By now, almost everyone with Internet access knows that COVID-19 is the disease caused by the new coronavirus that emerged in China in December 2019. The symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breath. It can be severe, and some cases have caused death. The new coronavirus can be spread from person to person.
It is diagnosed with a laboratory test. There is no coronavirus vaccine yet. Prevention involves frequent hand-washing, coughing into the bend of your elbow and staying home when you are sick.
As of March 21, 2020, the outbreak of the coronavirus disease had been confirmed in over 100 countries or territories. The virus had infected 286,000 people worldwide, and the number of deaths had totaled 11,900. The most severely affected countries outside of China include Italy, Iran, Spain, and Germany.
The world population is being instructed to stay home and shelter-in-place. This will “flatten the curve” of people in need of medical care. The more we postpone cases, the better the healthcare system can function, the lower the mortality rate, and the higher the share of the population that will be vaccinated before it gets infected:
During this pandemic, there are 3 things every Christian must do. We need to prepare, pray, and maintain a realistic perspective:
Listen to the medical experts. Be informed, sensitive, and wise in the way you approach this pandemic. Don’t think since you are doing the Lord’s work, you can be exempt from sound medical advice.
The CDC and the WHO recommend several basic measures to help prevent the spread of Covid-19:
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Contact a health worker if you have symptoms; fever and a dry cough are most common.
- DON’T touch your face.
- DON’T travel if you have a fever and cough.
- DON’T wear a face mask if you are well.
In any disaster, it’s a good idea to plan to have what you need during a period where you might get stuck in your home. Good advice is to treat today as though this is your last day to get what you need and be where you want to be.
A sensible grocery list can include:
Dry grains: Rice, quinoa, oats, cornmeal (for polenta).
Beans: dried or canned.
Tinned fish: tuna, tasty cans of smoked sardines, or mackerel.
A couple varieties of nut butter and tahini.
Flour (you can add water, salt, and a leavening agent like baking soda or powder to make biscuits, tortillas, and crackers).
Onions (they keep for weeks when stored in a cool, dark place).
Hardy veggies: broccoli, celery, carrots, and kale (they stay fresh for a long time in your fridge).
Bananas (when they start to turn, freeze for smoothies or bake into banana bread).
Frozen peas (add to soups and pastas).
Frozen sausage (just one link can go a long way in adding flavor to a dish).
Bag of frozen shrimp.
Sliced bread (pop it in your freezer, will last a long time).
Taste boosters: soy sauce, mayo, ketchup, fruit jam, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, olives, capers.
You can supplement your diet with foods that boost immune system’s response to viral infections. Whole, natural almonds are supposed to be beneficial:
Eating almonds ‘can help to fight off viruses’ / Deccan Herald News, October 31, 2010
Researchers from the Institute of Food Research in Norwich and Italy’s Policlinico Universitario have found that naturally occurring chemicals found in skin of almonds boost immune system’s response to viral infections.
The study revealed that almond skins improved the ability of the white blood cells to detect viruses while also increasing the body’s ability to prevent viruses from replicating and so spreading inside the body.
The researchers also discovered that even after the almonds had been digested in the gut, there was still an increase in the immune system’s defence against viruses. According to the researchers, the findings suggest that the nuts can increase the immune system’s ability to fight off a wide range of viruses, including those that cause flu and the common cold.
They said although they have still to carry out research on how many almonds must be eaten to obtain a beneficial effect, it was likely that eating almonds regularly could help protect people from becoming infected with viruses in the first place and could help those already infected.
Dr Giuseppina Mandalari of Institute of Food Research, was quoted by ‘The Daily Telegraph’ as saying, “Almond skins are able to stimulate the immune response and thus contribute to an antiviral immune defence.
Note that, regardless of claims, food supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
You should also have a first aid kit, an extra supply of needed medication, and extra hygiene items like toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues. Be mindful of your neighbors and do not hoard.
It takes the same amount of energy to worry as to pray. Prayer leads to peace, but worry leads to panic. Fear of the unknown can be overcome by faith in the Lord who cares for His people.
The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:5–7)
We need to pray for all those who have been infected and those who will be. We need to pray for God to deliver the world from this menace to our health and well-being. We need to pray for wisdom, guidance, and protection for our leaders as they defend their people.
We need to use this time of lock-down as a Holy Sabbatical. It is difficult to put a price on the opportunity cost of burnout. Think of this shelter-in-place vacation as a blessed time for purposeful rest.
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it. (Isaiah 30:15)
The world culture tends to fall more into the category of, “you would have none of it” as it relates to rest and repentance. We value strength and confidence but rarely pair those qualities with rest, quietness and trust. Rather, we admire those who push, strive, and conquer.
But look closely at the meaning of each word in this statement:
In quietness and trust is your strength.
quietness: to keep silent, remain quiet, remain calm, at peace
trust: in the Hebrew this is translated as confidence
strength: power, might, achievement
So the message is: In quiet, calm, and peace you will find confidence and power. Not in self-reliance … no matter how capable you are.
As Christians, who have been baptized, covered by His blood, and sealed by His Spirit, you can have the same blessed relationship that Moses had:
When there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions,
I speak to them in dreams.
But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.
With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the Lord. (Numbers 12:5-8)
This is your opportunity to have “face time” with the Lord!
Maintain a Realistic Perspective
It’s been said that 90 percent of the things we worry or become panicked about never happen, and the other 10 percent are outside our control.
Despite the grim reports, at some point this crisis will end. The first step is a treatment for those infected, and several have already been identified. The next step is a vaccine to prevent any infection. Clinical trials are underway right now:
Trump Says FDA Approved Anti-Malaria Drug Chloroquine To Test As Coronavirus Treatment / Forbes, March 19, 2020
The medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases reported March 9 that Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine, was effective in killing the coronavirus in laboratory experiments. Plaquenil was first approved in 1995 and, in addition to treating malaria, is used in patients with lupus or arthritis. Doctors and scientists are working to find an effective treatment for coronavirus, as one does not exist. The first vaccine clinical trial began Monday in Seattle, with the first person to enroll in the trial receiving the vaccine. A number of additional treatments are in various stages of research, testing and commercial release
This is not going to kill humanity. On the whole it causes a mild respiratory tract infection. But the elderly are the exception. Keep in mind, with a world population of about 8 billion people, about 12,000 have died of COVID-19 so far, with about 290,000 cases worldwide. But, about 150,000 people die each day across the globe, and about two thirds of them die of age-related causes. Heart disease and stroke are still the world’s biggest killers.
When tests and treatments are readily available, the most likely outcome is that the economy will return to full vigor.
But, no matter what happens, we will all face death eventually. Thanks to Jesus, we can come to that day with confidence. Like Paul, we can remember that to live is Christ, but to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). We truly have nothing ultimate to fear—not from the coronavirus, the recession, natural disasters, or anything else.
“Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.
“Therefore, you should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:5-13)
If you are not sure that you are saved, you can accept Christ into your life right now, by praying:
“Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior.”