Facts regarding COVID-19:
As of 2/13/21 there have been over 27 million confirmed cases and over 480,000 COVID-19 deaths in the US. (stats from New York Times) personal comparison, this is more than the entire population of Atlanta, GA at 456,000)
Over 1.5 million cases in New York State, with over 45,000 deaths (New York Times)
10,064 confirmed cases in Ulster County with 221 fatalities (covid19.ulstercountyny.gov)
12,743 long term residents in NYS have died from COVID-19 (1/28/21 AP article, NY data show nursing home deaths undercounted by thousands)
As of January 2021 COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in the US, averaging more than 3,000 deaths per day, surpassing heart disease and cancer.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all, but it has clearly affected our racial and ethnic minorities disproportionately. According to the CDC, non-Hispanic Black people and Hispanic or Latino people were both more than 4 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID than non-Hispanic white people. There is no simple answer for this, as it is likely multifactorial due to minority groups more likely to live in multi-generational homes, reside and work in densely populated communities, work in service industry positions and are more likely to depend on public transportation. In addition, barriers to receiving care may be more prevalent in minority communities to include lack of insurance, fear of receiving care, and access to care.
—article 8/13/20 Dr. William Marshall, Mayo Clinic)
Isolation related to COVID-19
We have been unable to grieve and cope with these losses. Isolation is the common thread we have experienced. Isolation when we are sick with COVID, isolation when we are exposed to COVID, isolation to prevent the spread of COVID, isolation from our coworkers, friends, family, and fellow worshipers. Isolation from being able to grieve and support others as hospitals implemented non visitation protocols, as funeral homes carry out socially distant funerals that don’t permit our normal communal grieving that include comforting connections, hugs and even shoulder touches. Newborns that are brought home from the hospital but unable to visit extended family. Children that are unable to have sleep overs and play dates, parents that are unable to connect with their fellow parents for support. Teachers that have been forced to teach in a virtual world that includes blank screens instead of smiling faces ready to learn.
More than 2/3 of workers are worried about their financial security related to the COVID-19 pandemic, 20% have fallen behind on paying bills or had their household income drop by half.
22 million jobs were lost related to the pandemic.
–USA Today article 1/27/21
Some of our losses we can easily identify, loss of employment, loss of life, but some of our losses are more difficult to verbalize, loss of sense of safety, loss of social connections and personal freedoms,
We need to acknowledge that grief is natural and actually useful. It is ok to grieve. It is ok to feel happy one moment and sad the next as we deal with our losses. It helps to verbalize our losses. Mental health counselors call this “name it and claim it”. Journaling can be helpful. Stay connected with a social network of friends and family by calling, writing, and texting. More information may be found at American Psychological Association (APA).
Reasons to be optimistic:
-new COVID-19 case numbers are starting to drop across our county, state and country
-We have two effective vaccines that can reduce the risk of becoming ill from COVID-19, with hopes of a third approved vaccine in the next month.
-Over 33 million individuals have now received a COVID-19 vaccine, more than 10% of the US population, with hopes that anyone who wants a vaccine may obtain a vaccine by summer 2021. This will help us achieve the estimated 70% herd immunity to bring this pandemic under control.
–Dr Fauci 2/12/21 yahoo news
-Our church community has responded to this isolation. We have transitioned to online meetings, continue to offer weekly live church services via multiple social media platforms, email communication updates and newsletters.
When the COVID-19 pandemic is over, it will leave a scar in all of us. Some of us deeper than others. Some scars we can describe, some we cannot verbalize. Some scars we can see, some are invisible to not only others, but even ourselves. It will take time to heal. We will need to lean on our faith, our prayers, our community to help heal. This healing will be easier for some than others. We need to love each other as Jesus has taught us to help in this mutual recovery.
Make someone’s day! Pick up the phone and give your loved ones a call…
Vaccinated people should continue to take safety precautions, such as wearing a mask and avoiding close contact (within about 6 feet, or 2 meters) with others, when they are:
– In public
– Visiting with people who are unvaccinated and at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19
– Visiting with people who have an unvaccinated household member at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19
– Visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
Keep in mind that if you’re fully vaccinated, your risk of getting COVID-19 might be low. But if you become infected, you might spread the disease to others even if you don’t have signs or symptoms of COVID-19. This could be dangerous for people who are unvaccinated and at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. People at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 include older adults and people with certain underlying conditions.
—After COVID-19 vaccination: Is it OK to visit with friends and loved ones? – Mayo Clinic
Navigating vaccination websites can be daunting for many people. If you know of anyone struggling to make a vaccine appointment, you may be a “life-saver” by helping make an appointment for them.
Here are some websites to help you:
State vaccination sites: COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine (ny.gov)
Pharmacies in Ulster County offering vaccines: Get Vaccinated – Ulster County COVID-19 Information (ulstercountyny.gov)
Searching for an available appointment takes patience. Note that some people have found that even if a site says no appointments are available, if you step through the scheduling process (if there is one), that sometimes appointments do show up.
Signs of Hope…
Efforts around the world have been made to get the spread of COVID under control with hundreds of millions of people already vaccinated.
COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review | CDC:
See the latest US vaccination efforts, trends, and other data.
Coronavirus vaccines continue to help alleviate Long COVID symptoms – BGR:
COVID-19 survivors who have been battling symptoms for weeks and months after defeating the virus have started feeling better after receiving their vaccine shots.
10 stories from the campus community that gave us hope during COVID-19 – SUNY New Paltz News:
The story of COVID-19 in America will always go hand-in-hand with the renewed focus on racial justice following the killing of George Floyd Coronavirus vaccines continue to help alleviate Long-term COVID symptoms
10 Positive COVID Updates From Around the World – 2021 is Looking Brighter (goodnewsnetwork.org):
The number of students applying to medical school for the upcoming 2021 academic year is up by 18%.
Telehealth trends during COVID-19: Mental health, primary care, more (usatoday.com):
The pandemic has necessitated a new era in medicine in which telehealth appointments are a core aspect of the patient-provider relationship.
Telehealth has dramatically increased with improved quality.
Special thanks to Scott Costley for researching this social justice issue
Each station was researched by one or more members of our church community to help provide the detailed information that has been presented. Are you interested in this social justice issue? Do you have additional information or action items that you would like to share? If so, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. These web pages are a dynamic, active work in progress, just like the people of our community!