We head into a new week with many uncertainties and fears.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams calls this coming week our “Pearl Harbor moment” with a dose of 9/11 tossed in.
“This is going to be the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly,” Adams told Fox News this morning. “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized. It’s going to be happening all over the country.”
To date, the death toll from the virus now exceeds the combined death tolls of both the Pearl Harbor attack and the 9/11 terrorist actions in New York, Washington, D.C. and the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.
About 90 percent of Americans now live under some form of “stay at home” orders. Just nine state do not.
Many Americans spend this Palm Sunday at home, not in churches. Like other public gathering venues, churches are closed to crowds so ministers are turning to online sermons with streaming video.
Passover arrives this coming week, along with Good Friday and, two weeks from today, Easter. We won’t see public Easter Egg hunts, no crowds gathered for a Sunday Sunrise service.
Is God also on lockdown? That depends on who you ask.
Writes Erica Ramirez in The Washington Post:
Most Americans have been social distancing to help limit the growing scourge of COVID-19. But some Pentecostal churches and schools continue to stay open and hold services anyway. On Monday, police arrested Rodney Howard-Browne, pastor of a Pentecostal megachurch in Florida, for unlawfully holding services last Sunday.
Yet, Republican governors in Texas and Florida have more recently given orders exempting churches from stay-at-home bans by categorizing them as essential operations. They did this despite evidence that churches have helped to spread the virus, a sign that distancing measures are becoming another contentious division in our ongoing culture wars.
The numbers may tell the story.
Words struggle to capture the enormity of the response to the disease, so some numbers will have to suffice. Roughly four billion people — half the world’s population — have been asked to stay at home. More than one million people across 172 nations have tested positive for the contagion, though the true number of infections is surely many times higher. Classrooms for nearly 90 percent of the world’s students are closed. Millions of Americans are newly unemployed, more than at any point since the Great Depression. More than a thousand New Yorkers died of Covid-19 just this week.
In Virginia, the Commonwealth reports 2,637 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus. The Virginia Department of Health says nearly all of the 23,671 tests in The Old Dominion has come back clean but 431 are hospitalized with the virus and 51 are dead.
While Floyd and Patrick Counties remain free of virus confirmations, Montgomery County jumped from 1 to 6 with two infections among workers at the county’s government center.
Across the United States, infections topped 300,000 on Saturday and sit at 312,119 at 11 a.m. EDT on Sunday. Some 8,465 have died. Of those infected, 8,206 are considered critical. The county has closed the center and told employees to stay home for the next two weeks.
The United States ranks third among the world’s nations in deaths but leads all in total infections. Worldwide, 8.5 per 1 million in population have died. In the U.S. the rate is 26 per million.
Worldwide, 66,515 have died from the virus, the World Health Organization reported at 11:00 a.m. EDT Sunday. More than 1.2 million are infected with 44,572 infected.