Question:

I am in a battle with some of my family members regarding following the CDC guidelines concerning COVID 19 (they are reckless). With the numbers going up where I live, I have chosen to follow the guidelines regarding wearing a mask in public and social distancing, and not socializing between households. My family members chastise me by telling me that God is our ultimate face mask and there is no need to follow man's guidelines. I tell them all the time that I trust God, and I also know that He provides tools to keep us safe according to His will. Their way of thinking scares me, but I also know that God is in control of all things and He is with us everywhere we go. We are about to take a trip to a part of the country where the numbers are quite high for a wellness check for a member of our family, and family members are refusing to heed the CDC and say that I don't trust God in all things, which I do. Because of their reckless behavior, I am at a dilemma as to socializing with them on this trip.

I am looking for godly wisdom as we move forward as a family.

Answer:

"If no one knows what will happen, who can tell him when it will happen? No man has authority to restrain the wind with the wind, or authority over the day of death; and there is no discharge in the time of war, and evil will not deliver those who practice it" (Ecclesiastes 8:7-8).

As I was thinking about how to answer your question, I stopped at a fast-food restaurant for some sandwiches to take home. At the window, I notice that all the employees had masks. One was hanging from the cashier's ear and two people had them under their chins. At least the person preparing the food had her mouth covered, though not her nose. I'm not upset. I still enjoyed the sandwich. But my point is that people are people. They will avoid rules they don't agree with.

We also need to realize that the CDC is a human organization. It makes mistakes. It waffled for a while about whether masks would limit the spread of the virus or not. In fact, it appears that its biggest difficulty was that it was issuing rules when it did not really know if those rules were necessary. The result is that people lost their trust.

A third point that must be considered is that, in general, we have a poor track record in regards to stopping the spread of diseases. The only disease that has been eliminated in the general population is smallpox. We can slow down the spread for a while, but we never can stop it. The early concern was that CoVid-19 would overwhelm the hospital systems. That is why it was stated that the curve needed to be flattened. But a flattened curve also means the spread of the disease remains high for a longer period of time because you can't change the area under the curve (the number of people who will eventually catch this disease). We were so effective at flattening the curve that the hospitals were actually underutilized. Thus, rules are being lifted in most places while watching the hospitalization rates. So far, no hospital system has been overwhelmed yet, though a few came close for a short while.

Spreading out the length of time for when people contract the disease gave the doctors time to establish ways to treat the disease. You will notice that the death rate from this disease has dropped dramatically.

Adding this all up, we should be concerned about the disease, but it is not something to panic over. You also must remember that people are people and you can't control what others do. If you decide for your safety to wear a mask, then do so. If you don't want to be around people who aren't wearing masks, then that is your choice. Those who are ignoring the rules have basically decided they are accepting the risk of contracting the disease -- that is their choice.

However, holding people responsible for what might happen doesn't make sense.

"I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see what will occur after him?" (Ecclesiastes 3:22).

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