Before I say how I think it will go, and what the churches will do we have to look at what we are contending with. The data I am working with is from the British Government’s website https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ as of Thursday 15th July 2021 and John Hopkins University of Medicine from Wednesday 16th July which will be in parentheses as a comparison. All data used is for the previous seven days.
But first I am going to mention two news reports, both from Thursday 17th July: BBC News reported the highest ever number of people pinged by Test and Trace, over half a million in the last week. Also from the BBC, Look North from Leeds interviewed a Doctor who reported that hospitals are fairly full with a lot of non-Covid cases being treated. He said that if more Covid cases come in it will mean hospital wards will be transferred to treating covid patients and others will need to stay home or have operations postponed.
The Guardian on Friday reported that in several parts of the country bins are not being collected due to a high “ping-rate” from the NHS test and trace app. BBC Radio Leeds traffic news on Saturday reported that Northern were operating no trains from Sheffield to both Leeds and Lincoln due to this pingdemic. (Their phrase, Yuck).
The number of people tested positive: 48,553. Last 7 days: 261,832 an increase of 64,368 (32.6%)
(New Cases 261,236 – Record high 418,669 3 Jan – 9 Jan 2021)
Deaths within 28 days of positive test
Latest data provided on 15 July 2021 Daily 63 Last 7 days 257 up 83 (47.7%)
(New deaths 263 – Record high 8700 17 – 23 Jan 2021)
Patients admitted to hospital
Latest data provided on 11 July 2021 Daily 582 Last 7 days 3,933 up 1,254 (46.8%)
Then there’s the issue of long covid, I have been speaking to someone who has been fatigued by long covid and has not worked for over 9 months. Lifting restriction will increase covid infections and by extension covid deaths.
As with all data, it’s not the numbers themselves that are important, it’s what you do with them that matters.
There has been a lot of criticism of the English government easing restrictions when cases are rapidly increasing. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has warned that England could reach quite scary Covid numbers after freedom day. It feels like we are in an experiment that treats us as the world’s petri dish. We have transitioned from being told to wear masks and social distance to being told that masking and social distancing regulations no longer apply,but then advised to do them anyway. What we have is a government that do not like governing.
The Church of England is similarly ambivalent. Rather than saying it is OK to go back to singing in churches or that we should continue with masks they have passed the buck on to individual churches. This kind of blame shifting is not OK, but is expected to a certain degree from politicians but the Church’s ethics should be higher than this. The Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments is full of God’s love for the widows, orphans and foreigners, the most vulnerable in society. Not having a clear guidance, will mean not knowing what to expect from one church to the next.
People’s reactions to the so called freedom day are mixed.Some can’t wait to get rid of the masks, some are scared of what the effects of dumping masks will be. Was July 19th freedom day or superspreader Monday? Reactions are mixed, I was on a bus where everyone was masked, but a friend was in a train carriage where most were unmasked. It all depends on where you are.
There is a duty of care from God that Christians are to support the most vulnerable. I am not being cautious, lets be bold in caring for them.