Dear CBCM Church Family,
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling… The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46:1-3, 7.
Psalm 46 is a powerful Psalm to remind us who are followers of Jesus to place our trust in the God who is in control, especially during times of troubles, instead of letting fear control us. The coronavirus has caused much real pain and suffering for the people within China, especially in Wuhan, and it also has caused much fear, panic, and anxiety for people who are outside of China. During this time of uncertainty and concerns, we would do well to revisit the words of Psalm 46, and remember that the Lord of hosts is with us and He is our fortress. While we should be informed and take the necessary precautions with regard to the coronavirus, and pray earnestly for those who are infected, we must not live in fear and panic. To this end, we hope the following update will also be of some help to you:
Much information and official guidance about the novel coronavirus relevant to those of us living in America, have become available since the church posted online more than 2 weeks ago. To help CBCM update her web-based information, a few individuals from CBCM with expertise in public health have kindly agreed to review these recent developments and recommendations from the US public health authorities. For better understanding of the updates described below, resources are hyperlinked to help you find additional information.
Despite increases in the number of novel coronavirus infections in China and the frequency of travel between the US and China prior to the ban on travel to/from China, only a limited number of cases have been identified in the US. As of February 7, all novel coronavirus cases reported in the US are individuals who have arrived from China (10 cases), or are family members in the US (2 cases) who were in close contacts with infected individuals returning from China. The virus is not known to spread through casual contact. Those who are at the greatest risk of infection are travelers from China, and close contacts, like family members or health care workers, of infected individuals. According to the CDC, the novel coronavirus is NOT currently spreading in the American general public, and the immediate health risk for the general public is considered low.
Summary of novel coronavirus status in the US:
- There are few confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the US.
- Those at higher risk for novel coronavirus infection are travelers to China and close contacts of infected individuals.
- Unlike influenza (flu), the novel coronavirus is not circulating in our community.
- The risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus for the general public is considered low.
If you have visited China in the last 14 days, follow the CDC Health Travel Alert Notice:
- Stay home and monitor your health for 14 days.
- Take your temperature with a thermometer 2 times a day and monitor your health.
- If you develop a fever (100.4F/38C), cough, or have difficulty breathing:
- Call your health department for advice before seeking care.
- If you can’t reach your health department, call ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room.
- Tell them your symptoms and that you were in China.
- Do not go to any other public location or gathering.
Countries other than China have also reported coronavirus infections. Most cases are related to travel from China with a limited number of cases acquired from within the country. No country where the virus is known to have spread has declared a local outbreak. Therefore, if you have returned from Asia (including Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan) and have participated in activities or gathered in areas where travelers from China frequented, we, the church leadership, recommend you consider limiting your social activities and monitor your health for 14 days upon return, as well. We want to emphasize that this is not an official CDC recommendation and the current risk for exposure to coronavirus in other countries is low. However, your voluntary precaution would be a courtesy and might help ease the concerns of individuals who might be less informed of the situation.
For everyone else, the CDC recommends that you take the usual precautions to prevent getting sick from respiratory infections, especially since we are at the peak of the flu season (get the flu vaccine if you have not done so).These preventive measures are the same as recommended by the CDC for the prevention of coronavirus
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
The US public health experts are monitoring the situation closely. We encourage you to follow and keep updated with the guidelines from reliable public health sources and authorities such as the CDC. Due to the wide usage of social media, there has been much misinformation on this issue, causing unnecessary fears and anxieties.
In closing, let us return to Psalm 46. The last two verses of Psalm 46 tell us:
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Psalm 46:10-11)
Instead acting in panic or fear, let us be still before our God and remind ourselves that He is the exalted almighty God who is greater than any virus. Let us remember that while we should be wise and take precautions during this uncertain time, God’s Word consistently reminds us that we who are followers of Jesus must walk by faith, not by sight (nor fear or feeling) (2nd Corinthians 5:7), and we should not live like those without hope (1st Thessalonians 4:13), because we serve a sovereign, almighty, and loving God (Romans 8:37-39). Let us not be anxious and fearful during this situation, but rather keep praying (Philippians 4:6-7) and serve God all the more.
Let us continue to pray for:
- comfort for those who have lost loved ones;
- the local churches in outbreak areas, that they can be salt and light in this situation for God;
- the safety and effectiveness of medical professionals to diagnose and treat the patients;
- the leadership at all levels to contain this outbreak;
- the wellbeing of CBCM brothers and sisters who are in or travelling to Asia.
Pastor Hugo & CBCM Leadership
•如果發燒（100.4F / 38C）、咳嗽或呼吸困難：
- 如果沒有肥皂和水，可以使用含有至少 60% 酒精的酒精類手部消毒液。看到手髒了必須用肥皂和水清洗。
- 咳嗽或打噴嚏時，用紙巾遮住，然後將紙巾丟進垃圾桶。經常用家用清潔噴霧或消毒 紙巾清潔消毒經常碰到的物體表面。
最後，讓我們回顧詩篇46的最後兩節：“他 止 息 刀 兵 ， 直 到 地 極 ； 他 折 弓 、 斷 槍 ， 把 戰 車 焚 燒 在 火 中 。 你 們 要 休 息 ， 要 知 道 我 是 神 ！ 我 必 在 外 邦 中 被 尊 崇 ， 在 遍 地 上 也 被 尊 崇 。”萬軍之耶和華與我們同在。雅各的神是我們的堡壘。”（詩篇46：10-11）
Asian American Health Initiative of Montgomery County have given the web links and the attached resources for your information.蒙郡美裔亞洲人促進健康中心提供以下的一些連線, 方便弟兄姊妹搜尋相關的資源:
From Montgomery County Government.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread-chinese.html (simplified Chinese)
Let us keep seeking the Lord for guidance and help during this challenging time. May our faith in Him be stronger than our fear!