I don’t often listen to the radio, but I was bored on the drive home this morning so tuned in to a talk radio station (don’t ask me which – I don’t know), and the host shared some interesting stats on COVID for Tennessee. I’ve not vetted these numbers, but they sound right.
The mortality rate for COVID remains around 1%. That’s good news. But, the fact that you’re not likely to die of COVID is no reason not to take it seriously. Here’s one reason why:
3% of those infected with COVID in Tennessee require hospitalization. That doesn’t sound like much, but that represents a lot of people, and a lot of occupied hospital beds. The host mentioned that only 8% of ICU beds in Tennessee remain open and available, so many are already occupied by COVID patients. So, even if you’re not likely to die of COVID, you don’t need to get sick and risk being hospitalized, possibly requiring an ICU bed that is needed by someone else, or may not even be available for you. The host reported that in Houston, hospitals are erecting tents to place the overflow of patients admitted with COVID.
66% of those who die of COVID are over 60 years old. So, if you’re young, your less likely to die of COVID. But, I’m sixty, and I have chronic kidney disease and low vitamin D levels (because of my kidney disease), all of which put me at higher risk of serious consequences should I get infected. So, I sure don’t want to get COVID and would appreciate it if people took it seriously.
The host went on to report on the Nashville School District requiring masks for children and was upset that the School District was not going to respect religious exemptions to students wearing masks. You could get a medical exemption, he said, but not a religious exemption, and he didn’t think that was right and wondered how the schools could get away without considering religious exemptions.
Okay, while I’m pretty well informed about Catholicism, I admit I’m not so well informed about other religions, even some other Christian denominations. But, are there any religions out there that forbid their adherents from wearing masks, especially to help reduce the spread of a serious virus? On what basis would someone claim a religious exemption from wearing a mask to prevent the spread of a virus? Sounds to me like someone just looking for any excuse they can come up with to refuse to wear a mask, either because they don’t believe they’re effective, they find them annoying and uncomfortable (who doesn’t?), or they just want to thumb their nose at the government.
I’m not big on mandates. I think it would be wonderful if the human community cared enough about each other to do the simple things asked of us to reduce the spread of the virus without government feeling the need to enact mandates. I got vaccinated, but I respect your right not to be vaccinated. I don’t wear a mask everywhere, but I respect your right to do so, and appreciate your consideration of others. Given the surge of COVID cases, however, I’ll prolly go back to wearing a mask most places.
I fully admit, too, that our medical and political leaders have done nearly everything they could to decrease the confidence of the American people in whatever actions they recommend. Their recommendations have been so all over the place, so counter-intuitive, so confusing, and their own actions so hypocritical that there’s no wonder people simply don’t trust them anymore. Which is a shame. If we ever needed to have confidence in our medical experts and in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s now. If we ever needed to be convinced that our political leaders were willing to set aside partisan differences and priorities for the sake of the greater good, it’s now. Sadly, they’ve all failed in this regard. They have only themselves to blame.
But, even in the midst of all the confusion and political shenanigans and machinations, a basic message has gotten through with some common sense strategies verified by the research and the results of actions taken:
We need to focus on protecting those who are most vulnerable – the elderly and those with co-morbidities.
Wear a mask in public places and large gatherings.
Social distance as much as possible.
Wash your hands.
Lockdowns represent a cure that is worse than the disease.
Open the schools.
None of these actions are especially difficult. None of them ought to require a mandate. They simple require common sense and common courtesy. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other. That’s not too much to ask.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.