Little-noticed pandemic milestone nears, creates growing threat to in-person worship

By | January 12, 2021

Few out there have noticed, but a review of World Health Organization (WHO) data makes clear that we are nearing a grim milestone in the pandemic, one that should information churches and church schools that are conducting any in-person activities. Specifically, we are teetering very close to our first 100,000 new cases day, with January 11 reflecting 99.100 new cases.

The data in question can be found in my COVID-19 feed, found here.

As Anglican Watch has previously written, the exploding number of new cases, combined with the advent of the more infectious UK and South African strains, presents a compelling case to cease all in-person worship and church school activities. That includes the small groups needed to stream worship services.

Moreover, while many Episcopal and Anglican churches appear to assume that small groups with masks and social distancing are safe, the UK COVID-19 strain, believed to be up to 70 percent more infectious, has been found in at least nine states, with 65 people known to be infected. Moreover, the US lacks adequate genetic testing to identify and track emerging strains of the virus, making it unlikely that we recognize the full extent to which the new strains are affected our population.

Anglican Watch urges all leaders of all faith traditions to reconsider even limited in-person worship, and to revert to the entirely virtual services many held at the start of the pandemic. We further recommend that religious schools immediately transition to entirely virtual instruction to avoid becoming superspreaders of the new, more infectious strains.

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Ed.: Because of differences in reporting, including what data is forwarded and when, data from the US-based Centers for Disease Control reflects much higher numbers than those from the World Health Organization. The latter is used in this article.