Author Topic: Coronavirus news  (Read 587891 times)

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #6015 on: January 20, 2022, 06:50:33 PM »
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D. Engebretson

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #6016 on: January 22, 2022, 03:47:51 PM »
Interesting article about the impact we are experiencing with shut-downs and other limits on worship in reaction to the pandemic.

Here’s Who Stopped Going to Church During the Pandemic
Recent research paints a grim picture for local congregations. But it also highlights opportunities.
Wendy Wang and Alysse ElHage|January 20, 2022
Christianity Today

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2022/january-web-only/attendance-decline-covid-pandemic-church.html?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=article&fbclid=IwAR39E5Np8fb7QyXGh8Mmb8pXGNRKXbhSp8ATW9qoD1pwHOrdZM3bYtUlr8w

“Most of the people who are not attending [services] are afraid,” he told us. “They are uncomfortable being around crowds.”...

In June 2021, the Associated Press broke a story that many houses of worship in the US had shuttered forever because of the pandemic.

According to data collected in April and May 2020 by Barna Group, one in three practicing Christians dropped out of church completely at the beginning of COVID-19. Moreover, church membership in the US dropped below 50 percent for the first time in 2020, according to Gallup data dating back to 1940...

“I am somewhat disappointed with how many are responding to this particular hour,” he said. “We’ve begun to justify closing our churches and going online. If you think that church attendance is down now, what do you think is going to happen as these same people hear ministers say that attendance is not necessary?” he asked. “Just sit there in the comfort of your home, and stream us, and that’s the same? I don’t think we can survive that kind of a thing.”...

He believes most people who haven’t come back are just not comfortable enough to attend in person yet,...

Moreover, a lack of in-person interaction could weaken the social bonds within churches as the pandemic prolongs.

As we know, religious service attendance is not only linked to having a better social support network, but also to several public health benefits—such as less depression, lower suicide rates, and less drug and alcohol overdoses. Online services, with people isolated at home, are unlikely to offer the same level of benefits.

There are also emotional costs for people who practice religion but no longer attend services. According to the Barna survey, respondents who stopped attending church during COVID-19 were more likely to feel insecure and anxious, compared to practicing Christians who didn’t stop attending services in person....

“I believe that the reason we have tremendous increase in suicides, depression, and mental problems is because the House of God is closed,” Wooden said. He believes the solution to the decline in church attendance is simple: more churches should get back to in-person fellowship, safely...




Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Charles Austin

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #6017 on: January 22, 2022, 05:34:52 PM »
“Most of the people who are not attending [services] are afraid,” he told us. “They are uncomfortable being around crowds.”...

Then I know a lot of Lutheran churches where they would feel comfortable.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

Dave Benke

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #6018 on: January 22, 2022, 06:04:54 PM »
Interesting article about the impact we are experiencing with shut-downs and other limits on worship in reaction to the pandemic.

Here’s Who Stopped Going to Church During the Pandemic
Recent research paints a grim picture for local congregations. But it also highlights opportunities.
Wendy Wang and Alysse ElHage|January 20, 2022
Christianity Today

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2022/january-web-only/attendance-decline-covid-pandemic-church.html?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=article&fbclid=IwAR39E5Np8fb7QyXGh8Mmb8pXGNRKXbhSp8ATW9qoD1pwHOrdZM3bYtUlr8w

“Most of the people who are not attending [services] are afraid,” he told us. “They are uncomfortable being around crowds.”...

In June 2021, the Associated Press broke a story that many houses of worship in the US had shuttered forever because of the pandemic.

According to data collected in April and May 2020 by Barna Group, one in three practicing Christians dropped out of church completely at the beginning of COVID-19. Moreover, church membership in the US dropped below 50 percent for the first time in 2020, according to Gallup data dating back to 1940...

“I am somewhat disappointed with how many are responding to this particular hour,” he said. “We’ve begun to justify closing our churches and going online. If you think that church attendance is down now, what do you think is going to happen as these same people hear ministers say that attendance is not necessary?” he asked. “Just sit there in the comfort of your home, and stream us, and that’s the same? I don’t think we can survive that kind of a thing.”...

He believes most people who haven’t come back are just not comfortable enough to attend in person yet,...

Moreover, a lack of in-person interaction could weaken the social bonds within churches as the pandemic prolongs.

As we know, religious service attendance is not only linked to having a better social support network, but also to several public health benefits—such as less depression, lower suicide rates, and less drug and alcohol overdoses. Online services, with people isolated at home, are unlikely to offer the same level of benefits.

There are also emotional costs for people who practice religion but no longer attend services. According to the Barna survey, respondents who stopped attending church during COVID-19 were more likely to feel insecure and anxious, compared to practicing Christians who didn’t stop attending services in person....

“I believe that the reason we have tremendous increase in suicides, depression, and mental problems is because the House of God is closed,” Wooden said. He believes the solution to the decline in church attendance is simple: more churches should get back to in-person fellowship, safely...


I receive a lot of Barna material; this is consistent and probably accurate in our Lutheran circles.  The movement of the article toward the solution of return to normal is unfortunate in my opinion, because it is and is going to be more complex than that.  And the Barna folks are basically committed to a hybrid concept, where a mix of in-person and online is going to be the way forward. 

I think the thing to do is to go with the hybrid option, and along the way determine how to maximize contact with those who are mostly online and in your neighborhood/town/county, even while upgrading the opportunities for Christian growth and experience for non-local onliners.

People online stay with you because of
a) the message
b) the prayer time
c) the music

The one of those three that best exemplifies "in person" is the prayer time.  And the chat function/text function/interaction with those online while taking prayers, even though in our case at least it is time-consuming, brings the prayers of the people to the fore whether in person or online for community and fellowship. 

Anyway, where this thing has made pretty much everyone anxious, here in NYC, we're looking past Easter for anything like the "old" fellowship. 

Dave Benke

peter_speckhard

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #6019 on: January 24, 2022, 01:37:11 PM »
https://www.joannejacobs.com/2022/01/no-school-in-flint/

How on earth is the school district spending $50,000 per student in federal Covid aid? Given the system’s woeful success rate at educating children, I think the money would be better spent just mailing each kid a check, not redeemable until the kid can read, write and do basic math. Incentives like that would make it happen.

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #6020 on: January 24, 2022, 03:40:41 PM »
https://www.joannejacobs.com/2022/01/no-school-in-flint/

How on earth is the school district spending $50,000 per student in federal Covid aid? Given the system’s woeful success rate at educating children, I think the money would be better spent just mailing each kid a check, not redeemable until the kid can read, write and do basic math. Incentives like that would make it happen.

$50,000/year/student X 13 years of school (K-12) = $650,000.  A nice, tidy sum for an 18-year old -- that would almost pay for 4 years of college!

D. Engebretson

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #6021 on: January 27, 2022, 09:52:54 PM »
Apparently yet one more variant of a variant is loose on the public, officially known as omicron BA.2, also known as the "Stealth Variant".  It's just as infectious, they claim.  And spreading fast. 

I suspect that this will keep the country on edge still longer, even as COVID numbers are tapering.  I suspect that it will mutate indefinitely.  At some point we will have to live with it and accept it's here to stay in some form or another, rising at times, declining at others.

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2022/01/27/1076123109/new-covid-variant-omicron-ba-2?utm_medium=social&utm_term=nprnews&utm_campaign=npr&utm_source=facebook.com&fbclid=IwAR3xkmzHB4_b78m_8VMUFnBGgD1rsKxQvBlbcN1-tlr2TMIBQMpS6E4veCI

Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #6022 on: January 27, 2022, 10:44:31 PM »
Apparently yet one more variant of a variant is loose on the public, officially known as omicron BA.2, also known as the "Stealth Variant".  It's just as infectious, they claim.  And spreading fast. 

I suspect that this will keep the country on edge still longer, even as COVID numbers are tapering.  I suspect that it will mutate indefinitely.  At some point we will have to live with it and accept it's here to stay in some form or another, rising at times, declining at others.

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2022/01/27/1076123109/new-covid-variant-omicron-ba-2?utm_medium=social&utm_term=nprnews&utm_campaign=npr&utm_source=facebook.com&fbclid=IwAR3xkmzHB4_b78m_8VMUFnBGgD1rsKxQvBlbcN1-tlr2TMIBQMpS6E4veCI


Ginning up more fear as "Primary Season" opens.

Or just in time to spoil yet another Pascha.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2022, 10:57:24 PM by J. Thomas Shelley »
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Charles Austin

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #6023 on: January 28, 2022, 04:25:20 AM »
J. Thomas Shelley writes (after posting a link to an NPR article):
Ginning up more fear as "Primary Season" opens.

I comment:
I'm missing something here. Fear of what? Another variant? See how the article concludes:
"So Chin-Hong expects the vaccines will likely provide superb protection against severe disease." (Including the variant, CA)
The quote continues "I have no guarantee that you won't get infected or possibly reinfected [if you've already had COVID-19], meaning that you might have the sniffles or feel like you have another cold, but I feel very, very confident that you would be protected from serious disease in the general population."
So....Doesn't sound like "ginning up fear" to me. (And why would NPR want to do that?)
More from NPR: "And Chin-Hong says that this distinction is critical for the future of COVID-19. Going forward, he says, communities need to shift their focus from stopping all infections to keeping everyone safe from severe disease and hospitalization."
And that means promoting vaccinations, making vaccinations available, and constantly countering the foolish words of those who minimize vaccinations or refuse to be vaccinated.
As for "primary season," meaning (I guess) Congressional elections: yes, for sure. We need to defeat any candidate allied with those who speak nonsense about vaccinations.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #6024 on: January 28, 2022, 09:41:14 AM »
I think that for some people this pandemic has forever altered how they will interact with the outside world.  During the past two weeks I have traveled a fair amount (more than I usually do), and it is interesting to see the wide disparities in how people or states react to the virus, especially in terms of masking.  I understand that at the beginning and then at its height (pre-vaccine) masking was the only protection and we simply had no institutional experience with a worldwide pandemic.  But as this has dragged on now for the better part of two years, and we have clear evidence that the virus' spread and effect is abating (both overseas and in our own country), I am concerned that regardless of all that some will never adapt to a world where they do not feel the need for extensive protection.  Some will forever be reduced to hiding from unseen germs, fearful of being too close to others indoors, masking at all times, well after the pandemic is declared an endemic.  Fear is the new pandemic in some areas, and the mental health fallout will continue to mount in the coming months and years.  Perhaps part of this is a reflection of an increasingly secular, non-Christian society that feels vulnerable and helpless in the face of dangers, real and imagined, without any sense of faith in a God who has control and power over all things.  Part of this may also be due to a fear of death, having no hope of anything beyond this life.  I am sorry that so much fear still lingers in the air.  But I am thankful for the many people I interact with daily who do not live in this shadow and continue to approach life in a balanced way understanding the risks, but determined nonetheless to live fully.   
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Dave Benke

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #6025 on: January 28, 2022, 10:40:40 AM »
I think that for some people this pandemic has forever altered how they will interact with the outside world.  During the past two weeks I have traveled a fair amount (more than I usually do), and it is interesting to see the wide disparities in how people or states react to the virus, especially in terms of masking.  I understand that at the beginning and then at its height (pre-vaccine) masking was the only protection and we simply had no institutional experience with a worldwide pandemic.  But as this has dragged on now for the better part of two years, and we have clear evidence that the virus' spread and effect is abating (both overseas and in our own country), I am concerned that regardless of all that some will never adapt to a world where they do not feel the need for extensive protection.  Some will forever be reduced to hiding from unseen germs, fearful of being too close to others indoors, masking at all times, well after the pandemic is declared an endemic.  Fear is the new pandemic in some areas, and the mental health fallout will continue to mount in the coming months and years.  Perhaps part of this is a reflection of an increasingly secular, non-Christian society that feels vulnerable and helpless in the face of dangers, real and imagined, without any sense of faith in a God who has control and power over all things.  Part of this may also be due to a fear of death, having no hope of anything beyond this life.  I am sorry that so much fear still lingers in the air.  But I am thankful for the many people I interact with daily who do not live in this shadow and continue to approach life in a balanced way understanding the risks, but determined nonetheless to live fully.

I favor the balanced approach as well, Don.  With a blizzard coming tonight, we will indubitably have way, way, way more people watching the livestream than in attendance in person.  25 for two services would be a blockbuster day given the NYC ability to clean streets and create parking spaces at the same time, which is nil.  Plus slick sidewalks, slips and falls and the like.  But we soldier on.  One of the vicars is preaching.

What were the rubrics on vaccination/masks/etc. at the recent Ft. Wayne Symposium?  That usually brings a wider audience to the fair Fort.  What did you sense to be the attitudes of the pastors and leaders assembled there with regard to the corona virus? 

Dave Benke

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #6026 on: January 28, 2022, 11:41:02 AM »
I recently was visiting my mother in the hospital. We had to wear a mask and had our temperature checked. Only one person was allowed in the room, and I was supposed to stay only 1 hour. (I was there for about 8 hours after I had an ambulance take her to the hospital.)


She's now in a rehab facility. The addition they have over the hospital as that they require o N95 or KN95 mask (which they will provide). Two people are allowed in a room, but we are only supposed to stay for 20 minutes.


My wife and I toured an assisted living facility. We were masked, but the guide spent an hour or more with us. We were able to talk with residents. (They were not quarantined in their rooms.)
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dave Likeness

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #6027 on: January 29, 2022, 01:41:06 PM »
The local parish is only as strong as its interpersonal relationships.
This was the point of view of church consultant Lyle Schaller.  This will
especially apply to congregations during the Covid 19 pandemic.  In
person worship on Sunday is the goal for vaccinated and masked folks.

The church is not a building, but people who gather together as the
body of Christ around Word and Sacrament.  Each parish must decide
how to encourage their members to return to in person worship and
take steps to make it easier for those who are hesitant.

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #6029 on: January 29, 2022, 06:01:35 PM »
https://brownstone.org/articles/lockdowns-did-not-save-lives-concludes-meta-analysis/

More and more data suggests the panic was just that— panic, and it didn’t do any good.