Author Topic: Coronavirus news  (Read 648057 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5715 on: December 13, 2021, 11:05:51 AM »
So, if I am understanding some of you, Omicron is here and everything is hunky-dory. It's no big deal—a minor inconvenience like a head cold.
And when the next variant comes around?...
I am going to continue to wear my mask in public places even though I have been vaccinated twice with the third as a booster. COVID19 is not something to now pretend that it is anything but deadly with the number of American dead approaching a million.

Thanks for the passion involved in this post, Roger Martin.  Something happened at our church this morning that drove home the point you are making in an indelible way.  We have a very active time of prayer in both Sunday services, maybe the more so at the one not televised.  Today was no different.  People feel free to tell how God has been with them through the week, and say thanks, or request further intercession from the Body.  This morning, a woman with a young child getting ready for the Sunday School Christmas drama asked for a special prayer. 

The prayer was for the family of a schoolmate from college maybe twelve years ago.  It's a Lutheran university out in the midwest.  Her classmate remained there and began her family, remaining a good Lutheran there in the upper midwest.  Recently our member's friend's entire family was gathered a church for a baptism.  Subsequently everyone in the extended family tested positive for COVID-19 after that service, including the former schoolmate.  No one at the church was wearing masks.  She and most of her family were not vaccinated. 

She died this week of COVID-19.  She had been in perfect health, in her early-mid thirties.  We prayed for the family as they mourn her early, preventable, unnecessary loss.

Dave Benke

How was her death "preventable"?  Vaccinated people wearing masks also contract COVID.

People wearing seatbelts still die horribly in auto accidents. I buckle up. Masks are not magic. But anything that mitigate damage is a good. When I teach 30+ boys from in a confined basement classroom definitely. And I insist they do likewise. When I am outdoors, or large open spaces, no.

I am not arguing whether wearing a mask (or a seatbelt) is good or wise or helpful.  I am arguing the claim that COVID (or at least a COVID death) is "preventable" by wearing masks and receiving a vaccine.


The odds of contracting and dying from COVID are much, much less for folks who are vaccinated. Nothing prevents death. We are all going to die.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5716 on: December 13, 2021, 11:12:18 AM »
This post could easily go on the cultural divide thread, but I'm thinking here of how Covid became a source of that division. I think it ridiculous that a church would be offering prayers that God would "change the hearts" of the unvaxxed as though it were a problem of sin and repentance rather than differing assessment of the risks. Yet there is no question there is big division that is growing to the level of spiritual/religious, and it is exemplified by some of the debates surrounding vaccination.


I suspect that the source of the division is not Covid, but the approach President Trump took towards it. Folks who were already against him, considered it fool-hearted. His supporters continue to believe that it's no big deal; that he spoke/speaks the truth while Dr. Fauci and others are over-stating the problem.


(It seems to me that the dire predictions of Dr. Fauci that it wouldn't disappear are ringing more true than Trump's early assessment.)
"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]

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5717 on: December 13, 2021, 11:14:10 AM »
So, if I am understanding some of you, Omicron is here and everything is hunky-dory. It's no big deal—a minor inconvenience like a head cold.
And when the next variant comes around?...
I am going to continue to wear my mask in public places even though I have been vaccinated twice with the third as a booster. COVID19 is not something to now pretend that it is anything but deadly with the number of American dead approaching a million.

Thanks for the passion involved in this post, Roger Martin.  Something happened at our church this morning that drove home the point you are making in an indelible way.  We have a very active time of prayer in both Sunday services, maybe the more so at the one not televised.  Today was no different.  People feel free to tell how God has been with them through the week, and say thanks, or request further intercession from the Body.  This morning, a woman with a young child getting ready for the Sunday School Christmas drama asked for a special prayer. 

The prayer was for the family of a schoolmate from college maybe twelve years ago.  It's a Lutheran university out in the midwest.  Her classmate remained there and began her family, remaining a good Lutheran there in the upper midwest.  Recently our member's friend's entire family was gathered a church for a baptism.  Subsequently everyone in the extended family tested positive for COVID-19 after that service, including the former schoolmate.  No one at the church was wearing masks.  She and most of her family were not vaccinated. 

She died this week of COVID-19.  She had been in perfect health, in her early-mid thirties.  We prayed for the family as they mourn her early, preventable, unnecessary loss.

Dave Benke

How was her death "preventable"?  Vaccinated people wearing masks also contract COVID.

People wearing seatbelts still die horribly in auto accidents. I buckle up. Masks are not magic. But anything that mitigate damage is a good. When I teach 30+ boys from in a confined basement classroom definitely. And I insist they do likewise. When I am outdoors, or large open spaces, no.

I am not arguing whether wearing a mask (or a seatbelt) is good or wise or helpful.  I am arguing the claim that COVID (or at least a COVID death) is "preventable" by wearing masks and receiving a vaccine.


The odds of contracting and dying from COVID are much, much less for folks who are vaccinated. Nothing prevents death. We are all going to die.

Again, I am not arguing whether or not vaccinations reduce the odds of contracting or dying from COVID.  Neither am I saying that death in general is preventable.  I AM saying that Dr. Benke's claim that this woman's death was "preventable" if she had only been vaccinated and wore a mask is wrong; neither of those things can be guaranteed to prevent COVID (or a COVID death) and there is no way of knowing if this woman would (or would not) have contracted COVID and died had she only worn a mask or been vaccinated.  And while one might think that is just quibbling, it is just that sort of obvious over-statement and hyperbole ("Alas -- if only she had been vaccinated and worn a mask, she would not have died!") that makes it harder to persuade some to do either of those things -- they know the absolute claim is not true and causes them to question/doubt the more limited claim.

Dave Benke

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5718 on: December 13, 2021, 11:16:56 AM »
The odds of contracting and dying from COVID are much, much less for folks who are vaccinated. Nothing prevents death. We are all going to die.

Certainly.  From the CDC: 
What We Know about Vaccine Breakthrough Infections
Vaccine breakthrough infections are expected. COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing most infections. However, like other vaccines, they are not 100% effective.
Fully vaccinated people with a vaccine breakthrough infection are less likely to develop serious illness than those who are unvaccinated and get COVID-19.
Even when fully vaccinated people develop symptoms, they tend to be less severe symptoms than in unvaccinated people. This means they are much less likely to be hospitalized or die than people who are not vaccinated.
People who get vaccine breakthrough infections can be contagious.


The percentage of "much less likely" is as follows:  Fully Vaccinated Adults 65 and Older Are 94% Less Likely to Be Hospitalized with COVID-19
Also from the CDC.

Dave Benke

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5719 on: December 13, 2021, 11:20:07 AM »

(It seems to me that the dire predictions of Dr. Fauci that it wouldn't disappear are ringing more true than Trump's early assessment.)

No more than president Joe Brandon's prediction that he was going to "end this" pandemic, who oddly enough has done many of the same things that Trump did, with about the same effect.
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David Garner

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5720 on: December 13, 2021, 11:20:20 AM »
This post could easily go on the cultural divide thread, but I'm thinking here of how Covid became a source of that division. I think it ridiculous that a church would be offering prayers that God would "change the hearts" of the unvaxxed as though it were a problem of sin and repentance rather than differing assessment of the risks. Yet there is no question there is big division that is growing to the level of spiritual/religious, and it is exemplified by some of the debates surrounding vaccination.

I had some difficulty pinning down what I found unseemly about that prayer, and you've hit the nail on the head (and it's really simple).  It's judgmental.  It takes a side in a dispute that is largely political and sociological, but not theological.  It then tries to put a theological spin on it, as if those who are unvaccinated are hard-hearted and in need of repentance.

I am curious, Pastor Austin, whether this litany included a petition to soften the hearts of those who judge their neighbor too harshly, taking pride that they are not like the other people, those unvaccinated, and the thieves, rogues and adulterers, and this Publican.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

DeHall1

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5721 on: December 13, 2021, 11:37:59 AM »
This post could easily go on the cultural divide thread, but I'm thinking here of how Covid became a source of that division. I think it ridiculous that a church would be offering prayers that God would "change the hearts" of the unvaxxed as though it were a problem of sin and repentance rather than differing assessment of the risks. Yet there is no question there is big division that is growing to the level of spiritual/religious, and it is exemplified by some of the debates surrounding vaccination.


I suspect that the source of the division is not Covid, but the approach President Trump took towards it. Folks who were already against him, considered it fool-hearted. His supporters continue to believe that it's no big deal; that he spoke/speaks the truth while Dr. Fauci and others are over-stating the problem.


(It seems to me that the dire predictions of Dr. Fauci that it wouldn't disappear are ringing more true than Trump's early assessment.)

Folks consider this approach fool-hearted?

"[Donald Trump] established a White House COVID-19 Task Force on January 27, even before the WHO had declared COVID-19 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.  [Donald Trump]...has also signed four emergency spending bills passed by Congress, which provide trillions to address COVID-19 and offer new flexibilities and relief for individuals, businesses, states, and localities.  He has activated the use of the Defense Production Act (DPA) to expand production, prioritize, and allocate supplies in the U.S., if needed, and this authority has been used in select cases. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided emergency use authorization for hundreds of tests and other devices and the CDC has issued more than 170 guidance documents on COVID-19. In addition, the U.S. has launched “Operation Warp Speed”, a significant initiative to expedite research, development, and distribution of coronavirus vaccines. Finally, numerous other federal agencies have acted to help ease the burden of COVID-19, such as granting state Medicaid programs additional flexibilities, accelerating Medicare payments to hospitals and other health care providers, instituting new protections for nursing home residents, and issuing a strategy for 'Accelerating Progress Towards Reducing COVID-19 Disparities and Achieving Health Equity.' "

 --souce: KFF.org

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5722 on: December 13, 2021, 11:42:56 AM »
This post could easily go on the cultural divide thread, but I'm thinking here of how Covid became a source of that division. I think it ridiculous that a church would be offering prayers that God would "change the hearts" of the unvaxxed as though it were a problem of sin and repentance rather than differing assessment of the risks. Yet there is no question there is big division that is growing to the level of spiritual/religious, and it is exemplified by some of the debates surrounding vaccination.


I suspect that the source of the division is not Covid, but the approach President Trump took towards it. Folks who were already against him, considered it fool-hearted. His supporters continue to believe that it's no big deal; that he spoke/speaks the truth while Dr. Fauci and others are over-stating the problem.


(It seems to me that the dire predictions of Dr. Fauci that it wouldn't disappear are ringing more true than Trump's early assessment.)
It must be nice to be able to embrace such a simple world view. Whatever bad is happening in the world, it must be all Trump's fault.


The divisiveness that infects our country and the world is not of simple origin. Many of Trump's early predictions and assumptions concerning Covid turned out to be inaccurate or just plain wrong. So did early predictions of Dr. Fauci. (Remember his early predictions that Covid would turn out to be no more of a big deal than the annual flu season, or that people did not need to mask up to help prevent the spread?) And prominent Democrats. (Remember their assessment that Trump's early travel ban was unnecessary and xenophobic, that his plan to institute a "warp speed" vaccine development program to produce a useable vaccine by the end of 2020 was impractical and impossible, or that if a vaccine was produced that they would not risk themselves by taking the vaccine?) It has been correctly pointed out that the scientific understanding of Covid has grown, developed, and changed as new data was analyzed and the disease itself mutated. Strange, that makes early mistakes by the favored experts and politicians reasonable, but the early mistakes of Trump remain proof of his stupidity and foolishness and that of those who've supported him. Pres. Biden's recent travel bans because of the Omicron variant are prudent and wise, Trump's from early in the pandemic remain proof of his bigotry and that of those who supported him.


Those who say that Trump did nothing effective to deal with the Covid crisis have a very selective memory.


The divisiveness in our country predates Covid, predates Trump. Trump and Covid because excuses. Not that Covid hasn't inspired much fear that has fueled conspiracy theories, paranoia about the disease and the vaccines and treatments. Trump himself often stoked the divisiveness. A classic strategy for strengthening group cohesion is to organize them against a common enemy, Trump played that to the hilt. So have Democrats against Trump. Politicians, pendants, and ideologues have seen in the Covid pandemic an ideal opportunity to stoke fear and anger, using it to advance their agenda. The imperative, "Never let a good crisis go to waste" knows no political or ideological bounds.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5723 on: December 13, 2021, 11:47:55 AM »
This post could easily go on the cultural divide thread, but I'm thinking here of how Covid became a source of that division. I think it ridiculous that a church would be offering prayers that God would "change the hearts" of the unvaxxed as though it were a problem of sin and repentance rather than differing assessment of the risks. Yet there is no question there is big division that is growing to the level of spiritual/religious, and it is exemplified by some of the debates surrounding vaccination.

For the sake of the season, let's consider the highly contentious song Baby, It's Cold Outside. As everyone know, the guy keeps focusing on how terrible the weather is. None of what he says is necessarily untrue. His is a fact-based approach. But everyone knows he has an ulterior motive for focusing on what he focuses on. He wants her to stay regardless of the weather. For her part, she isn't unaware of the weather or denying the storm, but her focus is on the ramifications of setting aside normal plans and social conventions because of the "crisis" of the snowstorm. His view is, "I guess we'll have to totally change our plans because of the snow." Hers is, "It will be harder to go through with the plan with all this snow, but better than than totally changing the plan. Conservatives sing, "We've got to go on..." while progressives sing, "But baby, it's bad out there..." Same facts. To some, not going on is a disaster. To others, not going on is a feature, not a bug.

"Crisis" is always a political word. Never let a good crisis go to waste, as the most corrupt of politicians say. That's because crisis, by definition, involves suspension of the normal plan, rules, and conventions. You can drive 90 mph in a crisis, so people who enjoy driving that fast are quicker to define things as crises. The cultural/political divide adheres to Covid because of what it means if something is a crisis. Nearly everything that was done to mitigate Covid was something that one side of the political divide wanted done anyway. So we're dealing with the same facts, but we're focusing on different aspects of those facts because we assess the severity of the "crisis" in terms of pro and cons of mitigating. As a conservative, I think the proof that this crisis is being used came when all the people demanding lock downs also supported the Floyd protests. That was say, "this is a crisis in the sense that we need to suspect state constitutions to change election laws, we need government takeover of the private sector, etc. but not enough of a crisis to interfere with other things progressives favor." This crisis was the effort to codify progressive values as America's values. Thus, people who go out of their way to emphasize the negative stats and downplay any good news are typically progressives, while those who do the opposite tend to be conservatives.
I was chatting with the clerk at a convenience store this morning. He wondered if our church was doing in person worship. (He knows that I'm a pastor.) His church does in person worship and also live streams their services. Their pastor is under fire from some of the members for having in person worship. Because of Covid, they thought that the church should still be online only.
The clerk's attitude was that those who wanted online, not in person, had that available.
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Steven W Bohler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5724 on: December 13, 2021, 11:48:19 AM »
This post could easily go on the cultural divide thread, but I'm thinking here of how Covid became a source of that division. I think it ridiculous that a church would be offering prayers that God would "change the hearts" of the unvaxxed as though it were a problem of sin and repentance rather than differing assessment of the risks. Yet there is no question there is big division that is growing to the level of spiritual/religious, and it is exemplified by some of the debates surrounding vaccination.

I had some difficulty pinning down what I found unseemly about that prayer, and you've hit the nail on the head (and it's really simple).  It's judgmental.  It takes a side in a dispute that is largely political and sociological, but not theological.  It then tries to put a theological spin on it, as if those who are unvaccinated are hard-hearted and in need of repentance.

I am curious, Pastor Austin, whether this litany included a petition to soften the hearts of those who judge their neighbor too harshly, taking pride that they are not like the other people, those unvaccinated, and the thieves, rogues and adulterers, and this Publican.

Where people ignore/deny/reject what God has called sin, they must invent their own list.  Or, where God's Law is rejected, man makes his own.

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5725 on: December 13, 2021, 12:02:47 PM »
Pastor Fienen, a Texan once said “there ain’t nothing in the middle of the road except a yellow line and dead armadillos.”
He might have added “and a certain Lutheran preacher.”

Pastor Bohler, frankly I do not mind saying it is a sin to ignore the needs and condition of one’s neighbor. I’m not sure stupidity is always a sin, but I’m sure sometimes it is. So it is my not-so-humble opinion that we should pray for a change of heart in those who are ideological anti-vaxxers and those who minimize the impact of this disease and call them to repentance.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Former national staff Lutheran Church in America And the Lutheran world Federation, Geneva. Former journalist. Now retired and living in Minneapolis.

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5726 on: December 13, 2021, 12:23:51 PM »
Pastor Fienen, a Texan once said “there ain’t nothing in the middle of the road except a yellow line and dead armadillos.”
He might have added “and a certain Lutheran preacher.”

Pastor Bohler, frankly I do not mind saying it is a sin to ignore the needs and condition of one’s neighbor. I’m not sure stupidity is always a sin, but I’m sure sometimes it is. So it is my not-so-humble opinion that we should pray for a change of heart in those who are ideological anti-vaxxers and those who minimize the impact of this disease and call them to repentance.

Thank you for proving my point.

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5727 on: December 13, 2021, 12:31:16 PM »
I'm fairly certain that if I prayed, during a public worship service, that God would change the minds of those who currently choose not to be vaccinated, that it would be the last time I would see them worshiping in my parish. Perhaps taking a chance on such losses is considered by some the higher road and the correct thing to do, despite the reaction.  I am not going there.
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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5728 on: December 13, 2021, 12:44:28 PM »
So this Friday my son will be playing basketball against a team from Illinois. By gym rules there, the players must be masked at all times, even while playing. The masks may be provably useless cloth, reused disposable ones that also do no good, or whatever. The players just have to have their faces covered. They will be jostling each other, sharing sweat, and tightly packed while camping out in the lane (if I know b teams), and most of the time most of the players will not have their noses covered. But at least they will have cloth on their face, and at least they aren't allowed to shake hands after the game but must stand on opposite sides of the gym and wave. I am on the opposite side of the cultural divide from people who think those are sensible measures.

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Re: Coronavirus news
« Reply #5729 on: December 13, 2021, 12:56:32 PM »
In the beginning masks were discouraged because there was fear we would use up valuable supplies needed for front line workers.  I assume they primarily meant the N95 variety of mask. After nearly two years I'd also assume those concerns are not the same.  In fact, I was in one of those large hardware stores recently to buy supplies I needed as part of some mold issues in my basement.  I bought a pack of N95 masks and there were no warnings about supplies.  At the beginning of the COVID crisis I was allowed to carry a N95 mask from my department in case as a chaplain I ended up in a med unit.  Extras were kept in the equipment van.  They are considered the industry standard.  Now that supplies have stabilized, and since there is a continued call for mask wearing in indoor public places, why are they not encouraging people to wear these masks?  They are vastly superior to the DIY cloth masks and certainly better than the other disposable ones that are intended only for larger particles, at best.  Also, why is there not better efforts at educating people on wearing masks.  As noted here the whole 'nose out of the mask' approach is not only counterproductive, it makes wearing the mask virtually useless.  If masks are necessary, then we should be doing it right.   
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