Many churches now are looking for ways to protect their congregations from the coronavirus, or Covid-19. While the threat of the sickness infecting any single American remains extremely low, the precautions may be more for peace-of-mind.
“Globally, about 3.4 percent of reported Covid-19 cases have died,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s director general, said at a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland. “By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1 percent of those infected.”
Those who have died have been primarily over the age of 60, in poor health, and with a history of pulmonary disease. In the US, almost half who have died were in nursing homes.
As of early this week, more than 90,000 people had been infected with the new coronavirus, with more than 3,100 deaths globally. “This virus is not SARS, it’s not MERS and it’s not influenza,” Tedros said at the news conference. “It is a unique virus with unique characteristics.”
Just 15 states have reported coronavirus cases but religious leaders have been responding as needed as the warnings against the disease grow more urgent. Instead of shaking hands during Sunday mass at St. Mary Catholic Church in southeastern Wisconsin, hundreds of parishioners, on the advice of their pastor, greeted each other with gentle bows for the sign of peace ritual, The New York Times reported.
Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, the Episcopal bishop of Indianapolis, announced changes to worship in a note to members, including a switch from ceramic chalices to metal in an effort to limit the spread of germs
In his sermon last weekend, the Rev. Matt Paul, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Port Angeles, Wash., discussed the coronavirus. When more infections were announced in his state on Monday, he said he was counting on scientists to develop a vaccine but noted that only God can save lives.
“Just the act of being together to worship is somewhat an act of faith and an act of risk,” he said. “We’re reminded of our humanity and the frailty of life.”
The CDC has tips for controlling the spread should it grow into a larger threat nationwide. You can access that information HERE.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice