Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.
Many churches across the Tri-State canceled in-person worship services Sunday to help protect members from coronavirus. But despite suggestions from top politicians, some churches kept their doors open.
“We need to be around other people,” said Brian Tome, Crossroads Senior Pastor. “Jesus told us to love one another, to love our neighbor.”
But this Sunday’s services got a more modern take.
"It’s not like we’re canceling services; we’re just moving it online,” Tome said.
He was responding to calls from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear to cancel large gatherings, and Tome could understand why.
"As the data came in, you realize, ‘Oh no. This is a legit crisis,'” Tome said.
So Crossroads closed its doors and opened its browsers. Tome said having online service without a congregation was a tough pill to swallow.
“It’s so much more fulfilling to have real people in the audience, because you get to see their face,” Tome said.
Meanwhile, at Corinthian Baptist Church, the shouts for God shook the walls.
“This is not the time to panic; this is the time to pray,” said Senior Pastor KZ Smith.
“Everybody is looking for a cure. But we believe the real cure is going to come from God.”
Arnetta Whitehead was one of the church members who wasn’t afraid to come Sunday.
“God called me to be here,” she said.
With sanitizer on hand, there were no concerns.
“No worries,” said another church member. “Even if I get sick, I know God will heal me.”
Still, the pastor said, the church took precautions. But at the end of the day?
“Definitely our land, America, and the world need healing,” Smith said. "We just believe that when people come together to pray, healing will take place.”
“This too shall pass,” said Whitehead.
Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:
- Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
- See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.
- State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
- See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.
- SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail email@example.com
- See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.
What is coronavirus, COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.
The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.
What are the symptoms? How does it spread?
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.
The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.
Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.
The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.