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Religious Tolerance logo


 

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The worldwide Coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic.
Part 3.
2020-APR to June:

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This is a continuation of the previous article:

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2020-APR-17: Is six foot (2 meter) separation enough -- in church and elsewhere?

Numerous COVID-19 information sources have recommended that people stay at least 2 meters/6 feet apart to avoid sending infection to -- or receiving it from -- others.

Tina Hesman Saey, writing for Science News, commented about a man in Chicago who hugged two friends, later went to a funeral where he hugged others. Still later, he attended a family meal. He later found out that he had COVID-19.

Without realizing it, he had spread the pandemic to at least 16 people! Three of them later died!

Droplets of various sizes spread when a person exhales, talks, sings. or sneezes. The larger droplets (5 micrometers in diameter or larger) tend to drop quickly to the floor within a meter or two (3 to 6 feet). But studies have shown that air currents will often spread small droplets around the room and directly infect other people at larger distances. Very small droplets can travel up to eight meters (about 25 feet).

Also, many researchers now believe that the virus mostly spreads indirectly. One example is a person using their hand to cover a cough or sneeze, and then touches something like a door handle or cup. An uninfected person might later touch the same item and pick up the virus on their hand. Still later if they scratched their nose or eye, or ate some food with their bare hands, they might infect themselves.

Singing may also effectively spread the virus. Many members of the Skagit Valley Chorale in Washington State attended practices during 2020-MAR-03 and 10. This was before Skagit County, CA, had any known COVID-19 infections. They carefully maintained a six foot distance apart from other members. Donald Milton, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, said:

"A good singer knows how to use all the air in their lungs." 14

The result was that COVID-19 infected forty-five members of the Skagit Valley Chorale. That was most of the group. Two of them died!

California subsequently banned singing and chanting in the state's churches. 15 Their guidelines state:

"Places of worship must therefore discontinue singing and chanting activities and limit indoor attendance to 25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower."

Many faith groups in California cited Bible verses which specifically promote the gathering of Christians to sing. 16

  • One is Psalm 100:2: "Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!"

  • Another is Ephesians 5:19: "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord ..." 

This generated a very negative reaction from some religious groups who quoted the Bible verses. During mid July, three California churches sued Governor Gavin Newsom for infringing on their religious freedom.

Many sincere Christians belive that if a group of Christians gather to sing to the Lord, and to praise Him, that God will preserve them from the possibility of infection.

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2020-APR-30: Vietnam's success at controlling Coronavirus:

Vietnam is one of the success stories in the fight against the Coronavirus. The country has recorded only 270 confirmed cases of the virus,
among its 95 million people but has had no deaths!

Also, it has recorded no new new cases of the virus in almost two weeks. Meanwhile, the U.S. has experienced more deaths from the pandemic than it lost from two decades of fighting the Vietnam war: 58,220. That war ended 45 years ago.

Vietnam has began lifting the lockdown that it imposed during February by opening restaurants and barber shops in late April. 1

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2020-MAY-04: The number of texts to a federal mental crisis/distress line increase:

Texts to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's hotline increased by more than ten times during 2020-April, compared to the number in 2019-APR. The hotline offers crisis counseling to persons experiencing emotional distress. The increase was presumably caused by so many people in the U.S. were under lockdown because of the pandemic. There were 1,790 texts during 2019-April, and about 20,000 during 2020-APR.

The Washington Post reported:

Quarantined Americans are seeking help for domestic violence, mental illness and substance abuse at higher rates than normal. Dozens of states and locally run distress hotlines have reported sizable increases in call volume. Sales of alcohol are surging. Nearly half of Americans sheltering in place have reporteda worsening of their mental health.

New York Governor. Andrew Cuomo (D) said at a briefing:

"You have anxiety, depression, insomnia, loneliness, that feeling of isolation. We're seeing the use of drugs go up. We're seeing the use of alcohol consumption go up. This is a chronic problem.

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2020-MAY-28: Johns Hopkins University reported pandemic data from 188 countries and regions:

  • Confirmed cases worldwide: 5,727,629. This number started to increase rapidly in mid-2020-March and has been rising at a steadily increasing rate since early April, with no
    indication of levelling out.

  • They regularly update the data during the day.

Some countries with a large number of confirmed cases are:

  • U.S.: 1,700,350, including 29,484 in New York State, 11,339 in New Jersey.
  • Brazil: 411,821
  • Russia: 379,051
  • UK: 268,620
  • Canada: 88,996
  • China: 84,106
  • ....
  • Antarctica: 0 15

NBC News reported on MAY-17 about the trends in the number of new cases per day in different regions of the U.S., between 2020-MAR-01 and MAY-15:

  • Northeast: The number reached a peak of about 18,000 in early April and has declined steadily to about 8,000 by May-15.
  • South: The number reached a plateau of about 6,000 in early April and has been relatively constant since.
  • Midwest: The number reached a peak of about 10,000 in early May and has remained relatively constant since.
  • West: The number reached a peach of about 3,000 in early April and has increased gradually since. 2

There have been many deaths from the disease:

  • Worldwide: 356,279
  • U.S.: 100,467
  • UK: 37,542
  • Brazil: 25,598
  • Canada: 6,877
  • China: 4,638
  • Russia: 4,142
  • ....
  • Antartica: 0 3

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2020-JUN: Tennessee Church holds services in new church building. Coronavirus spreads among those who attended:

The Westmore Church of God in Cleveland, TN was holding drive-in services in order to reduce the spread of the pandemic. However, when their brand new church building was completed, they decided to celebrate with a service there. A large crowd attended. Photos did not show any parishioners wearing masks. In successive weeks, Lead Pastor Lekvin Page posted messages on the church's Facebook page announcing that some members had caught the disease. When the number of infected parishioners reached 12, they stopped counting.

He wrote:

"... the thing that I would have done differently is really stress” [wearing masks] ... A mask is something you’ve really got to take seriously. We have learned from this horrendous virus that we must do all we can do, all we can do, to protect our vulnerable."

Interviewed in a local radio station, he said:

"It's nobody's fault." 21

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This topic continues in the next article

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The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyper links are not necessarily still active today:

Webmaster's note:

I apologize for the following listing. They are hopelessly out of order. I won't be able to fix it for a while.

  1. Adam Taylor, "Vietnam offers tough lessons for U.S. on coronavirus," The Washington Post, 2020-APR-30, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
  2. Johns Hopkins, Center for Systems Science and Engineering,Coronavirus Resource Centre, "World Map," 2020-MAY-28, at: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/
  3. "Meet the Press: New Cases Per Day - Covid-19," NBC News, 2020-MAY-17, at: https://www.nbcnews.com/
  4. "Coronavirus map of the US: latest cases state by state," The Guardian, 2020-JUL-09, at: https://www.theguardian.com/
  5. "Coronavirus death toll in U.S. increases as hospitals in hot-spot states are overwhelmed," Washington Post, 2010-JUL-10, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com
  6. Matthew Herper & Damian Garde., "First data for Moderna Covid-19 vaccine show it spurs an immune response," Stat News. 2020-JUL-14,  https://www.statnews.com/
  7. Nina Bai, Still Confused About Masks? Here’s the Science Behind How Face Masks Prevent Coronavirus," University of California San Francisco, 2020-JUL-11, at: http
  8. Adam Miller and Alexander Panetta, "How Canada can avoid a U.S.-style COVID-19 crisis as it reopens," CBC News, "Second Opinion" newsletter, 2020-JUL-18, at: http://newsletters.cbc.ca/
  9. Amina Dunn, "As the U.S. copes with multiple crises, partisans disagree sharply on severity of problems facing the nation," Pew Research Center, 2020-JUL-14, at: https://www.pewresearch.org/
  10. Paige Cunningham, "The Health 202," Washington Post, 2020-MAY-04, via Email list.
  11. "Vaccines, Phase Four Stimulus, and the World's Most Innovative Companies," 1440 Daily Digest, 2020-JUL-21, via Email list.
  12. Dr. Jess Jones, "Recent COVID data reveal a lot of good news," Life Site, 2020-JUL-20, at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/Michael Foust, "Could a COVID-19 Vaccine Be the Mark of the Beast? – Hank Hanegraaff Answers," Christian Headlines, 2020-JUL-17, at: https://www.christianheadlines.com/
  13. Tina Hesman Saey, "2020-APR-17, "Why 6 feet may not be enough social distance to avoid COVID-19," at: https://www.sciencenews.org/
  14. Alexandra Meeks, "With a worsening pandemic, California bans singing in places of worship," CNN, 2020-JUL-03, at: https://www.cnn.com/
  15. Logan Sekulow, "Christians in California Can’t Sing this Sunday Because State Orders 'Places of Worship Must . . . Discontinue Singing," 2020-JUL-11. at: https://aclj.org/
  16. From the 1440 Daily Digest for 2020-JUL-28.
  17. " 'We don’t know’: AstraZeneca CEO says ‘unpredictable’ coronavirus may require annual vaccinations'," The Muslim Times, 2020-HYK-30, at: https://themuslimtimes.info/
  18. "The COVID-19 Brief, CTV News, 2020-JUL-29, via email.
  19. "Coronavirus (COVID-19) statistics," Bing, 2020-JUL-30, at: https://www.bing.com/
  20. "The Least You Can Do," "This is True" email, 2020-JUL-26.
  21. Robert Hutton, "A Picture Emerges of the Ideal Covid-19 Response," Bloomberg, 2020-AUG-06, at: https://www.bloomberg.com/
  22. Ed Young, "How the Pandemic Defeated America," The Atlantic, 2020-SEP issue at, https://www.theatlantic.com/

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Copyright © 2020 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2020-AUG-08
Author: B.A. Robinson

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