It’s been more than eight months since COVID-19 began to wreak havoc on the
US population. And throughout these eight months, we’ve all come to know
and understand exactly how the virus spreads – i.e. through infected people
sharing the virus with others. We’ve also known exactly what each of us can do
to help slow the spread of the virus: wear a facemask, avoid close contact with
others, wash our hands frequently, and avoid touching our faces. We know
what the symptoms of COVID-19 are, and we understand that those of us who
are exhibiting the symptoms should self-quarantine to keep from infecting
others in case we happen to be positive for COVID-19.
We’ve known these things for several months, as they’ve been repeated and
re-emphasized by health experts and local government officials on a weekly
basis. And yet, just as the holiday season is approaching, the number of COVID-
19 cases nationwide has again begun to rise. It’s as if knowing what we know
hasn’t really helped very much. Why is this so?
Simply put, it’s people being people. Some people are simply “rule-breakers”
by nature – i.e. they tend to resist being told what to do or how to do it. Some
people are suspicious of science or medical experts or news reports which
come from particular outlets. Some people think they are practically immune
from COVID-19 because of their relatively young age or good health. And some
people who followed the safety protocols for several months have just “quit”
because they’re weary of the inconveniences and restrictions involved. For
these individuals, our shared knowledge is of minimal value because there are
other factors which shape how these people think and make decisions.
The result is that we have a death toll which could have been greatly reduced if
we had simply used what we know to guide our actions. Some of us have lost
friends or family members due to COVID-19, and we’re left to wonder if they
might still be with us if more people would simply do the right thing.
In the epistle of James, the writer issues a warning to his readers in 4:17:
“Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, sins.” If we
know that following the safety protocols is the right thing to do because it
keeps everyone safe, then we could be sinning against God by not doing so.
For the safety of all of us, please do what’s right and follow the protocols.