Category : Health & Medicine

(C of E) New findings published in long term study into clergy wellbeing

Moving In Power, Transitions in Ordained Ministry, part of the Living Ministry research project, explores transitions from ordination to curacy and first posts, between posts and in the period before retirement.

The qualitative panel draws on individual and group interviews with 72 clergy and examines their wellbeing based on five dimensions: spiritual and vocational, physical and mental, relationships, financial and material, and participation in the wider church.

The study makes suggestions for good practice for the person in transition, theological education institutions, diocesan officers and senior clergy, parishes and the national church, arguing that each of these has a role to play in supporting ordinands and clergy through periods of transition.

The report also explores underlying dynamics and relationships during transition periods. It includes a theological reflection by the Very Revd Dr Frances Ward, former Dean of St Edmundsbury.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Pastoral Theology

(NYT) There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing

At first, I didn’t recognize the symptoms that we all had in common. Friends mentioned that they were having trouble concentrating. Colleagues reported that even with vaccines on the horizon, they weren’t excited about 2021. A family member was staying up late to watch “National Treasure again even though she knows the movie by heart. And instead of bouncing out of bed at 6 a.m., I was lying there until 7, playing Words with Friends.

It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.

Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.

As scientists and physicians work to treat and cure the physical symptoms of long-haul Covid, many people are struggling with the emotional long-haul of the pandemic. It hit some of us unprepared as the intense fear and grief of last year faded.

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Posted in Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Psychology

(Guardian) Covid19: new vaccines needed globally within a year, say scientists

The planet could have a year or less before first-generation Covid-19 vaccines are ineffective and modified formulations are needed, according to a survey of epidemiologists, virologists and infectious disease specialists.

Scientists have long stressed that a global vaccination effort is needed to satisfactorily neutralise the threat of Covid-19. This is due to the threat of variations of the virus – some more transmissible, deadly and less susceptible to vaccines – that are emerging and percolating.

The grim forecast of a year or less comes from two-thirds of respondents, according to the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of organisations including Amnesty International, Oxfam, and UNAIDS, who carried out the survey of 77 scientists from 28 countries. Nearly one-third of the respondents indicated that the time-frame was likely nine months or less.

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Posted in Globalization, Health & Medicine

(PW) Fear and Hope: When Timothy Keller’s Book Met His Life

“Most books you write after you have gone through an experience, but in this case what was so strange was I was having the experience while writing the book,” he told PW. “When you realize this may be the end and you have this abstract belief in heaven and the promise of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, you have to ask, do I really believe this? So writing the book was really a struggle with that question.”

It’s not much of a spoiler to say that the 70-year-old Keller, founder of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in the sodom known as Manhattan does believe in a literal resurrection of Jesus. While writing, he spent extra time in prayer and “experiencing the presence of the risen Christ,” as he put it. “I was just shocked at how much more experience of God there was than I found before. So I have grown and I have confidence in the resurrection after a combination of faith and experience.”

Keller has buckets of experience as an author. His first title, The Reason for God: Belief in the Age of Skepticism (Dutton, 2008) hit number five on PW’s Bestseller List and sold more than 150,000 copies in its first year. That was followed by more than 20 titles on everything from love to suffering, Christmas to church planting. He hit PW’s twice more, with Prodigal God (Dutton, 2008) and Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (Dutton, 2014), both of which hit the 100,000 copies sold mark. Hope in Times of Fear is intended as a bookend to Hidden Christmas, a holiday book published by Viking in 2016. In between books, Keller became one of the pioneers of the now-standard megachurch model of multi-site worship. Before retiring in 2017, he spent years of Sundays hopscotching across Central Park, going uptown and down, giving three or more sermons a day at Redeemer’s five different sites. Today, there are Redeemer-affiliated churches in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Throughout his publishing career, he has been with one editor — Brian Tart, president and publisher of Viking Penguin. Tart heard about Keller and his popular church in 2006 and headed there one Sunday to hear him preach. “Obviously, he knew the Bible inside and out, but he also took a lot of examples from stories and myths and movies and books. He was really engaged in the cultural conversation of the moment and there wasn’t a barrier of entry for people to understand him. He reached people where they were,” Tart told PW. “That Tim is talking about cancer makes his personal journey to God helpful to people. He is saying ‘I’ve been through a dark time, we all been through a dark time, and yet I feel this great reservoir of hope.”

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Posted in Anthropology, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(WSJ) U.S. Households Primed to Boost Spending After Brief Lull

Cold weather—including storms that shut down sections of Texas and other states—prevented many people from dining out, ordering food online or going to stores last month. Household incomes also likely fell from abnormally high levels in January, when the government distributed stimulus checks of up to $600 a person in most households under a $900 billion economic-relief plan approved by Congress late last year. That law also provided enhanced employment benefits of $300 a week for jobless workers.

A spending surge is likely in the offing. Millions of people each day are getting a Covid-19 vaccine, and many are starting to venture out in public and shop and travel. Meanwhile, the federal government this month is sending out yet another round of stimulus money—this time checks of up to $1,400, a part of another Covid-19 relief package worth $1.9 trillion signed by President Biden. The aid—along with other measures by lenders and landlords to suspend consumers’ monthly payments on debt during the pandemic—has left many households sitting on a pile of cash.

That combo—higher incomes and a rising number of people shielded from the worse effects of the deadly virus—is expected to unleash a burst of economic activity in coming weeks, as many Americans resume activities they have put off for a year.

“When they’re let out of the house, there is some pent-up demand, and they’re going to go out into the restaurants” as well as travel and shop, said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Nicolaus & Co.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Health & Medicine

(CC) Peter Marty–Six predictions for the post-pandemic church

….as social gathering places (at least ones where people can meet without paying) get put on the endangered species list and remote work opportunities cocoon more and more people, as anchoring institutions of society move their activities online and plenty of us shift our purchasing, learning, and even medical care to the internet, the gathered church becomes an ever more precious entity.

Thirst will increase for authentic community where moral formation and relationships of meaning can prosper. In social isolation, we have learned the truth of Frederick Buechner’s words: “You can survive on your own; you can grow strong on your own; you can prevail on your own; but you cannot become human on your own.” Congregations will play a heightened role in providing thick human community.

Second, worship during the pandemic has taught us that churches can be liberated from a fixation on counting. Church leaders have worked feverishly over the last year to try to calculate their church rolls and virtual attendance figures. But faith at its center is a transcendent mystery that refuses to be measured. Numbers depersonalize. If denominations and congregations can catch the spirit, there’s refreshing new freedom to be found in leaving religious bean counting behind.

Third, the ability to conduct worthwhile ministry online throughout the pandemic has upended some of our obsessiveness over our church buildings. We’ve learned to live rich lives of faith independent of them. By the same token, we’ve also seen scores of people moved to tears just reentering sacred spaces that have shaped their spiritual and emotional being. Our extended experience with virtual church may allow us to appreciate our buildings as hubs for mission without idolizing them—a healthy reset.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Archbishop of York) Stephen Cottrell: Covid-19 has brought us to our knees – now I pray we rise up

Even though our poorest communities have suffered disproportionally, there can be no ‘me and you’ or ‘them and us’ with Covid. It must be we. Covid will not be dealt with anywhere until it is dealt with everywhere.

The most obvious sign of this is the vaccine programme itself. It is wonderful that our country is taking the lead. But we won’t get beyond Covid until the whole world is vaccinated.

This rediscovery of a most basic human truth, that my well-being is tied up with my neighbour’s well-being, should now be the guiding principle for all public policy as we move forward.

Secondly, and flowing from the realisation that we belong to each other, we have learned to appreciate the real dignity and value of people’s labour: especially those whose jobs we may have considered menial and unimportant a year ago.

Who would have thought that alongside the heroes of the National Health Service’s inspiring example of selfless care, we would have also come to value those who stock the supermarket shelves or drive the delivery vans or volunteer in food banks?

We used to measure each other’s worth by the size of their salary. Now it must be the size of their heart.

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture

Archbishop Justin Welby’s reflection on Radio 4’s Thought For The Day on the first anniversary of the UK’s national lockdown

One of the great songs of lament to God in the bible begins “by the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept.”. An anniversary is a time to lament, to mourn, to sit and weep for what could have been and is not. Pause for a while today, remember what has been lost, above all who has been lost. Lament – for to do so is to honour and treasure. As a Christian I follow and love Jesus Christ who loved and mourned his friends, his country, suffering.

Anniversaries are also moments of new beginnings. It is just a day. But it is also a moment. And one of the signs of being human – of being spiritual as well as material – is that we make moments that pass into moments of significance. The anniversary calls on us to ask where we are going?

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Health & Medicine, History, Religion & Culture

(C of E) Bells to toll and thousands of candles to be lit for National Day of Reflection today

The words Reflect, Support and Hope will be projected in yellow on the front of Lichfield Cathedral, while Blackburn and Leicester cathedrals will light thousands of candles to mark lives lost, to mark the National Day of Reflection.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral will suspend two hundred tear drops above the altar and Chelmsford Cathedral will be transformed into a vibrant space of colour and light.

In Portsmouth churches will deliver more than 50 boxes of chocolates along with cards to GP surgeries, care homes and schools in the area as a gesture of thanks to key workers for their contribution during the pandemic.

Area Dean of Portsmouth, Revd Canon Bob White, said: “We are very aware of the stresses and pressures they have faced over the past year and want to thank them and let them know that they are in our prayers.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Health & Medicine, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina-Pivoting during the Pandemic

ADOSC: Pivoting during the Pandemic from The Anglican Diocese of SC on Vimeo.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry

(Greenville News) South Carolina Covid19 fight: Improvement plateauing, officials concerned about spring break, Easter

South Carolina continues to dramatically improved its pandemic fight, but officials are urging people to not let their guard down as spring break and Easter gatherings approach.

The improvements have been across the board: More vaccinations are being given, deaths and new cases remain at levels not seen since before Thanksgiving and warmer weather is expected to help, too.

But state officials are warning that the upcoming spring break, Easter celebrations and other spring activities could cause rebounds if people let down their guard.

Already, the improvements are plateauing, said Dr. Jane Kelly, assistant state epidemiologist with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, during a Friday afternoon call with reporters.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, State Government

(Barna) ChurchPulse Weekly Conversations: John Mark Comer on Pastoral Rhythms

[John Mark] Comer reflects on the ways in which this past year has forced him to recognize how little control he has over circumstances, especially when it comes to the impossibility of pleasing everyone as a leader. He reflects, “It is literally impossible to lead through a year like 2020 and 2021 and not have a whole bunch of people upset about you. There’s such a broad range of opinion issues—social distancing and masks, right and left, people who want you to be political and others who don’t.”

One of the invitations Comer sees for leaders in this difficult season is the ability to accept reality and limitations as they are and move from a place of fear into love. Comer notes, “When we are fearful of something, we need the world to go a certain way, we need people to act toward us in a certain way in order to act toward them in love. As long as we [desire control], we’ll always sabotage our growth into people of faith, hope and love. As the mystics would say, at the root of fear is a need for control.”

He adds, “The last year has exposed the illusion that we’re more in control of our life than we actually are. It has given all of us an invitation to either freak out and rant or to actually begin to accept reality and move to a place of trusting love.”

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology

(University of Cambridge) Is Social Media Changing Your Life?

“Social media is inherently complex, but trying to set guidelines for ‘consumption’ the same way we do for alcohol or food – as policy makers have tried and failed to do – is a massive oversimplification,” says Orben.

Everybody uses social media differently, and it affects our lives in such a diversity of ways, that setting a recommended daily screen time is far from simple.

Orben adds: “You could use it for twenty minutes to keep in touch with family abroad, or twenty minutes to look at self-harm images on Instagram, for example. The relationship with mental health is really complicated.”

She has found that adolescents who use more social media score lower on mental health questionnaires – but it’s not clear whether social media makes them feel worse, or whether they turn to social media more when they feel worse. And of course, social media isn’t the only thing affecting how adolescents feel.

“There are other things like sleep, parenting, and environment that all affect wellbeing. I don’t think we have the evidence yet to say we should invest lots of money into decreasing social media use, and not invest in other things like youth clubs or better mental health care for adolescents,” she says.

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Posted in --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Science & Technology

(C of E) Millions join worship online as churches bring services into the home in pandemic year

Clips and content from the services have been seen 40 million times on social media channels.

The Church of England’s prayer and discipleship apps – in which people can join in ancient services of morning and evening prayer from wherever they are – have been accessed eight million times, up 50 per cent on the previous year.

The figures for online services are thought to be just the tip of the iceberg as churches’ response to the challenge of the pandemic triggered a major change in the way Christians worship and reach out to their neighbours.

At least 20,000 services and other online events are now listed on the Church of England’s ‘church-finder’ website AChurchNearYou. A year ago there were none.

And a special hymn download service, designed for local churches to use as part of online worship, has seen more than a million downloads.

As churches look ahead to an expected easing of restrictions and more public gatherings, many are assessing how to incorporate the lessons of the last year into their regular patterns of worship and outreach after the pandemic.

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Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Bloomberg) CEOs Become Vaccine Activists as Back-to-Office Push Grows

Some chief executive officers are so eager for their employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19 that they’re granting workers time off or cash incentives to get shots.

In the U.S., retailer Lidl is giving its staff $200, while Aldi, Dollar General Corp. and Trader Joe’s Co. are offering extra hours of pay. Online grocery delivery firm Instacart Inc. is providing a $25 stipend for workers and contractors. Yogurt makers Chobani LLC and Danone SA are offering as much as six hours of paid leave, and the French company says it will cover the cost of inoculation in countries where vaccines aren’t free.

Other companies are taking a harder line. U.K. handyman empire Pimlico Plumbers Ltd. has said it plans a “no jab, no job” policy for new members of its workforce. United Airlines wants to make shots mandatory, drawing concerns from unions.

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Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Somerset County Gazette) Bishop of Bath and Wells retires due to leukaemia battle

THE Bishop of Bath and Wells is retiring early due to his cancer battle.

The Right Reverend Peter Hancock is currently recovering from treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia.

He has been receiving treatment since last August.

In a letter to the diocese, he wrote that while he had been hoping to return to work before long, his hospital consultant has said he will need to spend many months recovering.

“So after much prayer and reflection, I believe this means that I need to take early retirement on medical grounds,” he said.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Health & Medicine

(Local Paper) Line stretches across East Side block as church offers walk-in coronavirus vaccines

While thousands of South Carolinians who are newly eligible for the coronavirus vaccine struggle to get an appointment, a Charleston church and pharmacy found a way to immunize members of their East Side community on a walk-in basis.

They were regular attendees and people who’d never before seen the inside of Ebenezer AME Chruch’s education building, Nassau Street neighbors and suburb residents who crossed rivers get to the event. But they hoped, by the end of the day, to have one thing in common: a Johnson & Johnson vaccine in their arms.

In a three-hour sprint on March 13, Ebenezer AME and Focus: Meds Pharmacy & Wellness hoped to vaccinate as many people as possible, Rev. William Swinton Jr. said. As part of the strategy, they decided to make the event a first-come, first-served, avoiding the online registration process that’s befuddled many South Carolinians in Phase 1B.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(NYT) Clergy Preach Faith in the Covid Vaccine to Doubters

During a recent Sunday service at the Gathering Place, an evangelical church in Orlando, Fla., the Rev. Gabriel Salguero focused his sermon on the Covid-19 vaccine, and the fear and suspicion that his largely Latino congregation clutches so tightly.

He turned to the New Testament: the parable of the good Samaritan, about the importance of aiding the stranger.

“In getting yourself vaccinated, you are helping your neighbor,” he preached to about 300 masked and socially distanced worshipers. “God wants you to be whole so you can care for your community. So think of vaccines as part of God’s plan.”

Mr. Salguero is among thousands of clergy members from a cross-section of faiths — imams, rabbis, priests, swamis — who are trying to coax the hesitant to get vaccinated against Covid-19. By weaving scripture with science, they are employing the singular trust vested in them by their congregations to dispel myths and disinformation about the shots. Many are even offering their sanctuaries as vaccination sites, to make the experience more accessible and reassuring.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Wash Post) Vaccinated lives: 5 health experts revel in simple pleasures

Andrew T. Pavia, professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases, University of Utah:

Pavia is fully vaccinated and his wife, who teaches at the University of Utah’s business school, is about to get her second shot. To celebrate, he said, the couple are planning their first potluck dinner with two other couples, who will all be vaccinated in the next two weeks.

“We’re excited about that,” Pavia said. “Until now, we’ve always gotten together outdoors, and doing that in Utah in the winter means lot of layers of down.”

They’re also eagerly awaiting a reunion with their daughter for the first time in more than a year. She is a physician like her father, and also vaccinated. She’s flying to Salt Lake City from Cincinnati, but the Delta Air Lines flight is only two hours, and the middle seats are being left empty, he said. Even for the vaccinated, there are some risks associated with travel because they may be able to get asymptomatic infection and transmit that to others. But she is young, vaccinated and otherwise healthy, Pavia said, and faces a low risk.

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Posted in Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(FT) President Biden to tell states to make all adults eligible for Covid jab by May 1

Last month, the president would only commit to a return to normal by Christmas, citing uncertainty over how quickly the administration could ramp up its vaccination drive.

Biden will announce the new target during his first televised primetime address to the nation since his inauguration in January.

“He will communicate to Americans that, if we all do our part, there’s a good chance that families, friends, neighbours, will be able to gather in small groups to celebrate Independence Day on July 4,” a senior administration official said. “The next phase of our wartime effort will help us get closer to normal by July 4, Independence Day,” they added.

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Joe Biden

A National Day of Reflection for the first anniversary of lockdown

The Church of England, Marie Curie, Hope UK, Care for the Family, Ataloss and many charities and organisations across the UK, will join forces on Tuesday 23rd March for a National Day of Reflection to commemorate the first anniversary of the nationwide Coronavirus lockdown.

York Minster will open from 11.30am to welcome people for prayer, quiet reflection and to light candles for family, friends and loved ones. The Minster will fall still at 12 noon for a national one minute silence. A Chaplain will be present throughout the day.

The Revd Michael Smith, Canon Pastor at York Minster said: “This unprecedented event has touched communities all over the world. There has been heart-breaking loss of life, disruption to every sphere of life, enforced isolation that has been extremely difficult to endure and severe economic strain. Even the most basic human interactions such as comforting the sick and dying, or attending a funeral have been impossible for many.

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, History, Religion & Culture, Uncategorized

(NYT Dealbook) Rescue Package Includes $86 Billion Bailout for Failing Pensions

Tucked inside the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that cleared the Senate on Saturday is an $86 billion aid package that has nothing to do with the pandemic.

Rather, the $86 billion is a taxpayer bailout for about 185 union pension plans that are so close to collapse that without the rescue, more than a million retired truck drivers, retail clerks, builders and others could be forced to forgo retirement income.

The bailout targets multiemployer pension plans, which bring groups of companies together with a union to provide guaranteed benefits. All told, about 1,400 of the plans cover about 10.7 million active and retired workers, often in fields like construction or entertainment where the workers move from job to job. As the work force ages, an alarming number of the plans are running out of money. The trend predated the pandemic and is a result of fading unions, serial bankruptcies and the misplaced hope that investment income would foot most of the bill so that employers and workers wouldn’t have to.

Both the House and Senate stimulus measures would give the weakest plans enough money to pay hundreds of thousands of retirees — a number that will grow in the future — their full pensions for the next 30 years. The provision does not require the plans to pay back the bailout, freeze accruals or to end the practices that led to their current distress, which means their troubles could recur. Nor does it explain what will happen when the taxpayer money runs out 30 years from now.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pensions, Politics in General, Senate, The U.S. Government

(ProPublica) The lost Year: What the Pandemic Cost Teenagers

As time has gone on, evidence has grown on one side of the equation: the harm being done to children by restricting their “circulation.” There is the well-documented fall-off in student academic performance at schools that have shifted to virtual learning, which, copious evidence now shows, is exacerbating racial and class divides in achievement. This toll has led a growing number of epidemiologists, pediatricians and other physicians to argue for reopening schools as broadly as possible, amid growing evidence that schools are not major venues for transmission of the virus.

As many of these experts have noted, the cost of restrictions on youth has gone beyond academics. The CDC found that the proportion of visits to the emergency room by adolescents between ages 12 and 17 that were mental-health-related increased 31% during the span of March to October 2020, compared with the same months in 2019. A study in the March 2021 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, of people aged 11 to 21 visiting emergency rooms found “significantly higher” rates of “suicidal ideation” during the first half of 2020 (compared to 2019), as well as higher rates of suicide attempts, though the actual number of suicides remained flat.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Sports, Teens / Youth

South Carolina Moves to Phase 1b of COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Today

Governor Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced today that South Carolina will advance to Phase 1b of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan beginning Monday, March 8.

“Throughout South Carolina’s vaccination efforts, our priority has been – and continues to be – saving lives,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “In the month of February, South Carolina made tremendous progress on expanding access to vaccinations as the supply of vaccine increased. Our hospitals, pharmacies and healthcare providers became more nimble and efficient at getting shots in arms. Because of these successes, we’re now in a position to make the majority of South Carolinians eligible to receive the vaccine.”

“South Carolina remains focused on protecting the lives and health of South Carolinians from COVID-19,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director. “With the significant increase in vaccine supply and progress in vaccinating people in group 1a, front-line health care workers and those aged 65 and over, we are now ready to move to our next phase. Our state’s vaccine plan prioritizes those with greatest risk, while ensuring equal access to the vaccine for every South Carolinian aged 16 and over.”

South Carolina’s phased approach to its COVID-19 vaccine rollout recognizes the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 increases with age, and people with certain medical conditions and occupations are at higher risk of exposure to the virus.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, State Government

(Anglican Diocese of SC) Jay Crouse–Reflections on God’s Unexpected Pandemic Gifts

Gone! There was not really one obvious event which brought the pandemic into our reality. Not like when JFK was assassinated or 9/11. Everyone remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing when those tragedies occurred. Not so with the 2020 coronavirus.

It crept up on us. With some believing it was no more dangerous than the annual flu epidemic. Creeping, creeping, creeping and then it was gone. Not the virus but our freedoms!

Many of us were in shock for weeks trying to comprehend what was happening, others suffered the awful shock of losing a loved one to the virus. Some have created “bubbles” which include a few people, mostly family members, with whom they can have physical contact. Social distancing for social people? How awkward and uncomfortable. 14 day quarantined? A worldwide pandemic. Loss of our freedom to worship. How debilitating.

I am not sure when I first heard this phrase, but upon hearing it, it consumed my sequestered thoughts: “Why is God doing this for us?” A twist on the “Why is God doing this to us.” If you pause, as I have over these past months, you might be overwhelmed with appreciation for the answers you come up with….

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Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Theodicy, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Mayo, Charles Menninger and Their Sons

Divine Physician, your Name is blessed for the work and witness of the Mayos and the Menningers, and the revolutionary developments that they brought to the practice of medicine. As Jesus went about healing the sick as a sign of the reign of God come near, bless and guide all those inspired to the work of healing by thy Holy Spirit, that they may follow his example for the sake of thy kingdom and the health of thy people; through the same Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Health & Medicine, Spirituality/Prayer

(Forbes) 49% Of Americans Who Lost Pay In Covid Pandemic Still Have not Returned to Their Previous Income Level

Nearly half of all U.S. adults who took pay cuts during the Covid-19 pandemic still have not returned to their previous incomes, according to a Pew Research Center report released Friday, indicating the pandemic’s lasting impact on many Americans’ finances.

Some 44% of American adults told Pew in a late January poll that somebody in their household has either lost a job or endured a pay cut since February 2020.

Among Americans who took a pay cut in the last year, 49% say they still make less money than they did prior to the pandemic, compared to 34% who earn roughly the same amount as before and 16% whose pay has increased.

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Posted in Economy, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance

(NYT) Brazil’s Covid Crisis Is a Warning to the Whole World, Scientists Say

Covid-19 has already left a trail of death and despair in Brazil, one of the worst in the world. Now, a year into the pandemic, the country is setting another wrenching record.

No other nation that experienced such a major outbreak is still grappling with record-setting death tolls and a health care system on the brink of collapse. Many other hard-hit nations are, instead, taking tentative steps toward a semblance of normalcy.

But Brazil is battling a more contagious variant that has trampled one major city and is spreading to others, even as Brazilians toss away precautionary measures that could keep them safe.

On Tuesday, Brazil recorded more than 1,700 Covid-19 deaths, the highest single-day toll of the pandemic.

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Posted in Brazil, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, South America

(CEN) Lockdown has benefits for marriage, says study

The number of couples considering divorce dropped by two-thirds compared to before the pandemic according to a new study.

The study, from the Marriage Foundation, looked at 3,005 parents who completed the UK Household Longitudinal Coronavirus survey from the ONS. The data, which covers the period up to the end of September found little change since June.

Just 1 per cent of married dads and 0.7 per cent of married mums said they were considering divorce. This compared to 0.6 per cent and 1.1 per cent in June. Both these figures were lower when compared to pre-COVID times. Asked the same question between 2017-19, an average of 2.5 per cent of married dads and 5.6 per cent of married mums said they were considering divorce.

Harry Benson, the Marriage Foundation’s Research Director commented: “This data busts the myth that there is going to be a divorce boom anytime soon. Both this study and the previous one, published last year suggests the opposite, that spending more time with your husband or wife is beneficial for many of the UK’s 12.8 million married couples.

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Posted in England / UK, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(WSJ) Prayer and Science Led Me to the Vaccine

As a father, grandfather, pastor and community leader, I grasped the importance of understanding the vaccine. That meant getting the facts early on from the most qualified scientists and doctors. A panel discussion I hosted early in January with several of the nation’s leading infectious-disease experts—including Anthony Fauci, Kizzmekia Corbett and Yale medical professor Onyema Ogbuagu —provided a thorough description of the vaccine-development process. Particularly helpful were the details supplied by Dr. Corbett, a young black woman and key scientist behind the development of Moderna’s novel mRNA vaccine.

I received invaluable advice from my longtime physician, a black woman and member of my church who has herself received the vaccine. Because I believe in the multitude of counsel, I also spoke with several leading infectious-disease specialists here in the Dallas area, a metropolis that is home to many globally renowned health-care facilities.

Eventually, it came down to common sense. I am a 63-year-old black man, a little overweight and with an underlying health condition. The vaccine has been proven to diminish chances of people like me getting the virus. To date, the vaccine’s side effects have been minimal or nonexistent. It’s true that no one knows anything about potential long-term side effects. But here’s what we do know: The virus has killed more than 500,000 people in this country alone, but the vaccine has yet to kill a single person. Moreover, there is a great deal of information about lingering debilitating symptoms among those who survive the virus.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture