The numbers are terrifying.
So far this year, 105 children in America – infants to 17-year-olds – have died from the disease. Why isn’t someone doing something about that? Should we shut down the schools and shelter kids in place until the crisis passes?
“The crisis” is the flu, and there is a vaccine for the flu that is updated every year in America. Public service advertising encourages people to take the proactive step of getting a flu shot – available from their primary care physician, or, often, from a local pharmacy – and it is universally affordable. Few – if any – of those childhood deaths occurred among the vaccinated…
The death toll in America from COVID 19 is 21 people, as of last night. COVID 19 is the latest version of a coronavirus, a family of viruses first detected in the ‘60s, and fairly common. COVID 19 is a mutation of that virus family, first detected in China, and now spreading, internationally.
The death rates among those who have contracted COVID 19 vary greatly. Currently, no children under 10 have succumbed to the disease; for people from 10-50, the death rate is below .04%. Get that: find 2000 people under 50 who have COVID 19, and one is likely to die from it. At age 50, the risk grows – from 1.3% for those in their 50s, 3.8% for the 60s, 8% for the 70s – resulting in a higher fatal incidence of 14.8% for those 80 and above. Existing health factors among the aging make them more likely to die from COVID 19, which is why a nursing home in Washington was more toxic than any cruise ship on the high seas – which, at this time of year, would have few guests under 50…
So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes efforts to convert retreat into advance.
I cannot take credit for that powerful sentence: it comes from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inaugural address, in 1933, when America was in the depths of the Great Depression. Reality can often be bad enough, without compounding its effects with unfounded fear that eliminates the widespread ability to make cogent decisions and renders the impact footprint of the original genesis of fear far greater than was ever necessary.
Fear of death can destroy social order; it has the power to create desperation and negate common sense. Isolation and terror will percolate in the atmosphere where illogical fear becomes the default assumption. What – or, who – can overcome that human condition?
You don’t have to go far to find the answer to that search: His name is Jesus: “He too shared in their humanity so that by His death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Held in slavery by their fear of death? Listen in on Jesus’ advice in the face of a worldwide pandemic: “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” (Luke 12:4-5).
From a friend, here’s my encouragement to you today: wash your hands, avoid people who are sneezing… and, then, demonstrate courage and confidence founded in the fact that you have been inoculated with the ultimate antidote to death – the redemption you received for free, from Jesus – and can live without the dark cloud of terror blocking the light of God’s truth from your life’s path…