NOTES, 31 MARCH
The plague spreads. The night darkens. The fears intensify. We are plunging evermore into the grip of a microscopic organism whose only will is procreation by any host possible. This is arguably the worst crisis in American (and world) history since the Second World War. No one wanted this. No one caused it. But, here we are. This is our hour. What matters now is how we, as individuals, nations, and collective humanity, respond to this emergency.
The numbers are grim. As of today, there are 801,400 cases of COVID-19 in the world. 38,743 people have died of it around the globe. In America, there are now 164,610 cases and 3,175 deaths. In South Carolina, there are 925 cases and 18 deaths while in Alabama, 947 cases and 11 deaths.
To give some perspective, just one week ago (Mar. 23) the U.S. counted 46,000 cases. That is a rise of 118,610 cases in one week, or nearly three times as many. In the week, SC went from 298 to 925 cases, three times as many. AL went from 196 to 947, four times as many. This trend is terrifying.
All signs indicate vigorous spread of the virus in the next few weeks at the very least. Predicting the future of this pandemic is very difficult, even for the great experts who deal with all the statistics all the time. On Sunday, Dr. Fauci said millions of Americans will become infected and between 100,000 and 200,000 may die. On yesterday, Dr. Birx said this is a "best case" scenario. She implied the numbers could be considerably higher. That should send chills up our spines. These are people who know what they are talking about.
Meanwhile, everything (most things) stays closed as is at least until the end of April. I suspect this will be extended to the end of May.
I think at the moment we need to concentrate on two things. One is to stay at home and otherwise practice social distancing. All the experts are in agreement this is the best thing we can do now to stop the spread. The second thing we can do is to see to it that our health care workers have all the equipment and support they need. They are our front line soldiers in this war. It is immoral and unethical to send these brave people into battle without all the material they need to fight this unforgiving enemy. If only our politicians would stop playing politics and unite to care for the care givers. At the very least, we church people should be praying for the strength, courage, and safety of the best among us right now. Without them, we will lose this war. Pray for all hospital personnel, from the CEO to the janitor, for the EMTs, for the police. We must have their backs.
I am interested in knowing what local churches are doing in this moment of emergency. Many churches are providing online church services. What about other activities? At my local church, we are keeping stocked the very popular free food pantry we have in our parking lot (a big box on a pole). Also, some church members are going down the roster calling each member just to check in and to ask if they need anything from the store, pharmacy, post office, or the like. What is your local church doing? Let me know and maybe we can pool ideas that others could use. We have to think long term. In SC and AL Episcopal churches are closed for the month of April. I would not be surprised if this is extended into May.
I hope this modest blog gives you a bit of support for the day. You, dear reader, are important to me. I would not be here otherwise. Around 500 people click on this space every day. I hope I am making at least a little difference for you.
Always remember we are here for the living of this hour. We did not ask for this. We did not see it coming. No one caused it. But, here we are and here is God with us. As I said, what matters now is how we respond to this crisis as children of God. Peace.