Saturday, March 21, 2020


with update, 22 Mar.

According to the Post and Courier, Bishop Steve Wood has tested positive and is apparently suffering from a serious case of COVID-19. He is in the Intensive Care Unit of East Cooper Medical Center, in Mt. Pleasant, on a ventilator. No visitors allowed. The 56-year-old Wood is rector of St. Andrew's Church, Mt. Pleasant, and also bishop of the Anglican Church in North America's Diocese of the Carolinas. Find the article here .

The St. Andrew's Church website confirms that Wood has the virus. It also says that the assistant rector, the Rev. Anthony Kowbeidu, has tested positive for the coronavirus. Find the church page here . It gives this chilling statement: "If you received communion from Steve or Anthony at any time since March 6, you have definitely been exposed."

Channel 2 News is posting another report of this. Find it here . This says that three "leaders" of St. Andrew's have shown symptoms possibly of COVID-19. It also says the church sent out a letter to parishioners warning them of the situation. The people received the letter on Mar. 19, a week after Wood "felt sick" and self-quarantined. This article says that Wood was admitted to the hospital with a high fever and respiratory problems.

A few comments:
---A call for prayers for Wood and Kowbeidu.
(I am astonished at the deafening silence from Wood's friends as of this moment. As he lies gravely ill in the ICU, there is no mention of his present condition, let alone calls for prayers for his recovery, on the St. Andrew's website, the ACNA website, or the Anglican diocese of South Carolina's site. What gives?)
---This proves to us that early action is crucial in stopping the spread of this virus.
---This virus is highly contagious. Experts say it is two and a half times more contagious than the common cold. If I had had any contact with Wood or Kowbeidu in the past three weeks, I would self-quarantine but also get tested for the virus.

A suggested prayer (from the EDSC wesbite):

Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy. Sustain and support the anxious, be with those who care for the sick, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may find comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.


Need a "pick me up" story today? How about this bride-to-be who, forced to postpone her wedding, donated her flowers to a nursing home? Find it here .

UPDATE. March 22, 3 p.m.     The Rev. John Burley reported in the 9 a.m. livestreamed service this morning at St. Andrew's church (find it on the St. Andrew's website), that Bishop Steve Wood was still in the Intensive Care Unit and on a ventilator but with no fever. Burley said Wood was "stable" and that there was "no change" in his condition.

I remain amazed, and a bit bewildered, at the lack of public reaction to Wood's obviously very serious health condition. A person in ICU on a ventilator in unchanged condition is in physical danger. I should think at least his friends near and far would be actively calling for prayers for his recovery. So far, near silence. Burley's remarks this morning is the extent of anything I have seen. 

The communicants of St. Andrew's need to be concerned for their own health. Two of their clergy have tested positive for the coronavirus and one is having a serious bout of it. From what we have been told, Wood first began to feel ill on Thursday, March 12 and started a self-quarantine. He learned later that he was positive for the virus. The experts say a person can carry the virus for fourteen days before any symptoms appear.  

A week after symptoms appeared, on the evening of Thursday, March 26, church leaders sent a letter to the congregation about Wood's illness. Apparently, Wood was taken to the hospital the next day and to the ICU where he remains.

The bottom line is that the people of St. Andrew's should be vigilant about their health. We know this germ is highly contagious, two and a half times as much as the common cold. It may be that more people in the church will experience the symptoms of COVID-19. One should follow the guidelines of the experts at the CDC if one believes he or she may have the virus.

From all the evidence accumulating, people are having greatly varying experiences in terms of symptoms of this infection. Some people report mild effects, as a bad cold or a case of the flu. Others are reporting much worse effects. Obviously Bishop Wood's case is somewhere near the "worse" end of the spectrum or otherwise he would not be in ICU on a ventilator. 

The fact is that people are dying of the effects of this disease. Italy has the highest rate of mortality at 9 %. In the U.S. so far it is less than 2 %.

The coronavirus is spreading all around us at a quickening pace. Unfortunately, it has struck in one of the largest Anglican churches of the lowcountry. The people there should take every precaution with their own health as they pray for the speedy recovery of their two clergy battling the virus.