reports:

With the coronavirus quickly spreading in Washington state in early March, leaders of the Skagit Valley Chorale debated whether to go ahead with weekly rehearsal.

The virus was already killing people in the Seattle area, about an hour’s drive to the south.

But Skagit County hadn’t reported any cases, schools and business remained open, and prohibitions on large gatherings had yet to be announced.

On March 6, Adam Burdick, the choir’s conductor, informed the 121 members in an email that amid the “stress and strain of concerns about the virus,” practice would proceed as scheduled at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church.

“I’m planning on being there this Tuesday March 10, and hoping many of you will be, too,” he wrote.

Sixty singers showed up. A greeter offered hand sanitizer at the door, and members refrained from the usual hugs and handshakes.

…After 2 1/2 hours, the singers parted ways at 9 p.m.

Nearly three weeks later, 45 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or ill with the symptoms, at least three have been hospitalized, and two are dead.

The outbreak has stunned county health officials, who have concluded that the virus was almost certainly transmitted through the air from one or more people without symptoms.

The fact that the virus was transmitted at the rehearsal raises questions about the virus.

The article notes:

In interviews with the Los Angeles Times, eight people who were at the rehearsal said that nobody there was coughing or sneezing or appeared ill.

Everybody came with their own sheet music and avoided direct physical contact. Some members helped set up or remove folding chairs. A few helped themselves to mandarins that had been put out on a table in back.

Experts said the choir outbreak is consistent with a growing body of evidence that the virus can be transmitted through aerosols — particles smaller than 5 micrometers that can float in the air for minutes or longer.

The World Health Organization has downplayed the possibility of transmission in aerosols, stressing that the virus is spread through much larger “respiratory droplets,” which are emitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes and quickly fall to a surface.

But a study published March 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that when the virus was suspended in a mist under laboratory conditions it remained “viable and infectious” for three hours — though researchers have said that time period would probably be no more than a half-hour in real-world conditions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has not behaved well during this pandemic. There is a video of an official of the organization obviously avoiding a question about helping Taiwan. There are also indications that the WHO has made statements based on Chinese propaganda rather than actual facts (misinformation that has helped spread the virus).

At any rate–STAY HOME. Choir practice is fun, but when you sing, you may be projecting more than your voice. Normally that is not a problem–right now it is.

Stay safe.