Martha’s Vineyard COVID Outbreak Linked to Christians Trusting Jesus Over Masks
Via Hemant Mehta
There’s been a COVID outbreak in Martha’s Vineyard, the Massachusetts island, that involves 11 people, five of whom were members of a Bible study. The other six were either their family members or people living in their houses.
The outbreak itself isn’t surprising news at this point. They’ve happened across the country. But what’s really messed up is how COVID-ignorant the people in this Bible study group are.
Jim Osborn, a reporter who contributes to the MVTimes and happens to be in that study group, says that their leader, Rev. Dan Davey, hasn’t required masks at all… because he allegedly said Jesus would protect everyone.
Davey “never wore a mask,” Osborn said. “He sort of gave us the impression that because it was a Bible study, we were under God’s protection during the Bible study, and I guess we all made that same false assumption.”
He denied telling study group attendees that God would protect them.
“I don’t recall ever saying, ‘God’s going to protect you, don’t worry about it,’” Davey said. “But I live my life, frankly, that God’s going to take care of me regardless. There were a lot of other viruses before COVID-19 came along, and I’m sure there’s more to come.”
Jesus Christ, these people… Does he not realize that many of the 330,000 dead Americans were Christians who believed in his God? They died. Jesus didn’t help them. I guess he thinks none of them were truly devout.
Davey kept digging his own grave, saying that contact tracing was an “inexact science,” that masks are all about personal freedom and that their efficacy is suspect because “The science on mask wearing is very inexact,” and that the COVID death count needed to be “put in perspective” with the flu. He’s either flat-out wrong or missing the point on all of those claims.
If there’s any silver lining here, it’s that the Bible study group has ended its in-person gatherings due to the cold weather and holidays. But the number of positive COVID cases stemming from that Bible study remains large, and there’s no telling how many other people they’ll spread it to. On an island like Martha’s Vineyard, where senior citizens are all over the place, it’s possible strangers will suffer because of the irresponsibility of these Christians.
A new report from the Skagit County Public Health Department in Washington state published by the CDC Friday, shows how quickly the coronavirus spread after a choir practice became a “superspreader event” for the disease that infected 86% of attending members and killed two of them.
Now state health officials say the findings in the report, based on the experience of Skagit Valley Chorale that normally rehearses at the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church on Tuesday evenings and once a month on a Saturday morning, could have significant implications for future church gatherings.
“It’s really important that people realize that by meeting, by gathering, 86% of them could become ill and the results and aftermath of that is hard to fathom,” Skagit County Health Officer Dr. Howard Leibrand said in a King 5 report.
The report from the health department showed how the 122-member chorale was likely exposed to a “superemitter” of the virus who attended choir practice on March 3 and March 10.
“One person at the March 10 practice had cold-like symptoms beginning March 7. This person, who had also attended the March 3 practice, had a positive laboratory result for SARS-CoV-2 by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing,” the report said.
Of the 78 members who attended the March 3 practice, 51 or 65.4% of them got infected with the virus. All but one of the infected individuals from the March 3 practice were among the 60 members who also attended the March 10 practice, 86.7% of them tested positive for the disease. Among the 21 members who only attended the March 3 practice only one of them became ill.
“The 2.5-hour singing practice provided several opportunities for droplet and fomite transmission, including members sitting close to one another, sharing snacks, and stacking chairs at the end of the practice. The act of singing, itself, might have contributed to transmission through emission of aerosols, which is affected by loudness of vocalization,” the report said.
“Certain persons, known as superemitters, who release more aerosol particles during speech than do their peers, might have contributed to this and previously reported COVID-19 superspreading events,” the researchers added.
They explained that the findings from this event shows “the high transmissibility” of the coronavirus as well as “the possibility of superemitters contributing to broad transmission in certain unique activities and circumstances.”
“They were sitting closely together and spending time there and then they would switch chairs, share snacks, and they might have touched surfaces other people infected touched,” Lea Hamner, co-author of the report and communicable disease and epidemiology lead at Skagit County Health told King 5.
All of this activity occurred at a time when Skagit Valley had no reported cases yet even though the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Washington state on Jan. 21.
In a March 23 statement, the Skagit Valley Chorale said that during the dates they were holding rehearsals, schools, restaurants, churches, bowling alleys, banks, libraries, theaters, and other businesses also remained open.
“The advice from the state of Washington was to limit gatherings to 250 people. There were no recommendations from Skagit County Health Department regarding meeting sizes, but they did state that people over 60 should avoid ‘large public gatherings,’” the group said.
Still, the chorale’s board of directors tried to be careful. They urged all members to stay away from rehearsals on March 3 and March 10 if they showed any symptoms of illness, no matter the cause.
They also advised anyone who felt their health or safety was in jeopardy to not attend.
“Each member was left to determine for him/herself whether to attend. At no time was anyone pressured to attend if they were uncomfortable doing so,” the group said.
Despite the precautions taken, however, very few of the chorale members were spared from contracting the virus.
As a result of the high transmissibility of the virus the researchers recommend that people avoid face-to-face contact with others, not gather in groups, avoid crowded places, maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet to reduce transmission, and wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
Alan Cross, a Southern Baptist pastor in California and the author ofWhen Heaven and Earth Collide: Racism, Southern Evangelicals, and the Better Way of Jesus, argued in a New York Times op-ed Thursday that while some churches are pushing to reopen despite the lack of a vaccine for the coronavirus — and there’s no guarantee that there ever will be a vaccine for COVID-19 — most churches are taking the virus seriously.
“While pastors defying closure orders have grabbed headlines, the reality is that over 90 percent of pastors and church leaders complied with shutdown orders in March and many are still waiting until later in May and into June before resuming public worship — even in states where restrictions are weakening,” he wrote. “Most pastors that I have engaged with take seriously the responsibility to navigate this national tragedy with wisdom, compassion and patience.”
In Alabama for example, even though Gov. Kay Ivey is now allowing churches to resume meeting, many churches in Alabama continue to use online services and plan to wait a bit longer before reopening for in-person services.
The largest church in the state, the Church of the Highlands, will continue to emphasize watching online services and Pastor Chris Hodges, said there were no plans to return to in-person group worship before May 31.
Ivey’s pastor, the Rev. Jay Wolf, pastor of Montgomery First Baptist who advised her on church safety issues, told AL.com that he believes it will be no sooner than May 31 before in-person services begin. Even then, he said, it might not even be safe for a large church to meet in person.
Bishop Stephen A. Davis, pastor of the 5,000-member Refresh Family Church, formerly known as New Birth Birmingham, told AL.com that right now, “We still think it’s too risky.”
“We’re waiting another couple of weeks just to be safe,” Davis said. “Just because the state reopens businesses doesn’t mean it’s safe to bring that many people together.”
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Messiah Will Come by Passover, Says Israel Health Minister
“I am sure Messiah will come by Passover and save us the same way God saved us during the Exodus”
Via Israel Today Staff
Israel Health Ministry Yaakov Litzman has been criticized for what many call his unprofessional handling of the coronavirus crisis. But in a recent interview, he suggested that while he takes the situation seriously, he’s waiting on a more divine brand of deliverance.
One of the early sticking points in the current unity coalition negotiations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and rival Benny Gantz was the latter’s insistence that someone other than Litzman serve as Minister of Health in the next government.
Litzman insisted that his United Torah Judaism faction and its seven seats would remain in the coalition only if he retaied his current post, and Gantz on Sunday reportedly acquiesced.
That sorely disappointed health care professionals in Israel. Earlier in the day, Channel 12 News reported that the heads of hospital departments across the country had petitioned Netanyahu to install a Minister of Health with an actual medical background.
Earlier this month, Litzman was asked in an interview with Chamal News if the current restrictions on the Israeli population will last until after the Passover holiday, set to begin the evening of April 8, next Wednesday.
Israel’s Minister of Health responded:
“God forbid! We are praying and hoping that Messiah will arrive before Passover as it is a time of our redemption. I am sure that the Messiah will come by Passover and save us the same way God saved us during the Exodus and we were freed. The Moshiach will come and save us all.”
[Yaakov Litzman is also the depraved the pervert that perverted the course of justice and pressured employees in his department to prevent extradition of sex abuser Malka Leifer to face 74 counts of child sex abuse in Australia. Police recommended that Litzman be indicted for bribery, fraud, witness tampering and breach of trust.]