The World and Everything in It — March 10, 2020

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!

One city in America has seen dramatically more cases, and more deaths, from coronavirus than any other.

AUDIO: Seattle … there’s a new reality … yeah, it’s kinda empty … 80,000 students now out of classrooms.

NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s not just media hype. We’ll talk with our reporter Jenny Lind Schmitt who lives there.

Also today, non-medication treatments for dementia. We have a report.

And the Olasky Interview—today, a conversation with global strategist George Friedman.

AUDIO: One of the values of the United States is that it tends to overestimate its challenges.

BASHAM: It’s Tuesday, March 10th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

BASHAM: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Coronavirus continues to sicken markets » AUDIO: [Opening bell]

Wall Street was feeling under the weather once again on Monday—as coronavirus fears continue to weigh on markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 7.8 percent. That was the steepest drop since the financial crisis of 2008. 

President Trump said Monday he’ll ask Congress to pass payroll tax relief to help calm the markets. 

Phil Flynn is senior market analyst for Price Futures Group. He said at the heart of the market plunge is a sharp drop in oil prices. 

FLYNN: We’re seeing a real lot of negativity in the market, and that’s even shadowing over to the stock market, and that’s where we start to weight things down. 

That comes as the coronavirus continues to spread within the United States. CDC’s Dr. Nancy Messonnier said Monday… 

MESSONNIER: Right now, the states with the most cases are California and Washington, but other communities are also dealing with cases of COVID-19. 

The U.S. death toll rose to 26 on Monday after reports of four more deaths. Nineteen of the deaths are associated with a nursing home in Washington. 

Coronavirus causing major disruptions overseas » Meantime in Italy, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said his government will impose travel restrictions and other strict measures nationwide starting today.

Conte said Italy will require people throughout the country to demonstrate a need to travel to areas outside of where they live. 

The restrictions are like those already in place in northern Italy, and will last until April 3rd.  

And on Monday, Israel ordered all visitors quarantined just weeks before Passover and Easter. Anyone arriving on an international flight will be subject to a two-week quarantine. 

World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday…

GHEBREYESUS: Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real. But it would be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled. 

He said “with decisive early action, we can slow down the virus and prevent infections.” 

Voters head to the polls in six states » Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders are set to duke it out at the ballot box again today, as voters head to the polls in six states: Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Washington, and the biggest prize—Michigan with its 147 delegates. 

Sanders rallied supporters in St. Louis Monday: 

SANDERS: Our job is to reinvigorate democracy, so we have one person-one vote, not billionaires buying elections!

While Biden campaigned on healthcare in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

BIDEN: While this election is about getting rid of Donald Trump, it’s also about seeking and seizing the opportunities that have been made available, and the next step forward in healthcare. 

He said building on Obamacare is the right path forward—in contrast with Sanders’ plan for a government takeover of healthcare. 91 Delegates currently separate the top two contenders. 

U.S. Soldiers killed in Afghanistan » The Pentagon on Monday said a man in an Afghan Army uniform gunned down two U.S. soldiers and wounded six others in eastern Afghanistan.

The assault occurred on Saturday. The defense ministry said one Afghan soldier also died in the assault.

The shooter was also an Afghan soldier who had argued with the U.S. forces before opening fire and he was not a Taliban infiltrator.

The U.S. Defense Department has identified the fallen soldiers. They are Sgt. Javier Gutierrez, and Sgt. Antonio Rodriguez. Both men were 28 years old. 

Six U.S. service members have now died in Afghanistan since the start of 2020. Last year, 22 U.S. service personnel died in combat there.

U.S. begins troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, official says » Meantime, a U.S. official tells the Associated Press that American troops have begun leaving Afghanistan for the initial troop withdrawal required in the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has that story. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Hundreds of troops are reportedly heading out of the country as previously planned. That as the U.S. moves ahead with plans to cut the number of forces in the country from about 13,000 to 8,600. 

The pullout comes amid a major political dispute in Afghanistan. Incumbent President Ashraf Ghani claimed victory in the country’s recent election. But rival Abdullah Abdullah rejected the results and both men were sworn in as president in separate ceremonies on Monday. 

The dispute threatens to wreck the next key steps toward peace and even risks devolving into new violence.

The U.S. has not tied the withdrawal to political stability in Afghanistan or any specific outcome from the all-Afghan peace talks. Instead, it depends on the Taliban meeting its commitment to prevent—quote—“any group or individual, including al-Qaida, from using the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”

The long-term plan is for the U.S. to remove all troops within 14 months if security conditions are met.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

COVINGTON: I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: Jenny Lind Schmitt reports from Seattle on the coronavirus outbreak there.

Plus, J.C. Derrick on life’s ups and downs.

This is The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: It’s Tuesday the 10th of March, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. First up: life amid the coronavirus outbreak.

EICHER: The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has spiked in the last week. And fear of the disease is taking a toll on daily life. Nowhere is that more true than in Seattle, where the first Americans have died from the disease. 

Schools have closed. Businesses are encouraging employees to work from home. Churches are live-streaming services online. And there’s been a run on necessities at Costco.

BASHAM: WORLD correspondent Jenny Lind Schmitt lives in King County, Washington, just outside Seattle. She joins us now to talk about what life has been like this last week.

Good morning, Jenny!


BASHAM: Give us a feel for what it’s like to be out and about in the community right now. Do you see a lot of people wearing masks? Are the streets and stores emptier than usual? I did see a picture that you posted on Twitter that showed a basically empty highway during rush hour. 

SCHMITT: Right, right. There’s definitely fewer cars on the road for the commute. There are some people wearing masks. Not too many. I think the people that are actually going out maybe don’t feel the need. Although some are. There are fewer people in stores. And there’s kind of an eerie feeling in the grocery stores. People are very—just going about their business not talking so much, not talking to the cashiers. And definitely trying to keep a little bit of a distance and trying to find that polite distance without being rude. But definitely kind of not wanting to be in someone else’s personal space. 

BASHAM: Last week, Costco ran out of toilet paper. That really stood out to me as a sign of panic. Have you seen other shortages? I know it’s hard to get hand sanitizer just about anywhere now.

SCHMITT: Right, definitely hand sanitizer. Any cleaning products that have disinfectant or spray or disinfecting wipes, those are just gone. They’re absent. The canned food aisle, you see a dent in it. Things like pasta, things that can last a long time, those have seen a dent. But there’s still plenty of food in the stores. But definitely anything cleaning related—even rubbing alcohol to make your own hand sanitizer, which I was looking into, that’s gone. That’s gone. 

BASHAM: How about people you talk to. Are people expressing concern? 

SCHMITT: Yeah. I would say most people are trying to find the balance between taking precautions and keeping safe and not taking unneeded risks, but also continuing on with life as normal as much as possible.

But anyone, when you stop and think about it, knows someone who’s part of that more vulnerable demographic that is elderly or has an underlying health concern. And when you think about that, that ok I might be fine, but I could pass this onto someone else it could be really detrimental, then you start thinking a little more about that and like ok how can I be a good neighbor? How can I care about people around me? 

BASHAM: It’s interesting. You bring up how can I be a good neighbor. It’s harder when you can’t go out and meet with people. So it makes me specifically think of churches and how the churches in the area are doing. Are they cancelling services? Are they curtailing normal weekly interaction?

SCHMITT: Yeah, about half I know of cancelled services this week and some cancelled indefinitely. The other half have decided to keep worship services but really everything else—youth group, prayer meetings, anything during the week—those are cancelled. My church did have services this week and I would say a quarter to a third fewer people were in the pews. And elders wore gloves to pass out communion. We didn’t pass around the offering plates. And, yeah, but for the most part there was an effort to carry on with life as normal and worship services as normal.

BASHAM: I’m seeing some interesting stories about how different Seattle-based companies are responding to the situation. What’s been your experience of that on the ground?

SCHMITT: Yeah, Microsoft—the biggie—is asking its employees to telecommute until further notice. But something they’ve done that struck me is they have said since the employees aren’t coming to the campus, all the hourly wage contract workers that work on the campus, they’re going to keep paying their hourly wage. Because otherwise they’re not needed—cafeteria workers, people in the cleaning of the buildings.

And then on the other side you see a company like Costco, their corporate offices are here and they said they’re not going to have the corporate people telecommute because the people that work in the stores, their retail employees, cannot do that. And so they want to have solidarity in their company. I thought that was another interesting take on the issue of telecommuting. 

BASHAM: Yeah, it’s interesting to see how much domino effect we see in this that you never think about until you’re in the situation. Well, Jenny Lind Schmitt is a WORLD correspondent who lives just outside Seattle in King County, Washington. Thanks for joining us today, Jenny!

SCHMITT: You’re welcome, Megan.

MEGAN BASHAM: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: caring for dementia patients. 

You know Alzheimer’s as the most common form of dementia. The disease encompasses a wide variety of conditions that lead to a decline in memory, language, and, eventually, physical abilities. More than 5 million elderly Americans live with these conditions.

NICK EICHER: And people in the know predict that number will triple by 2050 because of population growth. That’s a daunting prediction for both the aging and those who care for them.

So far there is no drug that can cure dementia, so researchers are developing more and more non-pharmaceutical treatments. WORLD reporter Sarah Schweinsberg now on the promise some of these treatments hold.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Doctors diagnosed 80-year-old Alice Gibbons with dementia six years ago. Now, Gibbons spends most of her time in her home sitting in a recliner watching TV.  


Caring for a person with dementia is hard work. Alice Gibbons’s daughter, Karie, is one of her caregivers.

KARIE: Her life right now. It’s get up in her chair, watch TV, eat, you know, go to the bathroom, go to bed. That’s all she does. 

That routine can leave Alice easily irritated. But Karie Gibbons says visits from county human services volunteer Jacki Lauritzen help. Lauritzen visits Alice twice a week so Karie can run errands.  

ALICE: Hi, friend, 

LAURITZEN: Hi, sweet lady. 

Alice Gibbons smiles up from her recliner when Lauritzen walks in. 

LAURITZEN: You’re silly. 

ALICE: No, I’m not. 

LAURITZEN: Yeah you are.

Lauritzen says she used to struggle to figure out what activities to do with a dementia patient like Alice. An activity that’s too difficult or too easy can leave both the patient and the caregiver frustrated. 

LAURITZEN: They do tend to get upset sometimes not at you, but to you, you know, cause they try to do something and they can’t and it makes them mad.

But now, Laurtizen has a go-to set of activities she knows Alice will enjoy.  

LAURITZEN: Last week we did a puzzle. We color, I have an adult coloring book that has cats. 

They also play dice, listen to music, and sing. 

LAURITZEN: I try to keep the humor, try to relate her to stuff that she’s known. 

These activities are a part of a therapeutic approach for people with dementia called the Tailored Activity Program or TAP. An occupational therapist designs activities that match a dementia patient’s abilities and their interests. 

For Alice Gibbons, coloring, games, and music connect with who she was before dementia: A librarian who loved playing with children. 

Dr. Laura Gitlin is dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She and her colleagues developed the program a decade ago. 

GITLIN: We kept hearing over and over again, you know, my mom just sits on the sofa and I don’t know what to do with her, you know, or, you know, my, my husband, I don’t want to take him out with me because you know, he can get agitated. And so I just, you know, keep him at home.

A 2017 study showed that a majority of patients who participate in TAP sessions reported fewer and less severe negative feelings. Feelings like apathy, agitation, and aggression. 

Now, as more Americans are diagnosed with dementia, TAP and other non-medication based treatments are gaining popularity. Options include music therapy, group dementia meetings, exercise, and reminiscence therapy. That’s where caregivers use photos and props to help jog a patient’s memory. 

These therapies don’t cure dementia, but Dr. Gitlin says coupled with medications, they can improve the lifestyle of both patients and caregivers. 

GITLIN: Families get a diagnosis of dementia and they are routinely told, you know, listen, there’s nothing that can be done. It’s really important that we focus on how we can help people maintain the best quality of life they can for as long as they can. And in our country, the focus has been so much on cure versus care that we have added extra burden to families. 

Dr. Marwan Sabbagh directs the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. He says there’s also a growing body of research that non-pharmaceutical approaches can help delay the onset of dementia after symptoms start showing up. 

SABBAGH: There is now sufficient body of scientific evidence to recommend, brain games, brain stimulation et cetera, uh, blood pressure management, physical exercise. So this pendulum is swung toward lifestyle targeted interventions. 

And Dr. Sabbagh predicts that even when there are better drugs to treat Alzheimer’s and dementia, lifestyle and brain therapy interventions will still be necessary. 

SABBAGH: The future of Alzheimer’s, either prevention or treatment will be a multi-targeted kind of a chemotherapy approach. It will not be one thing. It will be, you know, you’ll take your memory pills, you’ll take, do your exercise, there’ll be like 10 things you’ll have to do to manage your brain over the time.

Karrie Gibbons knows no drug or therapy will change the outcome of her mom’s dementia. But thanks to some dice, puzzles, and songs, their remaining time together can be that much sweeter. 

SINGING WITH ALICE: You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray…

For WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg in Ogden, Utah.

ED SULLIVAN: Ladies and Gentlemen: The Beatles!

NICK EICHER: And Beatlemania continues!

About 300 pieces of memorabilia from the Lads of Liverpool will hit the auction block in New York next month.

Up for bid will be autographed items, guitars and instruments, and some real oddities, like an ashtray Ringo Starr used at Abbey Road Studios. The smell cannot have improved in more than 50-years-time.

But you can also bid on a sheet of paper on which Paul McCartney scribbled the partial lyrics of “Hey Jude” during a recording session. That’s expected to go for close to $200,000. 

And perhaps the most unique item of all—a wooden stage the Beatles performed on before they made it to the Ed Sullivan Show. 

The auction scheduled for April 10th at New York’s Hard Rock Cafe.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: Today is Tuesday, March 10th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Coming next: The Olasky Interview

Since 2008 WORLD’s editor in chief has interviewed George Friedman seven times. He’s an international strategist and the chairman of the organization, Geopolitical Futures. Earlier this year Friedman spoke about a handful of international challenges—including Iran, Syria, and North Korea. Today we’ll hear what he had to say about China.

EICHER: It’s often described as an emerging world superpower, but China’s economy and infrastructure are in trouble. And the challenges surrounding the corona virus are making matters worse. How the U.S. relates to this military and manufacturing powerhouse is crucial, but perhaps China isn’t as strong as it wants the world to believe.

BASHAM: In this excerpt, Marvin Olasky begins by reading from a 2015 article by Friedman.

OLASKY: China. You write: “To the extent possible, the United States should relieve pressure on China by facilitating its exports to the United States. Now the past several years we’ve actually been very deliberately trying to make it harder. 

FRIEDMAN: The reason I say that was, look, China was in the process of rapid growth. But China’s also headed for problems, which is, if you grow too fast., you destabilize your economy. The United States had an interest at that point in not applying pressure, but obviously after that point, China had reached a point where he was coming apart, which most people don’t recognize. They don’t recognize it because they see China making all sorts of gestures—heroic gestures—but the Chinese economy is staggeringly weak. 

They claim it is going to grow at 6 percent, 7 percent, they actually don’t know how fast it grows, they have no way of knowing, but their banks, which is the first place you see problems. Those come because their loans aren’t repaid. And their loans weren’t paid because something is wrong with the business. So we’re now in a very different place than that. 

OLASKY: So, we tend to look upon China as so big, so strong, and so mighty, and you’re saying there are just enormous cracks

FRIEDMAN: It takes a long time for the media to adjust to reality. What China was up until 2008 was a raging export power. Capitalism always has a country that is a massive exporter at low rates. It used to be, in the 19th century, the United States. Now it was Japan, then China, but they all reach a dead end. And that dead-end comes when they desperately try to borrow money to make exports. They make enough money in the exports to pay off their debts, but they’re not making any profits. 

So you could have very large growth, like they did in Japan. These things are not very hidden. It’s not very sophisticated to see this. But the media falls into an interesting position where it puts a country in a particular place: China—economic miracle—will overtake the United States in five years. They never come back and notice it hasn’t overtaken the United States, even come close. They don’t notice that their ideas like “One Belt, One Road” are not happening. They stick with the basic un-nuanced belief. And that’s, you know, that’s the media.

OLASKY: But our tendency constantly seems to be to overrate, the difficulties we face in some ways another word so we know the United States, and we know all the divisions we have, etc., etc. when we look at Iran or China. We don’t see those, and so we tend to think “oh no, oh no…”

FRIEDMAN: During the Cold War, we vastly overrated Russia’s military capability. It was a wonderful thing we did, because by over rating it. We overmatched them. We over awed them. One of the values of the United States, is that it tends to overestimate its challenges, particularly foreign challenges. Tends to think more of them than they should. 

And as a result, they exert themselves enormously to deal with it. We may not remember in the 1980s, the Japanese were the China. 

OLASKY: Right.

FRIEDMAN: And the United States, made an enormous issue of its that we have to be more like the Japanese and build their economy. Well, we left them in the dirt. So I think that one of the strengths of the United States, compared to other countries, is where France always underestimates its enemies. We overestimate them. And we exert that energy. 

OLASKY: And we get worried…remember with Japan: “oh they’re buying up everything, buying Rockefeller Center, oh no, oh no.” Well, they overpaid.

FRIEDMAN: Why did they buy Rockefeller Center? The Japanese economy was doing so well. So, there’s a kind of strangeness in our thinking. But I’m not sure it’s vice. It makes us a very uncomfortable people to be around, or to be one of, in which everyone is always in some form of panic. But in fact, again I go back to the Cold War, the massive overestimation of Soviet capabilities.

OLASKY: But why then do we take these absurd claims so seriously?

FRIEDMAN: Well, this is like watching a baseball game, and not watching the game. By asking the guy in the next seat what’s happening. Right. Our problem is that we can’t see the world. It’s out there, you can look at it. You can judge for yourself. Alright? You can buy a guide to what’s happening. Okay, but the problem that we have is, we’re not interested in what’s happening in the world, far more than being influenced by the press. We’ve tuned it out. And that’s because the press has to show us the world either. 

OLASKY: I enjoy, to a great extent, your skepticism, cynicism, and so forth. But what hope do you have?

FIELDMAN: I hope is that the human race has lived through this so many times and excelled and continue to do so. But the hope is the very fact that we continue.

EICHER: That’s George Friedman speaking with WORLD’s Marvin Olasky. More of their conversation is available in the March 14th issue of WORLD Magazine.

NICK EICHER: Today is Tuesday, March 10th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Our managing editor J.C. Derrick now on the value of timely reading.

J.C. DERRICK, COMMENTATOR: At the start of this year I began reading the book J-Curve, by Paul Miller. He’s the same author who wrote A Praying Life a few years ago. 

The subtitle of the book is “dying and rising with Jesus in everyday life,” and it didn’t take me long to see why J-Curve was one of WORLD’s 2019 Books of the Year

Early on, Miller tackles a provocative reference in Colossians 1 when Paul says he is “filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.” 

Well, Christ’s death was “once for all” (Rom. 6:10), so how can His afflictions possibly be lacking? 

The answer lies in our ongoing need to come into union with Christ. When we suffer—as the Bible promises we will—we walk the road Jesus walked. 

No one illustrated this better than the apostle Paul. He didn’t just preach the gospel—he lived it. 

It’s a never-ending process we all experience: Dying, rising. Down, up. 

I’ve talked before about some of the difficult things I’ve faced in my life. Like being with my 17-year-old brother when he suddenly collapsed and died. 

At some point we all wrestle with the tension between God’s sovereignty and His goodness. Both are true at the same time. 

But that understanding only allows you to go so far. It helps us trust God and His unsearchable ways, but it doesn’t give purpose to our suffering. 

The J-Curve does that in spades. It helps you see that trials aren’t just something we have to endure; they are an invitation to come into union with Christ in a way we never could otherwise. They allow us to act out the gospel, dying to our own desires, plans, and reputation, rising with a deeper understanding of Christ’s suffering on our behalf. 

Not only is the J-Curve unhindered by seemingly undeserved trials that have no explanation, those are its primary application. This revolutionizes how you view suffering you can’t understand—actually giving you an element of excitement when you face difficulty out of your control. 

This is why Paul says in that same verse, Colossians 1:24, that he rejoiced in his sufferings.  

I can only describe the timing of my reading J-Curve as God-ordained. Within days of beginning it, my father-in-law went into the hospital. The next week, he died—less than eight weeks after being diagnosed with ALS. It was one of three memorial services for people close to us so far this year. During that same time span three close family members were in car accidents. My father-in-law was the first of four hospitalizations, too. 

And yet, amid those trials, our family also welcomed three new lives into the world in a span of 19 days. Two nieces and our own son, Reese Christopher. 

Dying, rising. Down, up.  

It’s a lot to process. But the J-Curve gives me a framework for it and a better sense of God’s work in our lives. 

That also makes it easier to join with Job in declaring: “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” 

I’m J.C. Derrick.

NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: Washington Wednesday. We’ll talk about the tussle over foreign intelligence surveillance.

And, we’ll meet a woman in Utah who helps keep skiers safe on the slopes.

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Nick Eicher.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

Peter reminds us to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand. Cast all our anxieties on Him because He cares for us. And at the proper time, He will exalt us.

I hope you’ll have a great rest of the day. We’ll talk to you tomorrow!

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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