When will it be safe for people to gather in public once again? According to scientists and other experts, not anytime soon. The best option is to wait until a vaccine is available, which is a long way off. The risky option is to wait until the worst of the virus effects are behind us so that we can at least mitigate harm.
As a New York Times piece stated over the weekend:
Reopening requires declining cases for 14 days, the tracing of 90 percent of contacts, an end to health care worker infections, recuperation places for mild cases and many other hard-to-reach goals.
“We need to reopen the faucet gradually, not allow the floodgates to reopen,” [former director of the C.D.C.] Dr. [Thomas R.] Frieden said. “This is a time to work to make that day come sooner.”
Right-wing Christians, however, don’t give a damn about any of that. The people who routinely reject science and treat it as the enemy of faith are now urging people to meet for in-person church services without any consideration of those factors.
The Christian hate group Liberty Counsel just launched an effort for all churches to re-open on Sunday, May 3 — the same week as their annual National Day of Prayer — as if the virus operates on their religions timetable.
After weeks of being closed due to the Coronavirus, Liberty Counsel is calling on the churches to open and believers to start meeting again on Sunday, May 3, which is being called ReOpen Church Sunday. May 3 is also the beginning of the National Day of Prayer week, which culminates on Thursday, May 7.
ReOpen Church Sunday should include appropriate measures of sanitization and appropriate social distancing between families. Churches may also consider reopening with a variety of service options, which may a combination of: (1) reduced seating inside the church; (2) parking lot services for those who cannot get or do not want to participate inside the church; and (3) online service for those who are unable to attend or who are in a higher risk category due to age or predisposed health conditions.
Regardless of what precautions are taken, the obvious worry is that people will still break the rules. How the hell can you have dozens of people in a church — who haven’t seen each other in months — without people “accidentally” hugging each other, talking at close distances, rubbing up against each other, spreading the virus in inadvertent ways, etc? It’s virtually impossible. That’s not even a knock on churches; that’s true just about anywhere. If public schools opened back up that same week, you know students would break every social distancing rule there is.
Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, whose stellar judgment includes representing Christian bigot Kim Davis as well as COVID-defying pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, claims churches “must reopen to meet the burgeoning needs of the community.”
You know what communities need? Safety. But Staver doesn’t care about who carries the virus, who gets sick, or who dies. As long as he can claim he’s on the side of churches, that’s all that matters.
It’s telling that his website doesn’t include any testimonials from medical workers or epidemiologists saying, “Yep, this is a great idea.” That’s because, unlike right-wing Christians, their concern is making sure people are healthy.
I wish we could all gather as early as May 3. We can’t. The virus won’t be defeated by then, and the legitimate concerns over its spread will still be ever-present. Attending church in person is not the same as getting groceries. You can’t livestream your meals but you sure as hell can watch a sermon from home. So stay inside. It’s not safe to come out yet.
(via Joe. My. God.)