I queried the head of our local health department as follows:

“A friend and I lead an inclusive ministry church and fellowship supper once a month for people with significant cognitive disabilities. Your webpage on corona has great general guidelines, but we’re wondering about the following specifics for our group:
We know our group will not adhere to guidelines about keeping at a distance, sneezing into Kleenex, not putting rhythm instruments etc. in their mouths etc. At what threat level (e.g. a case in our county or what) do we cancel the service? Other than insisting on using hand sanitizer before eating, are there other specific guidelines you can give us or refer us to for our kind of a group?”

The core team discussed it and ultimately decided to cancel both March and April’s services, feeling it would be better to be cautious than have something bad happen.

Bridge group decided to do potluck instead of going to a fish boil before slugging it out at the bridge table.

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal had a list of pandemic novels to read. Maybe I’ll try one to compare with the reality as it unfolds. The article points out that this is like practicing being afraid to inoculate oneself. The article quotes Stephen King that the pandemic in his novel The Stand is nothing like the corona virus, but I’ll guess he’ll enjoy the increased sales anyway.

Celeste Headlee in her new book Do Nothing explains we’re “overdoing and underliving.” Maybe it’s time to catch up on Lenten reading and praying.

Maybe instead of becoming a part of a zombie apocalypse, binging on news or horror novels, I’ll try to emulate the good doctor in The Plague by Camus and figure out what I can do to help.

I’m trying to figure out what I can do to support folks in assisted living and nursing home facilities who will be getting fewer visitors; so far all I’ve come up with is more frequent phone calls.

Quarantine with its consequent isolations and fears have been around since Leviticus at least. But the necessary social distancing needs to be done in a way that doesn’t add unnecessary emotional isolation. For example if a church wants to eliminate passing the peace with handshakes and hugs, they could keep verbal greetings.  Remember blind folks can’t see smiles!

So, give yourself a hug from me and carry on!