Advice for Churches from the Surgeon General: Preparing Your Church for Coronavirus

The Surgeon General’s advice for churches: good hygiene, and it’s time to “limit touching, especially hand-to-hand.”

Health should always be a priority for us. This may be true now than ever as we watch the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spread its way through the globe—Hong Kong, Italy, Korea, and more.

You can, in fact, find today’s coronavirus facts on the World Health Organization’s update page here. As of today, there are over 90,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, 64 of those being in the United States. (See updates for the U.S. here.) Of course, compare this to over 18,000 people who have died of the flu this year so far.

However, because this virus is so new and many of us feel unprotected, our first response may be one of fear. Many Americans have in fact even been purchasing protective masks at such a rate that the Surgeon General wrote this in a recent CNN op-ed piece:

Masks are not recommended for use by most Americans and hoarding of masks can actually hurt our response by reducing the supply available for medical professionals who need them. It's critically important our health providers have masks and other medical supplies when caring for people who have been exposed to the virus.

Protecting ourselves against disease is not a bad thing, and my stock of hand sanitizer is evidence that I’m a believer, but there are more basic precautions we can take as first measures.

So let’s back up.

In fact, during our meeting this morning, the Surgeon General expressed that “the risk to any individual [American] is incredibly low.” However, he cautioned that, “We can’t hermetically seal the United States” and that the coronavirus task force is moving to a phase of seeking to “limit the spread of cases in the community."

He pointed out that other rapidly spreading …

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