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Coronavirus: What to know, how to help

Coronavirus as viewed under an electron microscope.
Coronavirus as viewed under an electron microscope.

Coronavirus.

Less than five months ago, the word, including references to its official name, COVID-19, was unknown to most of the world. That is not the case today. Amid global governments making unprecedented decisions, United Methodists are living in the reality of worshiping, not inside familiar buildings, but through a variety of streaming technologies, including Facebook Live, Zoom and YouTube. Find where to worship online

Seemingly, there are more questions than answers, including the question, "When will this end?" However, some information remains steadfast, including recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). Social distancing tops the list of simple steps to take to limit risks and exposure to the disease. Above all, anyone feeling unwell should stay home and seek medical care. 

Other tips include:

  1. Wash your hands frequently. Use soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Maintain social distancing. Keep 3 feet or 1 meter between yourself and anyone who is sneezing and coughing.
  3. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Viruses can live on surfaces, where your hands may touch. Once on your hands, the virus may enter your body.
  4. Practice respiratory hygiene. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissue immediately.
  5. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Call ahead for an appointment to limit your exposure to others.
  6. Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider. Stay up-to-date on Coronavirus by checking reliable sources, such as the WHO, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and Global Health Tracker.

Staying healthy is in our DNA

Discussing health in the church dates back to John Wesley, who wrote extensively about staying physically healthy, as well as spiritually healthy. Bishop Elaine Stanovsky, in a recent blog post, reminds United Methodists that holding spiritual and social holiness together is a “mark of Methodist distinction.”

Additionally, she writes, “Part of our Wesleyan heritage as United Methodists is caring for one another, which means caring enough to prevent the spread of a terrible illness.”  

With churches closing physical doors closing, we are encouraged to be creative in how we do church, writes Bishop David Bard, including using electronic media to share worship and Bible study, showing care for one another through phone calls and social media, and continuing to support congregations by giving online or by mail.

How to help

The United Methodist Church, through UMCOR, has been helping with the crisis in China since early February when the United Methodist agency issued an emergency grant to an organization working to limit the spread of coronavirus in China. Since that time, UMCOR's work has extended across the connection.

Funding for all continued assistance is being provided through UMCOR’s Global Health fund and the new COVID-19 Response Fund. Learn more, including how to give to Advance #3022612, at COVID-19 Response Fund.

Information compiled from various sources by United Methodist Communications.

This content has been updated on April 20, 2020, from a previous article published on February 28, 2020.