The big news this week seems to be centered on the so called corona virus.
It has caused turmoil in many countries where it has begun to spread. Originating in China it has now spread to South Korea, Italy, Japan and 30 other countries. In countries where it is widespread governments have taken measures such as mass quarantines in an attempt to stop its spread.
In China the result of the virus and the subsequent quarantines have caused disruptions in products that come to the United States from China. Estimates are that up to 70% of Chinese exports have stopped. Similar disruptions seem about to happen in South Korea and Japan as these governments try to stop its spread.
These disruptions have caused turmoil in the stock market as investors attempt to deal with the business losses that are occurring due to these disruptions.
The virus itself is a new strain of a SARS like virus. It is a new virus that has made the leap from animals to humans thus there seems to be no natural immunity to it. As of now it seems that 2 to 3 percent of those who contract it will die. In addition up to 20% of those who contract it will end up with symptoms that are severe enough to require hospitalization. The virus targets the lower respiratory system which in these severe cases end up as a viral pneumonia.
What does the bible say about disease? It tells us that as the return of Christ gets closer pestilences, or diseases, will grow worse and worse.
Matthew 24:7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
The words of Jesus are also paralleled in Revelation 6. Four horses, representing the same things Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24, are mentioned. The fourth horse is pestilence.
Revelation 6:7 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come and see."
Revelation 6:8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.
The word translated "pale" is greenish...the greenish color of sickness. So it seems that disease and sickness are inevitable as we get closer to the end of this present world system.
Here's the question: As Christians should we be worrying about this? The short answer is no.
Whether this is stopped or whether it spreads should not make us unduly worried or upset. We know that it is part of God's plan. God is attempting to show mankind that OUR ways, a way without God, will not work. He is preparing the world for the return of Jesus Christ.
What can or should we do in the short run? Prayer is certainly our most effective tool. Pray that God would have mercy on those who are suffering. Pray that God would protect us. Ultimately it's all in God's hands and that should be a source of hope and encouragement to us.
What about physically? The Department of Homeland Security issued these guidelines presumably in the event of a wider spread and possible in-home quarantines.
- Store a two week supply of water and food.
- Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
- Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
- Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference. Get help accessing electronic health records.
- Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
These are wise practices anyways and we would do well to follow them.
In addition IF the Corona virus becomes widespread these steps are recommended to avoid illness:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Again these are wise practices and echo God's practice of self-quarantine. If we are ill from an infectious disease we should avoid contact with others. Do not come to services and bring your sickness to others.
Brethren, continue to pray to God and trust that he knows what's best for us and for the world When we see the news stories and possible panic this disease may or may not bring let's remember that God is in charge and that he loves us.
Take care and see you soon!