A Letter from Dick Kiernan, Director of the NH Alliance in Consultation with NHA Leadership

Dear NHA Leaders,

In a very short amount of time I have come across many excellent sources related to the Covid 19 virus.

Covid 19 is 10x to 30x worse than the Flu
Just a couple of days ago I was comparing it to the flu as one news source pointed out that the flu kills many more than Covid 19.  A science person corrected me on that – the flu had killed more because it is so widespread, however, the mortality rate of the flu is 0.1% and Covid-19’s mortality rate is between 1% and 3% according to an expert in the US.  In other words it is 10x to 30x worse that the flu.
(Reference for the mortality rate of Covid-19 in the US here )

Covid 19 Spike Could Greatly Exceed our Medical Capacity
The exponential spike of Covid 19 in N. Italy exceeded the medical capacity and as a result, doctors could not “intubate” (insert tubes in the lungs) all the critical patients that needed this treatment so this causes people to die.   (Reference for N. Italy article here.)

However, if a society takes strong measures to stop the spread of the virus by calling off all social events, by massive testing of suspected carriers, etc., then society can slow down or flatten out the growth pattern so that the medical capacity could keep up with the critical patients.  Given this opportunity, many organizations are already canceling large events or schools, and very soon we may be asked to cancel church.

Here we are, Lord, use us? (Isaiah 6)—Run to the Battle vs. Prudence

Why should a Christian confront danger?
I know a Christian who learned that in active shooter drill that students should run away, or if that is not possible they should hide.  However, some people choose to confront the shooter—though the authorities do not recommend that.  The Christian said, I know that by John 3:16 I have eternal life and my friends don’t know Jesus – so I must choose to confront the shooter for the sake of others.

Historical Example
Kevin McBride, Raymond pastor, pointed out that in Roman times the church grew rapidly because Christians treated people when the plagues hit.  Here is a summary from Kevin:

I have just yesterday sent out via social media and community boards. A letter on behalf of our local clergy group stating to the community that in past history when crisis have hit, it has been the local church that has stayed to care for those in need and that we as local churches are ready to assist and make help available.   Early church history shows that in the early Roman Empire, when plagues came and the rich fled the cities it was the Christians that stayed and in so doing created a massive expansion of the church. One historian Richard Stark estimates that by the time Constantine came into power Christians comprised over 50 percent of the population through their work with the poor, suffering when the prevailing government had no answers.
(See the letter that Pastor Kevin wrote to the Raymond community—further below).

When should a Christian be more prudent?
Another pastor friend of mine told me that he could not attend an upcoming event because he was in quarantine.  His wife has serious lung problems and is at the highest risk for Covid-19.  In this case, he needed to voluntarily quarantine because caring for his wife is his first calling as a married man.

Still Another Perspective – Jesus Heals
Another Christian spoke from the perspective of faith healing and the conviction that by faith she felt convicted that she needed to continue all the same things the Lord has called her to.  Not only was she trusting in the Lord for her own health but she was ready to pray for salvation and healing for those in need.

Where are people at?  Anxiety and Panic and Misinformation
I went to the store yesterday for routine shopping.  I noticed that all the water was sold out and all the toilet paper.  As I went to check out I realized that there were up to 4 people waiting to check out at each register.  In other words, people were anticipating that supplies and public access to things was about to become limited.  Not only that—people were experiencing anxiety and some will start to panic.  There is a lot of misinformation taking place and this can increase anxiety and panic.

Where can people get accurate information?  CDC, John Hopkins, NH-DHHS
Yesterday on the conference call I learned that the Center for Disease Control, John Hopkins University (tracking the spread in each state), and the NH Department of Health and Human Services are all reliable sources.

What are the basic facts that all of us need to know?
This information came from notes from a doctor serving with Better Life Partners an organization that the NH Alliance and Good Samaritan Network partner with in NH: Here is the link to this recording

  • Corona Virus has 7 types—4 are made up of common cold, but 3 are severe including SARs and now Covid 19.
  • This is a respiratory disease that is spread by tiny droplets.
  • The incubation period is 2-14 days for symptoms to develop and that is way quarantine must be 14 days.  It can be spread before symptoms develop so people can spread it without even knowing they are sick.
  • What are the symptoms?  81% have mild symptoms and 19% are severe including 14% that are hospitalized and 5% need intensive care to survive.  The symptoms are fever and dry cough.  So far it is not an upper respiratory problem – not runny or stuffy nose.   It is estimated to be deadly is 0.5% to 3% of cases and an expert thinks the US rate is around 1% because of the number of asymptomatic or unknown mild cases.  It is not known yet whether you can get the virus twice.  It is not known what drugs will help.
  • shool from home, attending on-line church services, etc., are all ways to slow the spread of the virus.
  • As mentioned above – decisions to limit the spread of the virus by canceling social events, working from home, attending on-line church services, etc., are all ways to slow the spread of the virus.

An Article from N. Italy Challenging the Young and Strong to Consider Old and Weak
This article gives a front line perspective to help us anticipate what happens when doctors are unable to treat the people in need.  It helps those who are unafraid and confident to realize that they can endanger others.  Click here to read.

What can the church do?  Salvation and Simple Help
My sister called me yesterday because her elderly and declining, Catholic mother-in-law appears to be dying (not from Covid 19).  She asked for me to contact her priest to ask for Last Rites.  Certainly, people will be asking for prayer and isn’t this one of the opportunities we should anticipate?  Is it possible that pastors will become maxed out praying for sick and dying people?  Isn’t it apparent that when crisis hits that everyone is willing to turn to the Lord?  Isn’t it time to remind our flocks that the Lord will call on them to bring his hope and salvation to those who do not know him.  Another clear opportunity is to merely offer help to those in need—shopping for groceries, 100 other ways to help.

What could be some next steps for you to take?
#1 Consult with leaders to be sure your church can have a united and thoughtful response.
#2 Consider how to communicate information and plans to your church including various sources including Sunday service.  Anticipate misinformation and high anxiety.
#3 Consider alternatives to Sunday service.
#4 Look for instructions to inform people how to lower risks.
#5 Consider how to equip your church to bring love and hope at this critical moment.
#6 Mobilize prayer—prayer calls or video calls.

Just below in the reference section I have copied 4 sources that help capture various perspectives:
-Steve Kelly—Director of Better Life Partners and link to interview (below)
-Kevin McBride—Pastor of Raymond Baptist (below)
-Mark Warren—Grace Capital (below)
-Bishop Andrew—Anglican Diocese of New England CLICK HERE

I’m glad to get feedback and additional sources to help evaluate what is happening.

Blessings, Dick