The worldwide Coronavirus
It may seem strange for this web site which is devoted to religious tolerance should have a section dicussiing the Coronavirus pandemic. However, there is a connection. Many people with a deep religious faith believe that if they attend religious services to praise and worship God, that God will protect them from becoming infected by the pandemic. Meanwhile, many state and provincial governments are banning large worship meetings. Many sincere religious persons feel that any ban is an unconstitutional restriction on their religious freedom.
The origin of the virus:
The Coronavirus was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China. It quickly spread throughout parts of China and then reached Japan. It later reached Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. It has continued to spread across the entire world, except for Antarctica.
It is often referred to as the “coronavirus disease 2019,” with the abbreviation “COVID-19”). 1
The symptoms of the virus:
The most common symptoms resemble those of the flu: dry cough, tiredness, and fever. In more serious cases, people have difficulty breathing.
Some victims have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, and/or diarrhea.
The one symptom that is very dood indicator of the Coronavirus is a loss of taste and smell!
Depending upon the public's access to health care and the quality of that care, the death rate varies from 2 to 5%.
During 2020, at least 35 research programs around the world were attempting to develop a vaccine for the virus, including at least six universities in Canada. However this was expected to take many months before one is developed, checked out, mass produced, and made available for general use. 2
By late 2020, a three companies had developed a vaccine. In early 2020-DEC, the first vaccines were being injected into people in England. The vaccine requires two injections, spaced two weeks apart.
2020-MAR-12: Is COVID-19 a form of punishment from God?
Joseph Shaw, writing for Life Site News, said: "God intends His punishments to be medicinal. They are to stimulate us to repent and help us grow in holiness."
"In nearly all cases, the response of bishops to the epidemic has been restrictive, public Masses being suspended in Italy being the most extreme, but the suspension of the Kiss of Peace or the Reception of the Chalice, at the less serious end of the scale, are now becoming widespread. All of these measures may, or may not, be justified; I do not have the expertise to judge. But what they have in common is that they are negative and reactive. ..."
"God is the Lord of history; not a sparrow falls to the ground without His consent. Of course the coronavirus is a punishment from God: all our sufferings are the consequence of sin; for us sinners, they are a just penalty for our sin; and God has complete control over what happens and how it affects us. Both testaments of Scripture are full of examples of this, and it is equally fully reflected in the liturgy..."
"... the punishment God sends us is a sign of love. God punished the Chosen People in the Old Testament more than other nations because He loved them more. ... "God intends His punishments to be medicinal. They are to stimulate us to repent and help us grow in holiness."
"... We should react to this epidemic not simply by cowering in our homes, but by responding as God wishes us to respond to danger and suffering: with filial trust in God, uniting our sufferings with those of Christ, and repenting of our part in the sins of society to which public calamities should always put us in mind." 6
The situation as of 2020-MAR-31:
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that worldwide there were:
- 801,117 confirmed cases of people with a Coronavirus infection;
- 38,540 confirmed deaths (4.3% of the confirmed cases);
- 190 countries, areas, or territories had known cases.
The WHO has placed a regularly updated map of the world showing countries with known Coronavirus infections and a list of the number of known cases by country, area and territory. However, 54 regions had fewer than 10 known cases.
Some researchers expected that the spread of COVID-19 will slow down during summertime. 2
Many pastors suspend in-person services; some do not:
The Coronavirus spreads easily among gatherings of people, as in church meetings. Many churches are suspending meetings and hold on-line services over the Internet. Others hold small meetings; for example, Pastor Robert Jeffress, held services at his First Baptist megachurch in Dallas TX during March, where gatherings of under 500 people were permitted at the time. Later, the church switched to online-only worship.
However, citing freedom of religion, some pastors have continued to hold large meetings in their church that violate state regulations. These included Rodney Howad-Browne of Tampa FL, and Pastor Tony Spell in Baton Rouge, LA.
""We have a mandate from the word of the Lord to assemble together. The first amendment says that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the exercise of religion." 3
Headline from the San Francisco Chronicle:
Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Adults over 65 years of age are at higher risk, particularly if they have a serious underlying medical condition. The CDC recommend that if they are infected, they should:
- Stay home if possible, and Isolate themselves from others in the same house if they feel unwell.
- Wash their hands often with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Do not touch any part of their face.
- Avoid close contact (less than 2 meters or about 6 feet) with others. That distance is about two arm lengths.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces with soap and water. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, counter tops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, computer mice, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc. Disinfect them with diluted household bleach solutions. Wear disposable gloves when cleaning.
- Avoid all cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
- Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying condition, or if you feel sick. 4
These recommendations seem worthwhile for persons of all ages. To be safe, it is best to stay at least 2 meters (6 feet) away from everyone not known to be free of the virus.
The World Health Organization has a great deal of information and videos on their web site at https:www.who.int They provide daily situation reports, globally and by country.
Later in the year, strong recommendations were made by multiple health groups that people always close the lid on toilets before flushing. Otherwise, flushing will generate a plume of aerosol particles that might contain viruses. They will linger in the air long enough for people to inhale them.
The 2020 Olympic Games have been postponed:
The XXXII Olympic and Paralympic games had been scheduled to be held in Tokyo, Japan during 2020-JUL-24 to AUG-09. However, the International Olympic Committee, the Japanese Government, and the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee together decided to postpone the games until 2021 because of the worldwide COVID-19 spread. Many athletes have been impeded in their personal preparations for the games because of the pandemic. Also, some governments have placed their nations in lock-down.
On 2020-MAR-24, the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee made the delay official. They issued a statement saying:
"In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the World Health Organization today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games, and the international community. ..."
"In a very friendly and constructive meeting, the two leaders praised the work of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and noted the great progress being made in Japan to fight against Covid-19." 5
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyper links are not necessarily still active today: 4
- "Novel Coronavirus (COVID) Situation, " World Health Organization, updated on 2020-MAR-23, at: http:\\who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- Cillian O'Brien, "Vaccine watch: These are the efforts being made around the world," CTV News, 2020-MAR-31, at: https://www.ctvnews.ca/
- Elvira Sakmari "Sunday Services Change as Churches Try to Stop Community Spread of COVID-19, NBCDFW, 2020-MAR-13, at: https://www.nbcdfw.com/
- "Disinfecting your home if someone is sick," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, updated 2020-MAR-17, at: https:///
- Jack DE Menes, "Olympics: Tokyo 2020 postponed until 2021 over coronavirus outbreak," Independent, 2020-MAR-24, at: https://nonindependent/
- Joseph Shaw, "Why coronavirus is a punishment from God that should lead to repentance," Life Site News, 2020-MAR-12, at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/
Copyright © 2020 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
All rights reserved for this and other articles on this website.
Latest update: 2020-DEC-12
Author: B.A. Robinson