Amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, two churches in Georgia and Texas were reopened recently. However, the churches were compelled to close again after churchgoers and religious leaders tested positive for COVID-19.
Religion or pandemic containment?
The Georgia church was closed as coronavirus started spreading in all nooks of the United States. But it was opened a couple of weeks back as Governor Brian Kemp eased down the lockdown restriction measures. At the time of opening the church, authorities had asked believers to maintain strict social distancing measures.
As coronavirus spread again among devotees and religious leaders, the church decided to shut down all in-person services. After closing the church, religious leaders revealed that the decision was made to ensure the wellbeing of believers and their families.
A report published in ABC News revealed that another church in Texas was also shut down following the death of Father Donnell Kirchner. Even though Kirchner's cause of death is unknown, the archdiocese revealed that the priest was diagnosed with pneumonia before his death. It should be noted that five of the seven members of Kirchner's religious order were tested positive for coronavirus recently, and it has created panic among believers who visited the church these days.
Are social distancing measures ineffective?
In the initial days of the coronavirus outbreak, medical experts have requested the public to maintain a safe distance of 2 meters while interacting with others. However, a recent study conducted by MIT researchers had suggested that coronavirus could have a farther reach than previous calculations.
Lydia Bourouiba, an associate professor at MIT suggested that coronavirus could reach a distance of up to 8 meters when the virus carrier is coughing and sneezing.
"There's an urgency in revising the guidelines currently being given by the WHO and the CDC on the needs for protective equipment, particularly for the frontline health care workers," Bourouiba told USA Today.