Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
Blog Number 11
March 16, 2020
Corona Virus: Unintended Consequences
We are inundated by fear of the Corona Virus. My heart goes out to the survivors of those who have died from this illness as well as those who are ill from this. We need to be prudent in guarding people from this.
My reading indicates that for only a few people in certain age/health categories find this illness to be life-threatening. They need to self-isolate. I know people who are doing this and this is a good thing. Sub-acute facilities and hospitals need to screen and/or prevent visitors. We need to protect our most vulnerable people. At our board meeting this evening I will be discussing protocols for keeping our upcoming communion safe and not be potentially transferring this virus. No one wants people to become ill, and we don’t want to contribute to the suffering of anyone.
I do wonder if the recommendations that we are receiving aren’t causing unintended consequences that are hurting other groups of people. Has anyone considered the impact of isolating and closing events on people who are living on the edge of economic survival? Those who are suggesting these acts of isolation are, for the most part, salaried employees. Are they considering the impact on hourly employees or independent contractors.
When a school closes, how do parents get to work and watch children at the same time? Will these parents lose wages?
Recently I heard a PBS interview with a Hudson County educator. This educator expressed concerns over the consideration of closing Hudson County schools. He said that in his school, many students were too poor to have computers or internet. If learning was to be online for two weeks, his students would lose two weeks of learning.
When we cancel sporting events, how do the vendors and cleaners make up the earnings lost from the cancelled events and work?
Recently I received a call from a member of a twelve-step meeting that meets in our church. This person was worried. Other churches were closing down meetings, including twelve-step meetings. People in recovery were worried that they would slip out of sobriety without meetings. I assured this person that They could meet but encouraged the groups to use proper, prudent, safety procedures. The person seemed grateful.
When we stay home and avoid retailers, will hourly salesclerks be laid off or suffer cut hours?
I have heard people blame “foreigners” for this virus. Will this have a negative impact on our day-laborers.
Yes, the Corona virus is a public-health issue. We need to take prudent steps to prevent the spread of this. If we over-react we are hurting people who are the most economically vulnerable. We need to be prudent but not hysterical. I know that many people disagree with me on this and I expect some negative comments, but I do hope that we begin to think about this and the unintended consequences of what I consider, over-reacting.
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