Has the pandemic caused our love to grow cold?

Never would I have thought I’d be defending my field against attacks from people who’ve never studied epidemiology or infectious diseases. Never would I have thought that believers would be maligning public health officials, questioning science they’ve never studied, drawing conclusions from data they’ve never learned to analyze, and trying to extrapolate this, that, and the other from research they’ve never been a part of. I have a Master of Public Health degree and I’ve worked in clinical trials – managing and overseeing laboratory testing for local and global clinical trials, for drugs and vaccines.

Beyond the tragedies caused by COVID-19, I have been appalled by the rhetoric that has transpired across the globe and namely amongst believers. The angry discourse, suspicion, accusations, slander, discord. First, this is a terrible testimony and secondly, to what end? Have we missed this vital opportunity to extend love and compassion to a mourning world, while we fight tooth and nail over vaccines and the origin of the virus? Seriously, what is the point?

We are commanded to mourn with those who mourn, to be emissaries of peace, and to be a light to the nations. Has our vigor to fight for our individual freedoms caused us to lose sight of the Gospel? And have we allowed our love to grow cold? It’s a sobering question, but imperative to ponder. Two million children have already been orphaned due to COVID-19. But are we too busy trying to dig up dirt on Dr. Fauci to even notice? It’s disturbing for the focus to be on mRNA! The Wuhan lab! The pandemic was planned! When people are literally gasping for their very breath of life.

As it is written, God breathed life into Adam. Job says the breath of the Almighty gives me life. And Ezekiel prophesied to the dry bones and breath entered them, and they came to life. Does that not infuriate you that this minuscule, infectious agent attacks our God-given breath of life? Instead of fighting about every petty thing, why not harness our collective pain and frustration with this virus into fervent prayers to end the global pandemic? Yeshua took compassion on the sick and the suffering, I think our focus should be the same.

A weary world is in desperate need of a message of hope right now. We are to be light bearers of such a great hope, and yet I’m afraid that light has been snuffed out by this obsession to unearth “what’s really going on.” With God’s kingdom in mind, why does that even matter? Yeshua actually says about the beginning of the end times, “see to it that you are not alarmed.” And yet, here we are, believers sounding the alarm that the plots of 1984 and the Brave New World have befallen us. Really? This is our focus right now? What if instead of being wise in our own eyes, we asked ourselves: How can I practically love my neighbor as myself? How can I be the hands and feet of Yeshua during this pandemic?

The point of my writing is not to inundate you with more pandemic information, but I will address a few points:

First, vaccines do not cause viral variants. The variants of COVID-19 developed in locations of rampant and widespread infection (prior to vaccines). Vaccines work to prevent infection, therefore they impede mutations which lead to variants, because viruses need more hosts (people) to further mutate.

If you are a proponent of generating natural immunity to COVID-19, please be aware of the cost – a tremendous loss of life.

Those who like to point to the low mortality rate of COVID-19 (which is actually not low), fail to note that the rate does not capture the scores of people who have fought for their lives in the ICU, and yet have thankfully survived.

“Only the elderly and immuno-compromised are vulnerable to severe infection.” First, this is unequivocally false and secondly, why don’t we want to protect these populations?

And, finally, what about vaccine side effects? I’m well aware of the documented side effects of COVID-19 vaccines, and I will not discount them. But what I want to say is this, every drug and vaccine has a risk-benefit analysis. And while I wish no intervention carried risk, unfortunately they all do. But it must be looked at against the benefits. In regards to COVID-19, there’s really no question in my mind, the risk of COVID-19 is far greater than the risk of vaccines. I’m sure some will argue with me on that, but I’ve seen the data, and I’ve known too many that have suffered or died from COVID-19.

And finally, breakthrough infections do not mean vaccines don’t work. The vaccines were extremely effective against the earlier strains of the virus, but we’re now seeing more breakthrough infections due to the Delta variant. However, the vaccines are still quite effective at preventing severe infection and hospitalization, so yes, they are working.

Though I have given my two cents on the aspects I felt have been most misconstrued, to hone in on my original point: instead of fighting, instead of “sounding the alarm,” can we please focus on what our calling is? The Gospel.