It’s getting downright biblical out there.
With a deadly virus spanning the entire globe, maybe it’s time to take a look at the 10 plagues of Egypt, from the biblical book of Exodus to see how we’re doing.
1. Water to blood: Check.
Lake Meke in Turkey’s central Konya province has dried up and the few remaining puddles in the lakebed have turned red due to the microorganisms present. In Naro-Fominsk, Russia, the Gvozdnya River also turned red after an unknown spillage. “One online comment said pollution had caused a ‘blood river’ at the location, some 50 miles southwest of Moscow,” Britain’s Daily Star wrote.
Want more? A lake in the Mexican village of Chichimequillas suddenly turned bright pink. Officials say it might be a combination of sodium, unusual bacteria and gunpowder chemicals, but obviously, it’s plague 1 of the Bible. Closer to home, Lake Salubria (which means “good health”) in Bath, New York, also recently turned red.
2. Frogs: Check.
In the English town of Chesterfield, frogs are frightening people by emerging through sinks and drains — and sometimes just lurking on the sides of toliet bowls.
In Florida, toxic toads are invading homeowners’ yards. Cane toads ooze a milky, toxic substance called bufotoxin, which is deadly to cats and dogs if they bite, sniff or lick the giant toads. The toxin is also dangerous for humans, and people should wear gloves and protective gear when disposing of the toads, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“When we all open our front door, it’s not 100 — you’re talking thousands of these little baby frogs,” Palm Beach Gardens resident Carollyn Rice told TV station WPTV, Channel 5.
3. Lice / gnats. Check.
A few months ago, a lice infestation hit Washington State University in Pullman, east of Seattle. Lice also popped up in a public school system in Quincy, Massachusetts.
As for gnats, yeah, they’re here, too. “Outbreak of biting gnats, black flies in Baton Rouge,” said a recent headline from WBRZ-TV.
“Unfortunately, they can’t be controlled with the spraying of insecticides designed to control mosquitoes,” according to a statement from the East Baton Rouge Parish Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control Center.
4. Wild beasts. Check.
Rabbis have interpreted the word for the Fourth Plague — arov — to mean either wild animals, hornets or mosquitoes.
Let’s jump right to hornets. Giant hornets were spotted for the first time in America in December — another gift from Asia, like the coronavirus. The hornets kill upwards of 50 people in China and Japan each year, and they also attack honeybees, which pollinate the fruits and vegetables we eat.
Scientists fear the hornets, like the stink bugs that emerged in the U.S. several years ago, will soon sweep the nation (again, like the coronavirus).
The Bible also says hordes of wild animals were roving all over the country. And with humans hunkered down, they are.
“Animals have started taking advantage of cities as they enter lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic. From New Delhi, India, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, groups of animals including deer and lemurs have started to come out to explore — in search of food or just to play,” The Guardian wrote.
5. Pestilence. Check.
“The hand of the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field,” says plague 5.
“COVID-19 may force farmers to kill, throw away livestock,” the Detroit Free Press wrote this month. “Lost demand with the closure or significant slowdown of restaurants, and COVID-19 outbreaks at meat packing plants nationwide, where employees work closely together, have slowed meat processing to a trickle,” the article said.
“Millions of farm animals culled as U.S. food supply chain chokes up,” writes The Guardian.
“Covid-related slaughterhouse shutdowns in the U.S. are leading to fears of meat shortages and price rises, while farmers are being forced to consider ‘depopulating’ their animals,” the piece said.
6. Boils. Not yet.
“Festering boils will break out on men and animals throughout the land,” says plague 6. That hasn’t happened yet.
So perhaps, something to look forward to.
7. Hail. Check.
“At this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt,” says plague 7.
“Large Hailstorm Hits Northeast of Wichita, KS,” said one report. “Storm dumps hail deep enough to plow in Augusta County” in Virginia, said another.
“Marionville, Mo. orchard damaged by Sunday’s hailstorm,” said a third. That’s a twofer — hail and pestilence. “Tennis ball size hail hits areas of Northwest Arkansas early Monday,” said a fourth.
So, we got hail.
8. Locusts. Check.
“Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow,” says plague 8.
“They’re back: Trillions of locusts descend on East Africa in second wave,” The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
“Two new generations of locusts are set to descend on East Africa again — 400 times stronger,” QZ.com reported.
So, big check mark for locusts.
9. Darkness for three days. Sort of.
“Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days,” plague 9 says. That hasn’t happened, but then Exodus says: “No one could see anyone else or leave his place for three days.”
Well, we’ve all been hunkered down for weeks or months, so this one is kinda happening. And there have been power outages amid the lock down. “Residents deal with power outage on top of COVID-19 isolation,” ABC-7 in California wrote last month.
“COVID-19 Threatens Outages Scheduled at 97% of U.S. Nuclear Sites in 2020,” PowerMag wrote last month.
10. Death of first-born. NO!
Finally, some good news. This one hasn’t happened so far, but the Mayo Clinic says, “Although rare, children under age 1 (infants) are at higher risk of severe illness with COVID-19. This is likely due to their immature immune systems and smaller airways, which make them more likely to develop breathing issues with respiratory virus infections.”
But aren’t the elderly really our “first born,” our parents and grandparents? The fatality rate for them is far higher than for any age group.
Of course, we don’t really think COVID-19 is bringing the 10 Plagues, buy maybe — just maybe — it’s time for all of us to brush up on the Bible. We’ve got the time — as long as the power stays on.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @josephcurl.