FBBC and the Coronavirus
I am not a doctor or an expert on diseases. But with everything you may be hearing about a new coronavirus, I wanted to make sure to address some issues regarding the physical and spiritual health of both our homes and our church family.
What we know right now:
- There are different types of coronaviruses that we are already exposed to which cause mild illnesses like the common cold (e.g. human coronavirus 229E, NL63, or OC43).
- A new virus has been identified and is being called “SARS-CoV-2.” This virus causes the disease “coronavirus disease 2019” (COVID-19).
- Symptoms include: fever, cough, and shortness or breath, which can progress to pneumonia or kidney failure.
- Viruses are mainly spread person-to-person when someone inhales or ingests droplets from an infected person.
- Infected droplets usually come from a cough or sneeze but can remain on a surface (or skin) for a considerable length of time.
- Being within 6 feet of an infected person is enough to expose you but doesn’t guarantee you have been infected.
- Authorities believe you are most contagious when you are the most sick (strongest symptoms).
- You can spread the disease even if you aren’t showing any symptoms.
- The time between getting infected and showing symptoms (incubation period) can be anywhere from 2-14 days, but usually appear in 5 days.
- Those with the greatest risk of developing complications from a virus are those over 60 years of age with underlying conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes.
What you can do to protect yourself and others:
- If you are sick, or think you might be infected, the best thing you can do is stay home. You can also have the rest of your family stay home to be safe.
- If you need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue or the inside of your elbow, and then immediately wash your hands.
- Wash your hands often, especially after being in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- As best you can, try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces on a regular basis.
- Keep some distance between yourself and other people.
- Wear a facemask if you are sick or caring for someone who is sick.
What this means for FBBC:
- For now, our Sunday service are not going to be cancelled, but our collective reaction to any illness should be that of (1) common sense, (2) compassion, and (3) confidence.
- Common sense includes all of us doing our part to help slow the spread of germs (see the points above). We believe that God is sovereign, but in His sovereignty, He has also given us wisdom to respond to what is happening around us. Let’s not be reckless or ignorant.
- Every individual and family may respond differently to what they see and hear in the news, but we should all be marked by compassion and love for one another. For an emphasis on this principle, see Romans 14:1-4 for example, or listen to our sermon on that passage. Those who choose NOT to attend a service shouldn’t look down on those who DO (and vice-versa). The same can be said for a number of personal choices (wearing a mask, wearing gloves, not shaking hands or hugging, carrying around hand sanitizer, not leaving children in the nursery, etc.). Whether or not a member attends a church service, they are still part of our church, and we can all take steps to reinforce our unity in Christ. Also, be aware that God may bring people into your path so that you can show them the love of Christ (even if that means gifting your neighbor some toilet paper).
- While we remain in a spirit of prayer over what is happening, and those most directly affected, we should also maintain a spirit of confidence, knowing that God is watching over us. God has not guaranteed that none of us will ever get sick, but He has promised that He “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God” (Rom 8:28). As those who have a living hope, we should not be marked by panic or chaos.
Blessings in Christ.