Author Topic: Coronavirus news  (Read 474076 times)

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4718
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5115 on: October 05, 2021, 09:12:42 AM »
After the Supreme Court of Wisconsin overturned our governor's "Safer at Home" order and his mask mandate, churches here were left to determine their own policies.  If they were anything like mine I would guess they simply left the choice to the people. When the governor's mask mandate was still in force I let people know about it, but was clear that I am not an agent of the state charged with enforcing it. At first some wore them, some did not. Once vaccine availability was widespread masks largely disappeared, except in a rare few cases.  Now with a 'surge' that seems to be coming, in large part, via non-vaccinated school-aged children, there will probably be a few who will cease coming to in-person worship if those around them will not consistently mask up. We made a deliberate choice, for the second year in a row, to not hold our annual Harvest Dinner due to the fact that it would put a number of people in a basement hall in close quarters while there is still a significant risk for such environments.  I mask when consecrating the elements and distributing the sacrament.  We still no not have a 'coffee hour' after church and I greet people outside rather than inside, weather permitting. 

I still haven't seen any substantial evidence that churches, in particular, are 'super spreader' environments for this virus, and yet I receive information of people who would go to a casino or other public gathering, yet will continue to avoid church. Based on what I am seeing locally you are more likely to contract COVID if you have young children in the elementary or high school system than if you do not.  Yet they are not going to close down our schools again.  They have weighed the risk of COVID against the damage they did by isolating the children in often largely ineffective remote arrangements.  It's a balance and it will continue to be.  COVID will not suddenly disappear.  It's here for a while. Probably quite a while, appearing and reappearing just like the annual flu.  Vaccines will continue to keep it in check, but we will have to find a way to live with the risk.  We cannot live perpetually behind a mask. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Dave Benke

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12731
    • View Profile
    • Atlantic District, LCMS
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5116 on: October 05, 2021, 10:03:35 AM »
Dear Bishop Benke-

I retract my hyperbole concerning the wearing of masks being greater in unchurched areas. After all, our church is still fully masked with the choir wearing $100 masks that allow them to sing better than regular masks. Yet, whether the mask-wearer is motivated by politics, fear, pride or germ theory I still sense a bit of theatre being played.

Peter(I wear mine only to be polite and not get yelled at; both motivators for much of my behavior)Garrison

I read you the first time saying that the $100 masks made the choir sing better than without masks.  If that were the case, money well spent.  We are a "make a joyful noise" choir in Brooklyn, which makes it easier. 

As to the substance, theatrics is a New York staple.  The bright lights of Broadway are like flame to moth for theatrics of all sorts.

Dave Benke

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13994
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5117 on: October 05, 2021, 10:29:28 AM »
Peter:
If the vaccines work, just get vaccinated and quit worrying about the unvaccinated.
Me:
Different context, Peter, and not related to my last posting.
The church we often attend has a wear-a-mask-inside policy, determined by the virus committee composed of medical people and others. My question is not about "worry," but whether we (or you or others here) have the guts to enforce such a policy.

Peter:
That's what I did and continue to do, and it works just great as an approach to life.
Me:
We have already agreed that your "approach to life" doesn't work for my life.

Peter:
Being afraid of getting a disease that you've been vaccinated against is an argument that the vaccines don't work all that well.
Me:
No, it isn't.
Retired ELCA Pastor: We are not a very inter-Lutheran forum. Posters with more than 1,500 posts: ELCA-6, with 3 of those inactive/rare and 1 moderator; LCMS-25, with 4 inactive/rare and 1 moderator. Non-Lutherans, 3; maybe 4 from other Lutheran bodies. 3 formerly frequent posters have gone quiet.

Michael Slusser

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 5389
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5118 on: October 05, 2021, 10:48:53 AM »
"Two Texas university employees asked students if they were vaccinated. They were fired weeks later."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/10/05/covid-delta-variant-live-updates/#link-3Y6CGFAXTNGM7HNOE4GBT2TTGQ
Quote
On move-in day in August, students in the Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities arrived at their dorm at Lamar University and were handed a blue slip of paper.

The form asked the students — gifted high school juniors and seniors from around the state — if they had been vaccinated against the coronavirus or if they planned to get immunized. With just a few exceptions, almost all of the nearly 30 students said they had already been vaccinated.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 18138
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5119 on: October 05, 2021, 11:18:52 AM »
We don't have a mask mandate in church. We do for visitors in the school. Our church's policy is in keeping with what other LCMS churches in the area are doing, and our school policy is in keeping with what other LCMS schools in the area are doing. But we don't employ any bouncers, so enforcement would be a trick. Luckily, it hasn't been much of an issue. We livestream the services, and some people stayed home when masked were required and other people have stayed home  now that masks were optional. So be it. People make their own choices, and it is not my task as a minister of the Gospel to judge such matters. When we had a section set aside (and well marked with signage) for people who agreed to remain masked throughout the service, and someone sat in it without a mask, I went over during the opening hymn and asked him to mask up or move to the other side of the church. He did so. Boy, do I have guts, huh? Another time the visiting volleyball team and their fans showed up without masks, but our policy was that masks were required for fans sitting in close quarters in the gym bleachers. So some of our parents showed up masked and expecting everyone to be masked and were surprised to see so many unmasked people in the gym. You know what they did? They either didn't worry about it one way or the other or stayed away from the unmasked people. Not ideal, but not a huge deal, either. The idea that people should get confrontational and show their gutsiness is pretty foreign to the goings-on in our LCMS setting. Opinions are strong and all over the map, but somehow people have managed not to get into any shouting matches or fisticuffs without me needing to be gutsy and enforce things.

And yes, if you get vaccinated and remain afraid of the unvaccinated, you are a living argument that the vaccines may work somewhat, but not all that well. If you can still get the disease, then other vaccinated people can, too, and they might infect you, which means (cue horror movie music) you will be in danger of getting this disease for as long as you live. In reality, you are less at risk from an unvaccinated person who has already had the disease than you are from a vaccinated person-- natural immunity is at least as effective, though not 100%. But the fact that you don't accept natural immunity as a safeguard shows you're really more about controlling people and approving or disapproving their attitude toward the pandemic than you are about safety. You seek to control random strangers when you should be seeking to control your own anxiety level. Read the Sermon on the Mount. Take common sense precautions and go about your life.

JEdwards

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 681
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5120 on: October 05, 2021, 11:21:28 AM »
I still haven't seen any substantial evidence that churches, in particular, are 'super spreader' environments for this virus, and yet I receive information of people who would go to a casino or other public gathering, yet will continue to avoid church.
I happened to attend a Catholic mass the weekend after the RC bishops of Ohio decided to reimpose the Sunday obligation.  In announcing it to the congregation at the end of mass, the priest said something along the lines of "It has always been the case that no one is bound by the Sunday obligation who has legitimate concerns for his own health or the health of others.  If this is the case for you, I would assume that you are not going to restaurants or ball games, either."

Peace,
Jon

peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 18138
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5121 on: October 05, 2021, 11:28:53 AM »
From the article:

Hodge and Corwin said they tried to broach the subject of safety protocols with the new dean overseeing their program but got a lukewarm response.

So the day before their students were set to arrive, the two hatched the idea of the blue slips. Corwin printed them off, and Hodge handed them out with other check-in paperwork.

“Not a single student balked when we gave it to them,” he said.

Hodge noted that Lamar students are required to submit proof of vaccination against bacterial meningitis or a medical exemption form.

“We ask them about all kinds of vaccinations,” Corwin told The Post.

But the dean, who learned about the blue slips after Hodge emailed her with the results, wasn’t happy that the two had collected information on students’ coronavirus vaccination status, Hodge and Corwin said. The two told The Post they had a couple of meetings with her, during which she expressed her unhappiness. Then, days later, the associate provost and, inexplicably, the school’s chief of police showed up to collect the vaccination slips.


After a handful of interviews with university higher-ups, Hodge and Corwin said they were fired on Sept. 13. Corwin had worked for the program since 2005 and Hodge since 2013.


So it appears these two were not carrying out the will of their supervisor but were acting on their own and collecting medical information they had not been asked or authorized to collect. That's not a recipe for a well-run organization.


David Garner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7545
    • View Profile
    • For He is Good and Loves Mankind
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5122 on: October 05, 2021, 11:29:55 AM »
We don't have a mask mandate in church. We do for visitors in the school. Our church's policy is in keeping with what other LCMS churches in the area are doing, and our school policy is in keeping with what other LCMS schools in the area are doing. But we don't employ any bouncers, so enforcement would be a trick. Luckily, it hasn't been much of an issue. We livestream the services, and some people stayed home when masked were required and other people have stayed home  now that masks were optional. So be it. People make their own choices, and it is not my task as a minister of the Gospel to judge such matters. When we had a section set aside (and well marked with signage) for people who agreed to remain masked throughout the service, and someone sat in it without a mask, I went over during the opening hymn and asked him to mask up or move to the other side of the church. He did so. Boy, do I have guts, huh? Another time the visiting volleyball team and their fans showed up without masks, but our policy was that masks were required for fans sitting in close quarters in the gym bleachers. So some of our parents showed up masked and expecting everyone to be masked and were surprised to see so many unmasked people in the gym. You know what they did? They either didn't worry about it one way or the other or stayed away from the unmasked people. Not ideal, but not a huge deal, either. The idea that people should get confrontational and show their gutsiness is pretty foreign to the goings-on in our LCMS setting. Opinions are strong and all over the map, but somehow people have managed not to get into any shouting matches or fisticuffs without me needing to be gutsy and enforce things.

And yes, if you get vaccinated and remain afraid of the unvaccinated, you are a living argument that the vaccines may work somewhat, but not all that well. If you can still get the disease, then other vaccinated people can, too, and they might infect you, which means (cue horror movie music) you will be in danger of getting this disease for as long as you live. In reality, you are less at risk from an unvaccinated person who has already had the disease than you are from a vaccinated person-- natural immunity is at least as effective, though not 100%. But the fact that you don't accept natural immunity as a safeguard shows you're really more about controlling people and approving or disapproving their attitude toward the pandemic than you are about safety. You seek to control random strangers when you should be seeking to control your own anxiety level. Read the Sermon on the Mount. Take common sense precautions and go about your life.

I heard through the social media grapevine that there is a thought that the vaccines exacerbate the continuation of variants.  I thought about it a bit, and it occurred to me, since there are breakthrough infections, and the symptoms are mild, the reality is being vaccinated is the best of both worlds.  We are protected from the most serious consequences of the disease, and yet it can still be contracted and spread, which gives natural immunity.

Because the absolute best status in terms of protection of self and others is natural immunity plus inoculation.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4718
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5123 on: October 05, 2021, 11:37:12 AM »
Nothing is going to protect us completely. Nothing is fool-proof. Vaccines, we were told, would protect us from the more adverse and life-threatening aspect of COVID-19, but not necessarily from contracting the virus. These were called "breakthrough infections."  Masks, were were told, would protect us from air-borne droplets that may be from an infected person.  Yet, vaccinated people become infected, and those who seem to venture out minimally with masks in tow get infected.  As noted here before we are all aware that many people wear masks inadequately.  Letting your nose hang out hardly seems to fulfill the purpose of the mask. Then there is the quality of the mask.  Fabric ones offer substantially less protection (although are among the most used, I suspect) than the industry standard N95 or KN95.  Soiled masks provide other risks with trapped bacteria inhaled and re-inhaled.  Masks of multiple layers may increase the CO2 and lower the actual oxygen one inhales, thus presenting problems.  Without a 'mask standard' it seems nigh near impossible to really offer substantial assurances.  Yet we were told early on to avoid the N95s to keep supplies available for front line workers.  Those with N95 or KN95 masks are very rare in the outside world.  At least where I live.

Again, risk remains and we must live with it.  If a person is risk-adverse, then they should stay at home and accept the severe limitations that come with that choice.  Just as there are anticipated limits expected for those choosing to remain unvaccinated, there will be limits even for the vaccinated and masked as they must navigate the realities of a world of limited compliance with our expectations.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 43496
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5124 on: October 05, 2021, 12:25:18 PM »

Re the subject:
The vaccines work.
Wearing masks help.
The unvaccinated must restrict their comings and goings and might lose their jobs.
It is within the right of our communities - church, school, workplace, civil order - to regulate such things.
If the committee at your church which oversees the health of the congregation says masks must be worn at worship, do you turn away someone who defiantly refuses? You should.
If the vaccines work, just get vaccinated and quit worrying about the unvaccinated. That's what I did and continue to do, and it works just great as an approach to life. Being afraid of getting a disease that you've been vaccinated against is an argument that the vaccines don't work all that well.


The vaccines work very well in keeping people out of the hospital and morgue. They work less well in preventing people from getting COVID-19 or passing on the virus; but even "less well" is better than no vaccine. We don't live in a black and white world; rather it's a world with many shades of gray.
"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]

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 43496
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5125 on: October 05, 2021, 12:27:50 PM »
After the Supreme Court of Wisconsin overturned our governor's "Safer at Home" order and his mask mandate, churches here were left to determine their own policies.  If they were anything like mine I would guess they simply left the choice to the people. When the governor's mask mandate was still in force I let people know about it, but was clear that I am not an agent of the state charged with enforcing it. At first some wore them, some did not. Once vaccine availability was widespread masks largely disappeared, except in a rare few cases.  Now with a 'surge' that seems to be coming, in large part, via non-vaccinated school-aged children, there will probably be a few who will cease coming to in-person worship if those around them will not consistently mask up. We made a deliberate choice, for the second year in a row, to not hold our annual Harvest Dinner due to the fact that it would put a number of people in a basement hall in close quarters while there is still a significant risk for such environments.  I mask when consecrating the elements and distributing the sacrament.  We still no not have a 'coffee hour' after church and I greet people outside rather than inside, weather permitting. 

I still haven't seen any substantial evidence that churches, in particular, are 'super spreader' environments for this virus, and yet I receive information of people who would go to a casino or other public gathering, yet will continue to avoid church. Based on what I am seeing locally you are more likely to contract COVID if you have young children in the elementary or high school system than if you do not.  Yet they are not going to close down our schools again.  They have weighed the risk of COVID against the damage they did by isolating the children in often largely ineffective remote arrangements.  It's a balance and it will continue to be.  COVID will not suddenly disappear.  It's here for a while. Probably quite a while, appearing and reappearing just like the annual flu.  Vaccines will continue to keep it in check, but we will have to find a way to live with the risk.  We cannot live perpetually behind a mask.


Perhaps churches aren't super spreaders because few of our congregation have people packed close together in the pews.
"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]

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 11788
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5126 on: October 05, 2021, 12:44:44 PM »

Re the subject:
The vaccines work.
Wearing masks help.
The unvaccinated must restrict their comings and goings and might lose their jobs.
It is within the right of our communities - church, school, workplace, civil order - to regulate such things.
If the committee at your church which oversees the health of the congregation says masks must be worn at worship, do you turn away someone who defiantly refuses? You should.
If the vaccines work, just get vaccinated and quit worrying about the unvaccinated. That's what I did and continue to do, and it works just great as an approach to life. Being afraid of getting a disease that you've been vaccinated against is an argument that the vaccines don't work all that well.

The vaccines work very well in keeping people out of the hospital and morgue. They work less well in preventing people from getting COVID-19 or passing on the virus; but even "less well" is better than no vaccine. We don't live in a black and white world; rather it's a world with many shades of gray.

Brian,

That's one of the most responsive and relevant posts you've made. Thank you!
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it’s not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

James S. Rustad

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1071
  • μολὼν λαβέ
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5127 on: October 05, 2021, 12:46:24 PM »
Now with a 'surge' that seems to be coming, in large part, via non-vaccinated school-aged children, there will probably be a few who will cease coming to in-person worship if those around them will not consistently mask up.

What "surge" are you talking about?  Something local maybe?  CDC statistics show a peak near the end of August with cases dropping nationally since then.
https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#demographicsovertime

Giving the timing of the peak, I doubt school kids had much to do with it.

Michael Slusser

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 5389
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5128 on: October 05, 2021, 01:27:45 PM »
From the article:

Hodge and Corwin said they tried to broach the subject of safety protocols with the new dean overseeing their program but got a lukewarm response.

So the day before their students were set to arrive, the two hatched the idea of the blue slips. Corwin printed them off, and Hodge handed them out with other check-in paperwork.

“Not a single student balked when we gave it to them,” he said.

Hodge noted that Lamar students are required to submit proof of vaccination against bacterial meningitis or a medical exemption form.

“We ask them about all kinds of vaccinations,” Corwin told The Post.

But the dean, who learned about the blue slips after Hodge emailed her with the results, wasn’t happy that the two had collected information on students’ coronavirus vaccination status, Hodge and Corwin said. The two told The Post they had a couple of meetings with her, during which she expressed her unhappiness. Then, days later, the associate provost and, inexplicably, the school’s chief of police showed up to collect the vaccination slips.

After a handful of interviews with university higher-ups, Hodge and Corwin said they were fired on Sept. 13. Corwin had worked for the program since 2005 and Hodge since 2013.


So it appears these two were not carrying out the will of their supervisor but were acting on their own and collecting medical information they had not been asked or authorized to collect. That's not a recipe for a well-run organization.
Clearly they were far too independent when they couldn't get the dean to address the problem.
Quote
In conversations with the dean, Hodge said he wanted to be prepared for a worst-case scenario. He and his colleagues who run the program essentially act as parents in absentia for the mostly 16- and 17-year-old participants, making sure they are safe in their dorm rooms each night, caring for them in sickness, and even taking them to urgent care or the emergency room if needed.

“I could foresee a situation with an incapacitated student where I couldn’t reach a parent and a doctor is asking me if they’re vaccinated,” Hodge told The Washington Post.

But Hodge said the dean seemed “peeved” by the blue slips, which he and a colleague, counselor Karen Corwin, had conceived. After meetings with school administrators, Hodge and Corwin told The Post they were summoned to the university’s human resources office in mid-September and summarily terminated.
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

Randy Bosch

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 533
    • View Profile
Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5129 on: October 05, 2021, 01:38:46 PM »
Perhaps churches aren't super spreaders because few of our congregation have people packed close together in the pews.

Sadly true.  Perhaps some will use that truth to justify lower attendance at their congregation.

Even less likely to be a super-spreader is "The Soft Prison of the Home" (from England's ArtAngel cooperative's exhibition), referring to the lockdown cell syndrome.