This post addresses the consequences for both Jews (whether religious or not) and non-Jews.
First of all, it first achieved infamy in a place known for its violations of all 7 Mitzvot Bnei Noach.
As one example: Rabbanim in Eretz Yisrael actually forbade receiving organ transplants from China when they realized the likelihood of an innocent person (aka, political prisoner) being murdered to provide the new organ.
(This never became Israeli law, as far as I know, so only people who care about halacha listen. But still.)
And yes, some of the mitzvot violations in China are against the people's will, but not all.
For example, no one is forcing anyone to eat ever min hachai – yet some Chinese people do so happily with the approval of their surrounding society.
And while the Chinese government forced abortions on women about to violate their former one-child policy, no one forced Chinese women to abort their unborn females so that couples could have the son more desirable in Chinese culture.
(This has also given China the unnatural result of more males than females. Naturally, a society should have more females than males. China's ratio of males to females is the highest in the world: around 115 males for every 100 females. And yes, this is causing social problems.)
Furthermore, growing research shows that an increasing number of Chinese babies available for adoption are actually kidnapped from their families of origin. This is a particularly serious violation against the Noachide prohibition against stealing.
And again, very few within Chinese society seem to care about this. Some do (and it's unfortunate that they're suffering along with everyone else), but most don't seem to.
And so on.
A Change in Values
A very happy result of coronavirus is the increasing shut-down of ancient Greek cultural activities, the shut-down of the Olympics being most symbolic.
Increasingly, people can also no longer gather together to watch young men chase leather balls across a wide swathe of green or across a polished court (AKA soccer & American football & basketball).
People can no longer watch the licentious half-time shows performed by young women who have no respect for their own tzelem Elokim.
They no longer have an excuse to brawl and commit other senseless harmful acts in their great enthusiasm for watching guys in funny uniforms assault leather balls with their feet or bats.
Music performances, especially those known for their degenerate lyrics & acts, accompanied by rampant drinking & drugging & violent or lewd behavior, are being cancelled one after the other. (Yay!)
Movie theaters are emptying out.
And bars & dance clubs? These are the scenes of so many crimes (and are, in fact, the main source of college girls being violated — though most liberals refuse to acknowledge this), in addition to drinking & drugging & licentious behavior — and now they're emptying out.
How many lives have been harmed by the whole bar-hopping culture?
That's all coming to an end.
Certainly, if people have stored a supply of alcohol at home or know how to make their own, they can still act like drunken chimpanzees in their own home.
But bar brawls that spill out into the street & prowlers looking for female prey are coming to an end (at least temporarily).
And who knows? Maybe drug addicts & alcoholics will have no choice but to dry out during quarantine.
Also, I heard about one couple with a young child from which the husband walked out and went to live with his brother.
But when the lockdown started, the husband decided he preferred to be with his child and decided to do his best to get along with his wife.
And so he moved back home.
As Per Tanach, Hashem has Distracted Our Enemies from Their Genocidal Plans
Interestingly, it seems to have hit the leaders first. During the Obama administration, the Iranian people themselves tried to change their government. Also, Iranian Jews repeatedly claim that your average Iranian does not suffer from Jew-hatred & are actually pretty nice in general.
The desire to destroy the Jews of Eretz Yisrael lies with the leaders of Iran, not the average citizen – and that's exactly who got hit first.
Furthermore, with Iranian leaders consumed with the virus now among their general population, they can no longer afford to focus on destroying Israel or funding terrorist groups.
Having said that, I'm still sorry for the suffering of those who wish to live moral & peaceful lives.
Showing One's True Colors
Italian hospitals have been turning away people over 60 – just because they're not 59. Or 22.
If a person reaches the point where he or she needs hospital treatment (whether a respirator or a vitamin C infusion or other effective treatments unable to be performed at home), and that person is turned away...well, that naturally increases the chance the person will die.
And by behaving with such a lack of integrity, a nation sours the din against themselves even further, which also increases illness & fatalities.
Italy is also the birthplace of Rome.
Chocolate, wine, opera, fashion, a powerful mafia, and unholy religious practices had and still have their root in Italy.
There's nothing innately wrong with chocolate or wine, of course. By their focused excellence in these areas, it becomes a symbol of indulgence (rather than a criticism of the actual food itself).
Also, while opera is considered a classy activity, have you ever read the opera storylines? They're silly at best & immoral at worst, as are some of the costumes.
And all these activities have drawn to a halt. (Well, mostly anyway.)
And now this center of Rome is singing self-aggrandizing songs (patriotic or sports anthems) from their porches to keep their spirits up while their hospitals turn away desperate people simply due to their lack of youth.
It's all rather Edomite, if you think about it.
I'm sorry for the innocent there who are suffering along with the self-indulgent.
Just Say NO to National & Continental Unions
The current situation forces them to enforce their borders.
Even within a country, they are enclosing cities and states.
In America, despite its lack of physical boundaries around each individual state, some states (like Florida) are enforcing its boundaries by placing checkpoints at all incoming roads and the airport.
Because most of Florida is surrounded by ocean, it only has states on its northern boundary. States surrounded by other states (like Wyoming, which has 6 states along its boundaries) will have a harder time doing this.
We learn in Parshat Noach that Hashem does not approve of mass unification.
Along with the plain text of the Torah regarding Migdal Bavel (the Tower of Babel), the commentaries are quite clear on this point.
You can see the Kli Yakar detail all the problems with mass unification in The Kli Yakar on Parshat Noach, in which he explains the despite the nations' proclamations of peace as their objective for mass unification...in reality, mass unification leads to more war.
Remember, prior to World War I, Europe was led by monarchies who were related to each other – some several times over.
For example, Kaiser Willhelm II of Prussia & Germany was a first cousin to the British King George V of England; both were the grandsons of England's Queen Victoria. The monarchies of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark intermarried with each other and siblings ruled bordering countries.
The Queen of Greece had a royal British mother (Princess Victoria) and a royal German father (Frederick III).
Queen Marie of Romania was the daughter of a Russian princess and a British prince.
Even today, European royalty consists of second- and third-cousins.
Yet all those marriages and intertwining sibling & cousins did not prevent WWI.
The only time unification leads to peace is when it consists of tzaddikim.
When Hashem disperses people, it's for their own good.
Likewise, you can peruse An English Translation of the Malbim on Parshat Noach to see that Malbim makes the same points as the Kli Yakar.
Most of the leaders of different countries (maybe all) are not good people. They operate out of self-aggrandizement and the desire to perpetuate anti-God ideas throughout society – just like Dor Haflagah.
All their ideas for mass unification and being "one big happy family!" and creating "a global village" actually lead to destruction, as detailed by the Torah commentaries.
Via coronavirus, Hashem has put a stop to this.
If you think about it, it could easily be that the number deaths from coronavirus is actually less than deaths resulting from mass unification, and this is Hashem's Chessed, even though it doesn't look like a chessed on the surface.
But it is.
Making Room for Compassion
And that shouldn't be ignored.
And while I haven't written so much about my personal experiences within one of the most intense lockdowns in the world (Eretz Yisrael), there are definitely very challenging aspects to it, believe me.
I've had my moments in which I feel seized with fear. Baruch Hashem, they've been moments and not entire days.
And there are other challenges too.
And I also know that people who live alone, or who live in cramped conditions within a large family, people who live with at least one difficult family member who refuses to try to get along and behaves even worse due to the situation, people with existing health problems, people who were dependent on cleaning help, people who naturally possess bundles of energy and are now confined to their apartment, people who find it exceptionally difficult to endure the current grocery-shopping challenge (waiting outside for a long time while maintaining the proper distance from other shoppers) only to enter and discover there are no eggs or pasta or band-aids left, people who need a constant supply of essentials like diapers & baby formula, people who've lost a family member & cannot receive the support they desperately need right now, and all sorts of other situations...
...so by focusing on the positive outcomes of coronavirus, I certainly do not mean to tromp all over the very real suffering of people.
It's just that we should realize that this pandemic and its bizarre consequences did not come for no reason.
For example, it's good that all the stupid sports events that lead to pritzus & violence & animalistic behavior have been nullified.
Some couples with poor shalom bayit have actually been treating each other better & helping each other more because they can't afford NOT to get along in the current lockdown. Also, there's more appreciation because of actually being at home & seeing what the other spouse actually does. (The ones I've heard from aren't saying that things are perfect — they still have their snapping-turtle moments — but there has been overall improvement.)
Another benefit is that people who (consciously or unconsciously) built their self-worth on tremulous values (such as the ability to run a pristine home or produce amazing meals or excel in their career or sculpture themselves with gym workouts, etc.) are finding themselves trapped in limiting circumstances that are forcing them to redefine themselves.
In other words, people who (consciously or not) defined and/or esteemed themselves by their outside activities are now having to adjust themselves to their home & immediate family.
This is ultimately a good thing, but understandably very difficult & even painful in the beginning.
Another example: For some people, the sudden opportunity to run their own Seder for the first time this year is the chance they've been waiting for.
For others, it's an overwhelming duty rife with disappointment & stress.
So again, the obvious good & seeming bad run in parallel lines.
What's more, it's very distressing that people are sick & dying, and that the bereft cannot receive the support and comfort they need.
It's also very distressing that people whose livelihoods depend on outside activities (like musicians, caterers, store owners, store clerks, plumbers, electricians, house cleaners) or people whose livelihoods depend on people coming to their home (ganenets, in-home daycare, health & cosmetic practitioners, in-home sellers, etc.) can no longer earn a livelihood.
VERY distressing. (That's somewhat our personal situation right now too, BTW.)
Yet even when we can't physically help people, praying for them helps tons.
The Pandemic Paradox of Seeming Bad & Revealed Good Mixed Together
- He wants us to get along better – especially being nicer to those with whom we make our home.
- He want us to enjoy all aspects of life, including chagim & simchas, just for themselves without feeling that extra extravagance is vital. (It might be more fun and more attractive, but we can still be perfectly happy without ice sculptures or crazy music or a limo, and so on.)
- He wants us to become more inner-focused.
- He wants us to focus on ridding ourselves of actual chametz (and all the spiritual meaning that implies) rather than the non-essential spring-cleaning aspects (which, again, add a nice feeling for Leil HaSeder, but are not essential to Pesach).
- He wants us to let go of our taavot. (I suppose I'm not the only one who bought lots of essentials without having the room or the money to stock up on cookies, candy, white flour, and chocolate?)
- He wants us to give up our addictions. (With increasing lockdowns, alcohol & drugs are much harder to come by, if not impossible. Online gambling is unfortunately available – though increasingly limited finances discourage it – but casinos are no longer an option. Other unmentionable vices are also unavailable.)
- He wants us to pay attention to how we pray.
- He wants us to be careful about our speech and what we do when we interact with others.
There's more messages from Him, but you probably have your own good ideas.
Also, we probably all realize that in some ways, people might also behave increasingly worse, despite the obvious messages to behave better.
When isolated or cooped up in stressful environments, people also immerse themselves even more deeply in hi-tech outlets. (How many people are surfing, tweeting, texting, uploading "stories," playing video games, and watching videos even more than they were before?)
People are also sinking into less ideal behaviors, like drinking more, oversleeping more, smoking more, eating more, snarling more, fighting more, depression, paranoia, etc.
So yeah, again, there's the good and the bad together.
However, by conforming ourselves to Hashem's messages, we can avoid a worsening of the situation and hopefully halt the negative consequences in their tracks.
May Hashem eliminate coronavirus from our midst and grant all the cholim a complete & speedy refuah. May He also return us to our schools, yeshivot, and schools. May we experience true "simcha shel mitzvah." And may we always gather together for good reasons!