Are we headed to a “great summer” or a struggling summer as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and recession?

by Christine Sine
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by Tom Sine

“The probability of a great summer is really increasing,” predicts Dr. David Rubin from the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. “In Congress, Democratic lawmakers are forging ahead to pass a 1.9 trillion stimulus package.”

Are you ready to move towards a future where we begin to control COVID-19?

Several new sources, including the New York Times, project that we could also begin to turn the corner this summer.

“Despite the uncertainties, the experts predict that the wild surge will subside in the United States sometime in the early summer. If the Biden administration can keep his promise to immunize every American adult by the end of the summer the variance should not be a match for the vaccines. We are reminded, “Even as the virus begins its swoon, people may still need to wear masks in public places and maintain social distance, because a significant percent of the population — including children — will not be immunized.”

The New York Times reminds us, “The road back to normalcy is potholed with unknowns: how well vaccines prevent further spread of the virus; whether emerging variants remain susceptible enough to the vaccines; and how quickly the world is immunized, so as to halt further evolution of the virus.

But the greatest ambiguity is human behavior. Can Americans desperate for normalcy keep wearing masks and distancing themselves from family and friends? How much longer can communities keep businesses, offices and schools closed?”

If we do start to make progress in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, we must remember that many of our poorest neighbors and many of those in Gen Y and Z will continue to be hammered by the COVID-19 recession. Many will not be able to find jobs or pay their rent. It is essential that our churches don’t get so focused on restarting their worship programs but to help our Black and Latino neighbors to obtain the vaccine and start social enterprises to create new jobs and locate affordable housing.

Thankfully, Christian Today reports the number of churches are helping distribute COVID-19 vaccines to Black and Latino communities. “Barbara Felker, an associate pastor at Highbridge Community Church in the Bronx, also serves as a healthcare executive and arranges pop-up clinics at churches. Her company, Northwell Health, adjusted the process for distributing vaccines among minority communities by shifting from advertising on public websites about vaccination events to emailing pastors a private link to share in their neighborhood.”

A number of churches all over the United States are beginning to plan together again in place of their current Zoom worship services. I would urge them to focus first on enabling churches in poor communities to develop vaccination campaigns for many of our Black and Latino neighbors who do not currently have access to vaccines in their communities.

I would welcome the opportunity to publish some of the examples of churches reaching out to empower neighbors as the COVID recession continues to cause much suffering in 2021! Send your examples here.

Check out the review of 2020s Foresight in the PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK.

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