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If ever balance was needed, wouldn't it be now?
In the COVID world of 2020, I find myself looking to balance the way we approach the pandemic. Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a biostatistician in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology at Harvard University, who also collaborates and consults with epidemiologists and clinicians, reported that, from a public health perspective, the way to treat infectious epidemics is to protect the vulnerable, which includes the elderly and those with underlying, long-term co-morbidities (by quarantining), while allowing the low-risk population to circulate freely. This provides for the development of herd-immunity, or community immunity, which will then, in turn, protect the vulnerable. Dr. Kulldorff states that herd-immunity is just as critical a scientific reality in epidemiology as gravity is in physics. Locking down entire societies, does not control infection. He says, sadly, it only prolongs it.
Swedish hospitalizations/deaths spiked early on.
Dr. Kulldorff says that in Stockholm, there was mismanagement of nursing home workers, which unfortunately led to many deaths. There was a high turnover of employees weekly, which exposed the elderly to many asymptomatic carriers of the disease. They learned from that disaster it is better to hire live-in caregivers for certain time periods, so they may reduce the risk to those compromised individuals. Sweden never shut down its society but continues to see a decline in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, while many other countries and localities, even here in the U.S., see increased cases of contact with the virus (although there are declining hospitalizations and deaths.) And increased cases indicates communities are becoming exposed to the virus, while decreased hospitalizations and deaths suggest they are building immunity to the disease. In Sweden, some choose to wear masks and distance, and some do not. He suggests one way to reduce exposure to this virus, and other microorganisms, is to do the things we can do to prevent spread, such as not shaking hands for an extended period of time.
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Masks and distancing are things we can do to balance.
It seems that things we can do would include continuing to wear masks and distancing, while we accelerate a reopening of the economy. In some states, gyms and outdoor events (such as parking lot church gatherings) have been fined and shut down again for trying to get back in operation. Doesn't it seem we should encourage activities whose aim it is to increase health, all the while, still wearing masks and distancing? In New York this week, the governor threatened to close synagogues again, just as the congregants were beginning to experience improved spiritual health with resumed attendance!
Spiritual, social, mental, and emotional health are just as important as physical.
Shutting down state and/or local economies for the past six months has taken a heavy toll in terms of declining youth developmental and socialization, increased depression, addictions, abuses, suicides, and the likes, in the same way the virus has claimed many innocent lives. So, a balanced approach to COVID seems warranted in promoting recovery. This way, we can increase our hope and healing for the future, and look forward with optimism and reliability to a new & promising year in 2021.
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Praying for hope, healing, and increased happiness.
I love a verse in 2 Chronicles because it encourages and comforts me: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land," 2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV.)
This verse reminds me we can always try to do better in our efforts to draw closer to God. He commands us to humble ourselves and pray. Don't we try to pray regularly? I know I do. But how many times do I get so busy, or feel tired and exhausted, that I just fall into bed and forget to thank God for my daily gifts, ask for the things I need (especially during these troubled times,) or pray for inspiration regarding someone else I might help?
Miracles are all around us.
I am so grateful for the small miracles I see every day. I hope we will always look for the goodness and beauty in life, and continue our efforts to turn towards God. In so doing, I expect you will continue to discover many more happy trails that lead you along your journey of success.