Let’s talk numbers. Let’s talk data. Let’s get down to the science of what is going on and draw some conclusions based on the facts. There is a lot going on with the County of San Diego and its restrictions on what people can and cannot do. We want you to know that we take this very seriously and we are constantly trying to balance the FEAR that is being spread by some of our National, State and Local officials and the verifiable FACTS about Covid.
Currently, the Covid mortality rate is at 0.02%, according to an Oxford study that is updated monthly.[i] Some say 0.01%. The point is that it is very low, to almost non-existent. That means you are about as likely to be killed by an errant baseball as you are Covid. And when it comes to dying from the virus, that 0.02% is only if you have significant underlying health issues, or as they are often referred to as, co-morbidities. This low death rate is even inflated as many health officials around the nation have been documenting motorcycle and car crash victims as Covid deaths.[ii]
I want to share some statistics with you to help alleviate the fears some of you may be dealing with concerning the Covid virus. I cite every statistic I share in the endnotes so you can look up the websites and the journal articles to do your own research and come to your own conclusions. You may not agree with me, and if not, please cite your sources so I can look up the information you are basing your opinion on.
I believe one of the things Shepherds are supposed to do, is protect the Sheep. Pastors are supposed to protect the flock God has entrusted to us. Not only are we to spiritually nurture, feed, and help grow our flock, we are supposed to fight for our flock when wolves and other predators try to attack. We are to fight off enemies we can see and enemies we cannot see.
Sometimes, as is the case here, there is fear from something that is actually not there. It has been an enemy in the dark, something we cannot see. So, we have all scrambled not knowing where the next strike was going to come from. Yet, for 99.9% of people, the strike from this viral enemy has never and will never come. It is a straw man of an enemy to be sure. But, we have to fight the narratives out there to give people hope. We cannot sit back and just wait for the OK from the Governor as more and more lives are ruined. 1 Peter 5:2 reminds us, “Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you …”
Having said that, I’d like to give you some statistics to, hopefully, alleviate some fears that are constantly and consistently being spread. Here are some statistics to give you some clarity on what is going on. Now, for my Kansas people, I’ll be specifically giving California stats from the CDC[iii] and then I’ll give some nationwide stats. Over 270,000 people die in California every year from various causes: · 65,000 die from heart disease · 60,000 die from cancer · 16,000 from stroke · 16,000 from Alzheimer’s · 14,000 from respiratory illness—Covid is a respiratory virus, 14,000 people every year die from respiratory issues.
We don’t shut everything down because of that every year. Yet we have 8,700 Covid (supposed Covid deaths) in CA. I say supposed because a lot of fraud is now coming out that deaths are being labeled Covid. Hospitals are getting more money from Medicare when deaths at their hospital are labeled Covid. For example, if someone dies from straight forward pneumonia the payment to the hospital is $5,000. If they die of Covid-related pneumonia it’s $13,000, and if the Covid patient is on a ventilator and dies it goes up to $39,000.[iv] Continuing with the California causes of death: · 10,000 from diabetes · 5,000 from liver disease · 14,000 from various accidents · 3 Million from alcohol (USA) · 250,000 from cigarettes · 5,000 from Suicide (and that number was from 2019 before Covid, we know it’s much higher this year as NATIONWIDE suicide ideation is up 600%).[v]
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, going to religious services helps lower the incidences of suicide, “Many Americans attend various community or religious activities. Weekly attendance at religious services has been associated with a 5-fold lower suicide rate compared with those who do not attend. The effects of closing churches and community centers may further contribute to social isolation and hence suicide.”[vi]
Why? Because you’ve got to have hope to cope. Every week we hand out hope at Skyline church and many other churches do the same. Yet, health officials want to keep churches closed or force them outdoors in 95-degree heat in the middle of summer (in East County San Diego).
The greatest killer in our state is by medical professionals who perform abortions. 364 abortions a day in California. That means 1 in 4 pregnancies are aborted. California has more abortions than anyone else and they are taxpayer funded. Our Governor, Gavin Newsom, has decided that anyone who lives in a state where abortion is illegal or hard to come by, they can come to California and our taxpayers will pay for the abortion. So, a woman can have a free abortion no matter where she is from or how she got here. We, as California Taxpayers will pay for the abortion.[vii]
Meanwhile businesses are closing and many will not open again because they have been ruined by this lockdown, and there is no help in sight for them. People in our church are losing their life savings and their lifelong dream of having a thriving business, over a virus that kills less people than a thunderstorm.
Yet the abortion clinics remain open, the liquor stores remain open, the strip clubs remain open, the casinos remain open. And, you may have noticed, those of you here in San Diego, that according to our public health officials who report ad nauseam on the “outbreaks” that not one outbreak has been reported from those places. That is fascinating. As we learn more about this virus, apparently the Covid virus is very virtuous and will not go near those places. You are expected to believe that. There is a clear problem here, it is one of hypocrisy and duplicity.
There is no moral high ground with the leaders in our state who portend to have the public health in mind as these lockdowns drag on into the fifth month or 139 days since March 13 when we all heard the phrase, “15 Days to Slow the Spread.” The initial issues that caused the lockdown have been rectified yet we are still locked down and locked out. Let’s go through the short list: 1. Ventilators. We were told we need enough ventilators. Ventilators, check. 2. Flatten the curve. Then we can resume our lives, albeit with some changes. Curve flattened,check. 3. Surge capacity in our hospitals. We need to make sure when the virus spikes, we have surge capacity in our hospitals. Most hospitals have less people this year, year over year.[viii] Surge capacity, check. 4. Therapies and Prophylactics. We need to make sure we can treat those who get the virus and prevent it in those who are the most vulnerable. Therapies and Prophylactics, check. 5. Kids are vulnerable. We must keep our kids safe. Kids are not vulnerable to Covid. As a matter of fact, the flu is more dangerous for kids.[ix]
I could keep going but you get the idea. The point is the goal posts are constantly being moved to agree with a false narrative about this virus.
Abortion clinics, liquor stores, strip clubs and casinos are all deemed essential during this time. But the Church, and many businesses that help our community, are not. Folks, if you are not already, it’s time to wake up to what is going on. I believe the tide is turning and many, many people are waking up to what is actually going on. You are not in danger of a virus called Covid. However, you are in danger of losing your great country to a radical agenda that will stop at nothing to destroy our economy, our freedom, and our faith.
Knowledge is power. We have the knowledge of this virus. We know how to manage it, treat it, prevent it and even cure it. Unfortunately, we grieve for those 0.02% who have lost their lives to this virus. As small of a number as that is, it still represents lives that are lost and families that have been affected. We are not heartless in understanding that.
However, don’t believe the nonsense you are hearing from godless news outlets and social media “influencers.” Whenever anyone comes forward with scientific evidence that clearly shows the virus is not as lethal as first thought, or that as we have seen from Frontline Doctors[x], there is an actual cure, these videos, evidence and research studies are pulled down from the internet source by Google. Your Free Speech and your Freedom of Religion is being trampled on. We need to get up, take our masks off, and speak upwhile being fed up.
Our San Diego public health official, Dr. Wilma Wooten gave her thrice weekly update on Monday and said she was “saddened” by the outdoor service that a church had at a beach in North County and that she was intent on cracking down on churches and egregious violators. It looked like a big crowd from the video I saw, but it was certainly peaceful as people sang to the Lord and heard a message from a pastor.
Now, as a matter of comparison, when places in the county she represents as the public health officer were burning down at the hands of thousands of protestors and rioters, who were not social distancing and were not wearing masks (save a person here and there) she remained silent on the issue of public health at protests. She never mentioned the rioters, never mentioned the protestors, and never mentioned levying fines or “cracking down” on the obvious “egregious” violations.
The only words about the riots came from Supervisor Nathan Fletcher a few days after buildings and businesses burned in La Mesa and vandalism took place in many locations all over San Diego. Supervisor Fletcher was asked the question from a news reporter about the dual messaging or hypocrisy of allowing protests but not allowing gatherings at churches or other places. Fletcher’s response was illusory, he said, “We agree with the protestors right to gather, we just want them to do it safely …”
That same right he says he agrees with is the 1st amendment right to “peacefully gather.” Religious freedom is under that same 1st amendment right. Churches peacefully gather as a religious freedom right covered by the Constitution of the United States of America. Rioting is not to be agreed to at any time. It is not covered in the Constitution. Burning down buildings and wounding our Law Enforcement officers is not a “Peaceful Protest” and should never be agreed to by a County Supervisor or anyone else in charge.
Thousands of protestors burning down buildings and wounding our officers apparently is OK because Supervisor Fletcher agrees with their right to gather. But a church has a service on the beach and our public health officer is “saddened” by this activity and threatens reprisals. This, Dr. Wooten, is egregious. The hypocrisy has to stop and it only stops when people rise up and stop taking it.
I was told by one county official that Governor Newsom is holding potentially millions of dollars earmarked for San Diego hostage unless San Diego conforms to his mandates. He’s already withheld money from other counties that defied his orders. [xi] I understand our county leaders’ dilemma. That is much needed money for many community services that are severely underfunded at this point.
They have told me their hands are tied. I believe them. They are exasperated with the Governor. However, at some point our San Diego leaders have to say enough is enough and go against the Governor. I believe that time is NOW. If you look at the markers and triggers we must meet in order to begin to open up again, they are literally impossible to meet unless they are lowered significantly or removed entirely.[xii]
How do you beat a bully? You stand up to the bully. It is time to stand up to the bully. But, it will take everyone, grassroots, from start to finish letting your voices be heard. Be constantly and consistently inundating our representatives and health officials with a demand to open.
Our officials in San Diego have told many of us that there is nothing they can do because Newsom has so much power during this pandemic. That is not good enough. We have to march, we have to call, we have to utilize social media until it takes down the posts. And they will take down the posts if it doesn’t fit the false narrative. But the more we post the more likely some will last.
There are a few things going on that you can get involved in. Follow REOPEN.CALIFORNIA on Instagram and Facebook. There are several rallies and marches you can look into and consider being a part of. The larger these marches and rallies the more our voices will be heard. I don’t know a lot about the organization, so please do your research on who is running it and what exactly the messaging is, but at this point it looks like a solid organization that wants what’s best for Californians and our Nation.
I’m not an alarmist, but the alarm is ringing. I didn’t pull it, but I hear it, and it’s time to take action. The wolves have been ravaging the pen for too long. I personally cannot sit back and watch this happen. I am petitioning our representatives, I am on the phone, on zoom meetings with local and state officials and while there are many roadblocks at this point, there is an opening coming as more and more people rise up and stop putting up with these lockdowns.
Again, if the data showed this is a dangerous virus and I as a Shepherd was putting my flock in danger, that would be irresponsible and egregious. However, the facts are the facts and a 0.02% morbidity rate is not a reason to cause a 600% increase in suicide ideation and an 8,000% increase in suicide hotline calls.[xiii] 0.02% is not a reason to see an over 20% increase in domestic abuse worldwide[xiv] and 25% increase closer to home.[xv] Tens of thousands of drug and alcohol relapses and deaths and more and more lives are at stake the longer this lockdown continues.
I want to say with a loving heart … there are a lot of pastors right now that are not opening their churches due to COVID. I want to encourage you to open your church! Almost eight months is long enough to be closed. It’s the responsibility of shepherds to take care of the flock. In California, statistically, experts are predicting 65% of California businesses will not reopen due to the Covid restrictions. These lockdowns have crushed businesses. Listen, it may very well be the same with the Church. Many churches will NOT be able to reopen. And, the longer they stay closed, the more likely their people will not return or are going elsewhere. I hate to hear when churches close. I love the local church. It is why I pastor. I have seen more life change in the local church than anywhere in the world.
At Skyline Church, on both our local campuses in San Diego, we are seeing many people from other churches come to Skyline because their church has been closed or their church is only doing outside services (it’s been 100 degrees or more in East County San Diego over the last few weeks, come on…). We have people driving from three and four hours away just so they can get in church. While our target has never been other people from other churches, we have welcomed them with open arms and we will shepherd them if you won’t.
Pastors, my suggestion is you stop listening and stop getting your cues from the Government and from Andy Stanley. Andy Stanley has long been seen by many church leaders as the de facto voice of the Contemporary Christian Church in America. His Catalyst leadership conferences have encouraged thousands of pastors including myself over the years. Northpoint Church in Alpharetta Georgia (Pre-Covid) was running somewhere north of 20,000 people, maybe even 30,000.
However, his approach to Covid is off the mark. He stated early on that his church would not open until, at earliest, sometime in 2021. His church has been closed for almost 8 months. And, he stated that “an hour on Sunday shouldn’t make a difference in your Christian walk.” His comments cut to the heart of the biblical mandate to gather together (Hebrews 10:25). Not just for gathering sake, but for encouragement, fellowship, teaching, growth, mutual edification, the list goes on.
An hour on Sunday has made ALL the difference in my Christian walk over the years and millions of other people can testify to the same. For so many people they equate the House of God with their relationship with God. It is a foundational piece of their faith experience every week, it makes a difference in their lives, it energizes them for the week, bottom line, IT MATTERS! It may not matter to Pastor Andy Stanley, but it matters to millions of Christians all over the world.
This is the same pastor that said in one of his messages you can “Throw away the Old Testament“… His comments and his actions reveal a path he is taking that has nothing to do with accurate biblical exegesis or biblical practice. He has lost his right, his ability, and his responsibility to care for the flock of God. And, way too many pastors are waiting for him to say it’s OK to open their church.
Now, understand, I love pastors, I understand the struggle of leading a church. I’m not interested in dividing pastors and churches, but I do want to challenge pastors, especially in San Diego to open their churches. We will all be better for it. While I’m glad to keep receiving people from other churches, I am well aware that this is not Kingdom growth. At the end of the day, when we’re in Heaven facing our Lord, we don’t get credit for Skyline growth, but we do get credit for Kingdom growth. If more churches are open there is more opportunity for the Kingdom to grow. It takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.
I have been especially disappointed in the lack of leadership from some of the long time larger churches and pastors in the San Diego area that have national ministries. They are cowering behind the facade of a virus that has a 99.9% survival rate. I suppose since their books are selling and their TV audience is solid, their local church responsibilities are being ignored. Pastor, SHEPHERD YOUR FLOCK!
Many pastors have said, “Well, we’ve got online church.” And I’m so glad we have our online church community, but if you’ve been watching online for almost eight months now, YOU KNOW it’s just not the same. Nothing compares to gathering in person to worship the Lord! We’ve got to get in church to worship in the house of God.
National researchers are predicting that less than half of congregations will come back when things open up again. Why? A new normal has been created, one of the reasons is because people are out of habit and have begun to believe they don’t need church. This is only exacerbated by Pastors who continue to refuse to open…they are telling their people, “You don’t need church.” Now, half the attendance might work for Andy Stanley and his church of 30,000, he’ll still have 15,000 people to come back to. But, it does not work for the vast majority of churches in America that are less than 100 people.
When we have many thriving churches in the area, everybody wins. A rising tide lifts all boats. Pastors, open your boat. If you’re concerned about the reaction of some people and you need statistics and proof in your pocket, go to my other blogs titled “Face the Facts” and “I’m Done.” Face the Facts was written a couple of months ago and the statistics are even more in favor of opening your church than they were back then. “I’m Done” was written on May 3 and is proving even more accurate with each passing month.
We can protect the most vulnerable in our churches and open. You don’t have to open without caring for those who have underlying health conditions. You can open and care for those people. It is Both/And not Either/Or. We have a whole re-opening safely protocol list that I’d be glad to give you. If you need anything, please call our offices and we would be glad to walk you through our conversations with the County Health Department, our Do’s and Don’ts, our protocols, and our trainings. Being a pastor has always taken courage, perhaps, in this day and age, the depth of our courage is being tested.
Inconsistency is one of the most frustrating things about people and life in general. I was driving on the freeway the other day and I was behind a car in the fast lane (surprisingly it was not a Prius) that had no one in front of them and was going 75mph or so. This was great until they slowed down to 60 then sped up to 70, then down to 55, then up to 75, then down, and this continued for several minutes as I was boxed in with cars behind me and on my right. I could do nothing about the inconsistent vehicle in front of me.
It became frustrating not because the person was driving 75 in the fast lane or even 70, the frustration came when they would slow down and then all of the sudden speed up and the line of cars behind them would get up to speed only to have to put on the brakes again because of the sudden slow down. As a driver in the fast lane or a person in general, we value consistency. We need some element of predictability to get where we’re going in life.
Inconsistency is what we’ve been dealing with as people, especially in California, since 15 Days to Slow the Spread has become 15 months to keep the people under the thumb of an increasingly socialistic governmental rule. Let’s take a look at just some of the many inconsistencies that have cropped up over the past 15 months or so. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Links are provided for all articles mentioned.
When we first started hearing about Covid there was news that if it becomes a national emergency we would be short of the needed resources to effectively manage the virus. It all started with the alarming news that Americans would not have enough respirators. You may recall that in March of 2020 we were told we must shut everything down because there is a dire respirator shortage in America. It was predicted that hundreds of thousands of people would flood the hospitals with Covid and not survive due to the respirator shortage. See article here from April of 2020.
The inconsistency baffled us as the ventilator shortage never materialized. Rather quickly we were told we were actually in good shape with ventilators. We expected the shutdown to be over and things would begin to get back to normal. But hold on, it wasn’t ventilators, it was hospital’s becoming overwhelmed. Cue the Mercy Ship and Comfort Ship arriving in New York and Los Angeles and Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse pop up hospital in Central Park, New York with the capacity to handle thousands of critical Covid patients. Hold on… neither the ships nor Samaritan’s Purse were needed.
More inconsistencies came to the surface. Frustrations mounted as more and more people were losing their jobs and businesses around what seemed, at the time, to amount to a typical flu season. Churches, schools, gyms, shopping centers, sports, and on and on were shut down. People were frustrated and confused as the predicted numbers were not materializing. Then, mandates for us “common folk” were not being followed by those who were forcing the mandates on us.
The Governor stood in front of cameras and boldly proclaimed a 10% pay cut for all California State workers due to the pandemic. Stating that many people in California were out of work due to the lockdowns and that he is “just like them” and needs to show solidarity. He stated it “starts with me” and claimed he would be the first to take the pay cut. However, it turns out he did not take the pay cut. Inconsistent again. He mandated businesses be closed, yet his own business (a winery) remained open into July. Inconsistent again.
In California we were told we could not send our kids to school, yet our Governor decided it was appropriate to send his kids to school. Apparently, it was safe for his kids but not for ours. He told California parents that he was “like them” living through “Zoom school” yet he had been secretively sending his kids to in person learning for months. The inconsistency was evident.
We were told not to go to restaurants and that restaurants were closed, even to outside dining for long periods of time. Yet, the inconsistency reared its ugly head again as the Governor decided it was a good time to spend taxpayer’s money inside a restaurant with over six different family households and not even go through the exercise of wearing a mask. Inconsistent again. I think former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer actually said it best,
“His kids can learn in person. But yours can’t,” Faulconer tweeted. “He can celebrate birthday parties. But you can’t. He can dine on a $350 meal at one of California’s fanciest restaurants during the worst recession in generations. But you definitely can’t. Can you believe this? I can’t.”
Or, speaking of inconsistency, let’s take Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. An aunt of Newsom’s through marriage, she told everyone it was not safe for salons to be open. Yet, as the lockdowns continued, she contacted her salon and made sure they would usher her in where she could receive special treatment. Nancy’s Hair Day Apparently, it was safe for the Governor and the Speaker of the House to live in normalcy and go to restaurants and hair salons but for the rest of us, we needed to stay masked and stay home and just obey what the government tells you. The inconsistency of what was being said and what was being seen was and continues to be the cause of mounting frustration.
We were told to “follow the science” and keep your distance and mask up. Yet, right away Dr. Fauci told America, “Masks don’t help against viral agents like Covid.” Later he flip flopped, and he continued to flip flop. As political pressure mounted on him, he changed his tune. We were initially told to social distance six feet, then three feet became the safe distance, then back to six …..Again, inconsistent.
We were told that over 2 million people would likely die from Covid. Yet, when digging into the “science” we saw that every kind of death you can imagine was being labeled “Covid.” As I’ve already written about (see blog Face the Facts here), hospitals were paid more for Covid deaths than other deaths so there was an incentive in place to name deaths “Covid.” While there are still too many deaths listed (500,000+) it has never been near 2 million thankfully. The inconsistent science was and is driving people mad.
Even with the Covid deaths listed falsely (the CDC website actually says “confirmed” or “presumed.”) How can it be presumed? It either was or was not due to Covid. They have incredibly inaccurate PCR tests for Covid. Again, this is one of the ways the numbers were and are inflated. The whole procedure for naming a Covid death was and is still wrong.
Let’s take a look at the current science. As of May 11, 2021 the United States has 596,874 Covid deaths. The US has a current population of 332,664,383 million people. That equals a death rate of less than 0.017%. The number is calculated since the beginning of data collection in 2019. So, we are nearing two years of Covid data collection. If we were to cut that number in half by years, we would see about a 0.009% death rate. To put that in perspective, according to the CDC about 655,000 Americans die from heart disease every year. That is a death rate of .0019%. that is higher than Covid…every year. While that is still tragic, it puts it in perspective of what has really been happening in our country.
We don’t shut everything down because of heart disease. We don’t stop eating, stop drinking, stop going to baseball games that serve hot dogs high in saturated fat and nitrates, we don’t stop living because heart disease is the #1 killer in America. We don’t shut everything down because people die of the flu or other viruses. We don’t lock people down because over 36,000 people die ever year in car accidents. We don’t keep people from living their lives because of a 0.009% chance (with inflated numbers) of dying from Covid…Except, that is EXACTLY what our government has done.
Included in the inconsistencies of the scientific jargon that is out there is the fact that there is prophylaxis that actually work against Covid. And, if someone is symptomatic there are proven treatments that work against Covid. Why then the vaccine? More on that later…
Churches, Pastors and Christians preach and live by faith. “God is bigger than the virus,” yet when their people tried to show up for church, they saw locked doors, Covid signs, and empty churches.
To be clear, in the beginning, it was wise to close down. Nobody knew what this Covid thing was or would be. However, it did not take long to figure out the inconsistent messaging coming from the governmental leaders to realize, this Covid thing is not what it is purported to be. A virus yes, but one that should cause churches, schools, and businesses to shut down, NO.
Now, as I talk with pastors everywhere, it is clear, those that decided to remain closed for the longest periods of time are suffering the most now. We will see how this plays out over time, but initially these are the results of my informal survey. Many churches did not open until more than a year after initially closing. On average, those that remained closed and have now just recently opened are seeing about a 30% return rate. That means if the church was running 1,000 in attendance pre-covid they are seeing about 300 people now.
Those that opened early on and remained open are seeing an incredible rate of growth, some even doubling their attendance from pre-covid numbers. Why are many of the churches that remained closed seeing such a low return rate? Because of the inconsistent messaging.
As I talk with people who have changed churches the number one reason they changed is because their church remained closed week after week and month after month. At the end of the day, they could not reconcile how some churches were open and safe and their church decided to remain closed. It was hard for many churchgoers to comprehend that for years they were taught to live in faith over fear, but when it came down to it, their church leadership decided to live in fear over faith. They just could not identify with that kind of a church any longer.
People want to be safe, yes, but they also want to see pastors and leaders living out their faith in front of them. Shepherds are to lead by example. For those that defied the governmental orders (many using the rallying cry to follow “Christ not Caesar”) they are currently reaping the benefits of that decision with record numbers of salvations, baptisms and attendance.
I’ve previously written about the vaccine (Vaccine Yes or No?). The inconsistent messaging coming from governmental leaders continues to confuse. Does the vaccine work or not? The answer is a resounding…possibly. However, there are also variants to the Covid virus. Not only that but people that have been vaccinated are asked to continue to wear masks and social distance. Does the vaccine work or not? … the answer continues to be … maybe. Dr. Fauci said the risk is very small of contracting Covid after being vaccinated but you should continue to wear a mask and social distance. … because the vaccine works? Or wait, because it doesn’t work? I’m confused … it’s inconsistent messaging … again.
Sounds a lot like how every year there are variants to the flu virus. They say even if you get the covid vaccine you’ll need “booster” vaccine shots or entirely different covid vaccine shots every year. Wait, don’t they suggest you get the flu shot every year because there are variant flu strains each and every year? This couldn’t possibly be an attempt to keep people vaccine dependent, could it?
To be clear, I am not against all vaccines for all reasons. There have been some beneficial vaccines over the years. Smallpox, polio and diphtheria vaccines, just to name a few, have given people the opportunity to live life over succumbing to disease.
My issue is with the mandating of the vaccine. My issue is with the talk of vaccine passports which really amount to discrimination against healthy people. Not only healthy people but people in general who do not think it is a good idea to jab experimental mRNA into their bloodstreams. This should be a choice. This should be a free will choice in America where our freedom should still matter.
There is no way an experimental vaccine, or any vaccine for that matter, should ever be mandated on the human race. You should not be forced to take a vaccine, especially not in America. I would expect this kind of rhetoric coming from China. They have plenty of medical mandates that leave their people no choice but to conform. But this is America where freedom is supposed to reign. However, the truth is our freedoms have been and continue to be reined in.
I continue to pray over more people each week at church who have had bad reactions to the vaccine and are suffering and are scared. At this point, the risks far outweigh the benefits in my opinion.
Control not Covid
But here’s the reality, it’s not about Covid, is it? The Covid virus is certainly an issue in terms of its virulence and its ramifications on society long term. However, as the lockdowns and mandates unnecessarily continue, it becomes clearer and clearer that it is and has been about control. We have an entire governmental system that has been churning toward socialism for some time now. These mandates, including the mask mandates (Un-Masked) are about controlling your home, your business, your education, your church, your movements, your money, your future, and your life. Make no mistake, as more and more people blindly conform, we will continue to lose our way as Americans. But that is a blog for another time.
Here’s my concern moving forward. Just like there is no accountability for that car in front of me as they finally moved over and exited (they will simply do it again at the next opportunity), there will be no accountability for the way our governmental leaders inconsistently led our state and country. They will simply do it again at the next opportunity.
An over 8,000 percent increase ( 8,000% Increase) in suicide hotline calls in California due to the lockdowns should never be shoved under the rug. There must be accountability for these leaders that not only ignored the fact that there was an 8,000 percent increase but have ignored the fact that many Californians took their own lives because of the lockdown policies. We simply cannot stand by and allow politics to matter more than people.
I am glad there may be some accountability coming for the California Governor. The recall measure has passed by validating over 1.7 million signatures, which exceeds the minimum amount needed by more than 500,000. Now, we wait for a date to vote. A date to finally let our voices be heard. A day where maybe, just maybe, the inconsistencies will come to an end.
My guess is that you are even more frustrated with the inconsistencies of the last 15 months than I am following a car in the fast lane that can’t decide between 60 and 75mph. It’s time for the governmental mandates and control measures to move over into the slow lane. Better yet, they need to take the next offramp.
There is a reality to what has been going on folks…. the good old plain truth is hard to find these days. We’ve said it ever since the “15 Days to Slow the Spread” turned into “15 Months to Keep it Going.”
We’ve been lied to, coerced, manipulated, and worst of all no one’s been held accountable nor has anyone even repented. Despite the facts, the charade continues. That’s just the reality. You may disagree and you are entitled to your opinion but let’s ACTUALLY do what they have been telling us to do since the beginning and “Follow the Science…”
As you follow the science you realize what has been said from legitimate scientists from early studies until now remains the same, Covid is very much like influenza (see below). This is not opinion, this is scientific fact. If you disagree I challenge you to read the Stanford University study below… notice… Stanford, not a Christian University, nor a Conservative University… (some say this is not a Stanford funded study, rather it has Stanford doctors and researchers who participated in the research). One thing we know is that the Main Stream Media is attempting to discredit it. Yet, Stanford is a world renowned University known for its undeniable pedigree in research and science. You must do your research and not blindly follow a political narrative no matter how adamant it is constantly pushed.
The fact that masks do not work against Covid and the lockdowns have done more harm than good is not a useful narrative in California politics nor in Washington D.C. right now. Click the link below to see the facts of more overdose and suicide deaths than Covid deaths…and it’s not even close.
Again, this is not the narrative that the current administration wants accessible to the public. So, this post along with many others who have linked the scientific studies are being blocked by Big Tech. This post will more than likely be blocked sooner than later. Even major renowned doctors are being threatened by Twitter and Facebook to remove their posts about this or they will be permanently banned! Welcome to Big Tech Chinamerica.
Understand, this study was also posted by NIH (National Institute of Health)…a governmental agency. It was not picked up by any of the Main Stream Media and it has been buried on the NIH website…. you have to ask yourself WHY? Why are they so afraid of actual science? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7680614/
We’ve said it from the beginning, the reason is clear, it has not been about health it has been about control. It has been about Politics over People and enough is enough. We said enough is enough back in June when we opened Skyline Church and we have remained open. We did not require masks (though some chose to wear one, many did not). We are a healthier church community because of it. 99% of people on Sundays at Skyline did not wear a mask and now we have another scientific study to prove our decision was correct. We are healthier because we did not wear a diaper…err…mask on our face. We had NO outbreaks this ENTIRE TIME. How is that possible? Because we followed the actual science!
I want to encourage you as we move into this more magnified era of governmental overreach and control… push back. Never allow this to happen again. Never allow the government to seize your freedoms, dignity, and sense of peace among many other things. We must say NO. No I won’t wear a mask, no I won’t close my church, no I won’t close my business, no I won’t close my school….the science does not support it!
Let me encourage you, when you vote for a political candidate in the future, make sure you know where they stand on these most basic of American freedoms. What did they do during the 2020 year of Covid? What was their stance? Where do they stand today? Make sure you know before you vote or it won’t be long before double mask mandates and egregious lockdowns return.
Due to Big Tech censorship I have little confidence this link will remain working. I have also copied and pasted the study below in case that works better. If you want to know the truth about Covid and the efficacy of masks, read below.
It is a well-researched study and it is lengthy. If you want to see a synopsis, scroll down to Table 1.
What you need to know from me as your pastor and from your church leadership is that no matter the issue, no matter the consequences, we will always fight for the truth to be Un-Masked.
Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis
Many countries across the globe utilized medical and non-medical facemasks as non-pharmaceutical intervention for reducing the transmission and infectivity of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). Although, scientific evidence supporting facemasks’ efficacy is lacking, adverse physiological, psychological and health effects are established. Is has been hypothesized that facemasks have compromised safety and efficacy profile and should be avoided from use. The current article comprehensively summarizes scientific evidences with respect to wearing facemasks in the COVID-19 era, providing prosper information for public health and decisions making.
Facemasks are part of non-pharmaceutical interventions providing some breathing barrier to the mouth and nose that have been utilized for reducing the transmission of respiratory pathogens . Facemasks can be medical and non-medical, where two types of the medical masks primarily used by healthcare workers , . The first type is National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-certified N95 mask, a filtering face-piece respirator, and the second type is a surgical mask . The designed and intended uses of N95 and surgical masks are different in the type of protection they potentially provide. The N95s are typically composed of electret filter media and seal tightly to the face of the wearer, whereas surgical masks are generally loose fitting and may or may not contain electret-filtering media. The N95s are designed to reduce the wearer’s inhalation exposure to infectious and harmful particles from the environment such as during extermination of insects. In contrast, surgical masks are designed to provide a barrier protection against splash, spittle and other body fluids to spray from the wearer (such as surgeon) to the sterile environment (patient during operation) for reducing the risk of contamination .
The third type of facemasks are the non-medical cloth or fabric masks. The non-medical facemasks are made from a variety of woven and non-woven materials such as Polypropylene, Cotton, Polyester, Cellulose, Gauze and Silk. Although non-medical cloth or fabric facemasks are neither a medical device nor personal protective equipment, some standards have been developed by the French Standardization Association (AFNOR Group) to define a minimum performance for filtration and breathability capacity . The current article reviews the scientific evidences with respect to safety and efficacy of wearing facemasks, describing the physiological and psychological effects and the potential long-term consequences on health.
On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a global public health emergency of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) causing illness of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) . As of October 1, 2020, worldwide 34,166,633 cases were reported and 1,018,876 have died with virus diagnosis. Interestingly, 99% of the detected cases with SARS-CoV-2 are asymptomatic or have mild condition, which contradicts with the virus name (severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2) . Although infection fatality rate (number of death cases divided by number of reported cases) initially seems quite high 0.029 (2.9%) , this overestimation related to limited number of COVID-19 tests performed which biases towards higher rates. Given the fact that asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times higher than the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate is considerably less than 1% . This was confirmed by the head of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from US stating, “the overall clinical consequences of COVID-19 are similar to those of severe seasonal influenza” , having a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1% , , , . In addition, data from hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and general public indicate that the majority of deaths were among older and chronically ill individuals, supporting the possibility that the virus may exacerbates existing conditions but rarely causes death by itself , . SARS-CoV-2 primarily affects respiratory system and can cause complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), respiratory failure and death , . It is not clear however, what the scientific and clinical basis for wearing facemasks as protective strategy, given the fact that facemasks restrict breathing, causing hypoxemia and hypercapnia and increase the risk for respiratory complications, self-contamination and exacerbation of existing chronic conditions , , , , .
Of note, hyperoxia or oxygen supplementation (breathing air with high partial O2 pressures that above the sea levels) has been well established as therapeutic and curative practice for variety acute and chronic conditions including respiratory complications , . It fact, the current standard of care practice for treating hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is breathing 100% oxygen , , . Although several countries mandated wearing facemask in health care settings and public areas, scientific evidences are lacking supporting their efficacy for reducing morbidity or mortality associated with infectious or viral diseases , , . Therefore, it has been hypothesized: 1) the practice of wearing facemasks has compromised safety and efficacy profile, 2) Both medical and non-medical facemasks are ineffective to reduce human-to-human transmission and infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, 3) Wearing facemasks has adverse physiological and psychological effects, 4) Long-term consequences of wearing facemasks on health are detrimental.
EVOLUTION OF HYPOTHESIS
Breathing is one of the most important physiological functions to sustain life and health. Human body requires a continuous and adequate oxygen (O2) supply to all organs and cells for normal function and survival. Breathing is also an essential process for removing metabolic byproducts [carbon dioxide (CO2)] occurring during cell respiration , . It is well established that acute significant deficit in O2 (hypoxemia) and increased levels of CO2 (hypercapnia) even for few minutes can be severely harmful and lethal, while chronic hypoxemia and hypercapnia cause health deterioration, exacerbation of existing conditions, morbidity and ultimately mortality , , , . Emergency medicine demonstrates that 5–6 min of severe hypoxemia during cardiac arrest will cause brain death with extremely poor survival rates , , , . On the other hand, chronic mild or moderate hypoxemia and hypercapnia such as from wearing facemasks resulting in shifting to higher contribution of anaerobic energy metabolism, decrease in pH levels and increase in cells and blood acidity, toxicity, oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, immunosuppression and health deterioration , , , .
Efficacy of facemasks
The physical properties of medical and non-medical facemasks suggest that facemasks are ineffective to block viral particles due to their difference in scales , , . According to the current knowledge, the virus SARS-CoV-2 has a diameter of 60 nm to 140 nm [nanometers (billionth of a meter)] , , while medical and non-medical facemasks’ thread diameter ranges from 55 µm to 440 µm [micrometers (one millionth of a meter), which is more than 1000 times larger . Due to the difference in sizes between SARS-CoV-2 diameter and facemasks thread diameter (the virus is 1000 times smaller), SARS-CoV-2 can easily pass through any facemask . In addition, the efficiency filtration rate of facemasks is poor, ranging from 0.7% in non-surgical, cotton-gauze woven mask to 26% in cotton sweeter material . With respect to surgical and N95 medical facemasks, the efficiency filtration rate falls to 15% and 58%, respectively when even small gap between the mask and the face exists .
Clinical scientific evidence challenges further the efficacy of facemasks to block human-to-human transmission or infectivity. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 246 participants [123 (50%) symptomatic)] who were allocated to either wearing or not wearing surgical facemask, assessing viruses transmission including coronavirus . The results of this study showed that among symptomatic individuals (those with fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose ect…) there was no difference between wearing and not wearing facemask for coronavirus droplets transmission of particles of >5 µm. Among asymptomatic individuals, there was no droplets or aerosols coronavirus detected from any participant with or without the mask, suggesting that asymptomatic individuals do not transmit or infect other people . This was further supported by a study on infectivity where 445 asymptomatic individuals were exposed to asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 carrier (been positive for SARS-CoV-2) using close contact (shared quarantine space) for a median of 4 to 5 days. The study found that none of the 445 individuals was infected with SARS-CoV-2 confirmed by real-time reverse transcription polymerase .
A meta-analysis among health care workers found that compared to no masks, surgical mask and N95 respirators were not effective against transmission of viral infections or influenza-like illness based on six RCTs . Using separate analysis of 23 observational studies, this meta-analysis found no protective effect of medical mask or N95 respirators against SARS virus . A recent systematic review of 39 studies including 33,867 participants in community settings (self-report illness), found no difference between N95 respirators versus surgical masks and surgical mask versus no masks in the risk for developing influenza or influenza-like illness, suggesting their ineffectiveness of blocking viral transmissions in community settings .
Another meta-analysis of 44 non-RCT studies (n = 25,697 participants) examining the potential risk reduction of facemasks against SARS, middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS) and COVID-19 transmissions . The meta-analysis included four specific studies on COVID-19 transmission (5,929 participants, primarily health-care workers used N95 masks). Although the overall findings showed reduced risk of virus transmission with facemasks, the analysis had severe limitations to draw conclusions. One of the four COVID-19 studies had zero infected cases in both arms, and was excluded from meta-analytic calculation. Other two COVID-19 studies had unadjusted models, and were also excluded from the overall analysis. The meta-analytic results were based on only one COVID-19, one MERS and 8 SARS studies, resulting in high selection bias of the studies and contamination of the results between different viruses. Based on four COVID-19 studies, the meta-analysis failed to demonstrate risk reduction of facemasks for COVID-19 transmission, where the authors reported that the results of meta-analysis have low certainty and are inconclusive .
In early publication the WHO stated that “facemasks are not required, as no evidence is available on its usefulness to protect non-sick persons” . In the same publication, the WHO declared that “cloth (e.g. cotton or gauze) masks are not recommended under any circumstance” . Conversely, in later publication the WHO stated that the usage of fabric-made facemasks (Polypropylene, Cotton, Polyester, Cellulose, Gauze and Silk) is a general community practice for “preventing the infected wearer transmitting the virus to others and/or to offer protection to the healthy wearer against infection (prevention)” . The same publication further conflicted itself by stating that due to the lower filtration, breathability and overall performance of fabric facemasks, the usage of woven fabric mask such as cloth, and/or non-woven fabrics, should only be considered for infected persons and not for prevention practice in asymptomatic individuals . The Central for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made similar recommendation, stating that only symptomatic persons should consider wearing facemask, while for asymptomatic individuals this practice is not recommended . Consistent with the CDC, clinical scientists from Departments of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology in Australia counsel against facemasks usage for health-care workers, arguing that there is no justification for such practice while normal caring relationship between patients and medical staff could be compromised . Moreover, the WHO repeatedly announced that “at present, there is no direct evidence (from studies on COVID-19) on the effectiveness face masking of healthy people in the community to prevent infection of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19”. Despite these controversies, the potential harms and risks of wearing facemasks were clearly acknowledged. These including self-contamination due to hand practice or non-replaced when the mask is wet, soiled or damaged, development of facial skin lesions, irritant dermatitis or worsening acne and psychological discomfort. Vulnerable populations such as people with mental health disorders, developmental disabilities, hearing problems, those living in hot and humid environments, children and patients with respiratory conditions are at significant health risk for complications and harm .
Physiological effects of wearing facemasks
Wearing facemask mechanically restricts breathing by increasing the resistance of air movement during both inhalation and exhalation process , . Although, intermittent (several times a week) and repetitive (10–15 breaths for 2–4 sets) increase in respiration resistance may be adaptive for strengthening respiratory muscles , , prolonged and continues effect of wearing facemask is maladaptive and could be detrimental for health , , . In normal conditions at the sea level, air contains 20.93% O2 and 0.03% CO2, providing partial pressures of 100 mmHg and 40 mmHg for these gases in the arterial blood, respectively. These gas concentrations significantly altered when breathing occurs through facemask. A trapped air remaining between the mouth, nose and the facemask is rebreathed repeatedly in and out of the body, containing low O2 and high CO2 concentrations, causing hypoxemia and hypercapnia , , , , . Severe hypoxemia may also provoke cardiopulmonary and neurological complications and is considered an important clinical sign in cardiopulmonary medicine , , , , , . Low oxygen content in the arterial blood can cause myocardial ischemia, serious arrhythmias, right or left ventricular dysfunction, dizziness, hypotension, syncope and pulmonary hypertension . Chronic low-grade hypoxemia and hypercapnia as result of using facemask can cause exacerbation of existing cardiopulmonary, metabolic, vascular and neurological conditions , , , , , . Table 1 summarizes the physiological, psychological effects of wearing facemask and their potential long-term consequences for health
Table 1. Physiological and Psychological Effects of Wearing Facemask and Their Potential Health Consequences.
In addition to hypoxia and hypercapnia, breathing through facemask residues bacterial and germs components on the inner and outside layer of the facemask. These toxic components are repeatedly rebreathed back into the body, causing self-contamination. Breathing through facemasks also increases temperature and humidity in the space between the mouth and the mask, resulting a release of toxic particles from the mask’s materials , , , , , . A systematic literature review estimated that aerosol contamination levels of facemasks including 13 to 202,549 different viruses . Rebreathing contaminated air with high bacterial and toxic particle concentrations along with low O2 and high CO2 levels continuously challenge the body homeostasis, causing self-toxicity and immunosuppression , , , , , .
A study on 39 patients with renal disease found that wearing N95 facemask during hemodialysis significantly reduced arterial partial oxygen pressure (from PaO2 101.7 to 92.7 mm Hg), increased respiratory rate (from 16.8 to 18.8 breaths/min), and increased the occurrence of chest discomfort and respiratory distress . Respiratory Protection Standards from Occupational Safety and Health Administration, US Department of Labor states that breathing air with O2 concentration below 19.5% is considered oxygen-deficiency, causing physiological and health adverse effects. These include increased breathing frequency, accelerated heartrate and cognitive impairments related to thinking and coordination . A chronic state of mild hypoxia and hypercapnia has been shown as primarily mechanism for developing cognitive dysfunction based on animal studies and studies in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease .
The adverse physiological effects were confirmed in a study of 53 surgeons where surgical facemask were used during a major operation. After 60 min of facemask wearing the oxygen saturation dropped by more than 1% and heart rate increased by approximately five beats/min . Another study among 158 health-care workers using protective personal equipment primarily N95 facemasks reported that 81% (128 workers) developed new headaches during their work shifts as these become mandatory due to COVID-19 outbreak. For those who used the N95 facemask greater than 4 h per day, the likelihood for developing a headache during the work shift was approximately four times higher [Odds ratio = 3.91, 95% CI (1.35–11.31) p = 0.012], while 82.2% of the N95 wearers developed the headache already within ≤10 to 50 min .
With respect to cloth facemask, a RCT using four weeks follow up compared the effect of cloth facemask to medical masks and to no masks on the incidence of clinical respiratory illness, influenza-like illness and laboratory-confirmed respiratory virus infections among 1607 participants from 14 hospitals . The results showed that there were no difference between wearing cloth masks, medical masks and no masks for incidence of clinical respiratory illness and laboratory-confirmed respiratory virus infections. However, a large harmful effect with more than 13 times higher risk [Relative Risk = 13.25 95% CI (1.74 to 100.97) was observed for influenza-like illness among those who were wearing cloth masks . The study concluded that cloth masks have significant health and safety issues including moisture retention, reuse, poor filtration and increased risk for infection, providing recommendation against the use of cloth masks .
Psychological effects of wearing facemasks
Psychologically, wearing facemask fundamentally has negative effects on the wearer and the nearby person. Basic human-to-human connectivity through face expression is compromised and self-identity is somewhat eliminated , , . These dehumanizing movements partially delete the uniqueness and individuality of person who wearing the facemask as well as the connected person . Social connections and relationships are basic human needs, which innately inherited in all people, whereas reduced human-to-human connections are associated with poor mental and physical health , . Despite escalation in technology and globalization that would presumably foster social connections, scientific findings show that people are becoming increasingly more socially isolated, and the prevalence of loneliness is increasing in last few decades , . Poor social connections are closely related to isolation and loneliness, considered significant health related risk factors , , , .
A meta-analysis of 91 studies of about 400,000 people showed a 13% increased morality risk among people with low compare to high contact frequency . Another meta-analysis of 148 prospective studies (308,849 participants) found that poor social relationships was associated with 50% increased mortality risk. People who were socially isolated or fell lonely had 45% and 40% increased mortality risk, respectively. These findings were consistent across ages, sex, initial health status, cause of death and follow-up periods . Importantly, the increased risk for mortality was found comparable to smoking and exceeding well-established risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity . An umbrella review of 40 systematic reviews including 10 meta-analyses demonstrated that compromised social relationships were associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality, depression, anxiety suicide, cancer and overall physical illness .
As described earlier, wearing facemasks causing hypoxic and hypercapnic state that constantly challenges the normal homeostasis, and activates “fight or flight” stress response, an important survival mechanism in the human body , , . The acute stress response includes activation of nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, and the immune systems , , , . These include activation of the limbic part of the brain, release stress hormones (adrenalin, neuro-adrenalin and cortisol), changes in blood flow distribution (vasodilation of peripheral blood vessels and vasoconstriction of visceral blood vessels) and activation of the immune system response (secretion of macrophages and natural killer cells) , . Encountering people who wearing facemasks activates innate stress-fear emotion, which is fundamental to all humans in danger or life threating situations, such as death or unknown, unpredictable outcome. While acute stress response (seconds to minutes) is adaptive reaction to challenges and part of the survival mechanism, chronic and prolonged state of stress-fear is maladaptive and has detrimental effects on physical and mental health. The repeatedly or continuously activated stress-fear response causes the body to operate on survival mode, having sustain increase in blood pressure, pro-inflammatory state and immunosuppression , .
Long-Term health consequences of wearing facemasks
Long-term practice of wearing facemasks has strong potential for devastating health consequences. Prolonged hypoxic-hypercapnic state compromises normal physiological and psychological balance, deteriorating health and promotes the developing and progression of existing chronic diseases , , , , , , , , , . For instance, ischemic heart disease caused by hypoxic damage to the myocardium is the most common form of cardiovascular disease and is a number one cause of death worldwide (44% of all non-communicable diseases) with 17.9 million deaths occurred in 2016 . Hypoxia also playing an important role in cancer burden . Cellular hypoxia has strong mechanistic feature in promoting cancer initiation, progression, metastasis, predicting clinical outcomes and usually presents a poorer survival in patients with cancer. Most solid tumors present some degree of hypoxia, which is independent predictor of more aggressive disease, resistance to cancer therapies and poorer clinical outcomes , . Worth note, cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with an estimate of more than 18 million new diagnosed cases and 9.6 million cancer-related deaths occurred in 2018 .
With respect to mental health, global estimates showing that COVID-19 will cause a catastrophe due to collateral psychological damage such as quarantine, lockdowns, unemployment, economic collapse, social isolation, violence and suicides , , . Chronic stress along with hypoxic and hypercapnic conditions knocks the body out of balance, and can cause headaches, fatigue, stomach issues, muscle tension, mood disturbances, insomnia and accelerated aging , , , , . This state suppressing the immune system to protect the body from viruses and bacteria, decreasing cognitive function, promoting the developing and exacerbating the major health issues including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer disease, rising anxiety and depression states, causes social isolation and loneliness and increasing the risk for prematurely mortality , , , , .
The existing scientific evidences challenge the safety and efficacy of wearing facemask as preventive intervention for COVID-19. The data suggest that both medical and non-medical facemasks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious disease such SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, supporting against the usage of facemasks. Wearing facemasks has been demonstrated to have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects. These include hypoxia, hypercapnia, shortness of breath, increased acidity and toxicity, activation of fear and stress response, rise in stress hormones, immunosuppression, fatigue, headaches, decline in cognitive performance, predisposition for viral and infectious illnesses, chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Long-term consequences of wearing facemask can cause health deterioration, developing and progression of chronic diseases and premature death. Governments, policy makers and health organizations should utilize prosper and scientific evidence-based approach with respect to wearing facemasks, when the latter is considered as preventive intervention for public health.
CRediT authorship contribution statement
Baruch Vainshelboim: Conceptualization, Data curation, Writing – original draft.
Declaration of Competing Interest
The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.
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Big Tech doesn’t want you to follow the science. They simply want you to follow the narrative. As Steve Cortes learned, no highly credible source is above the ugly censorship rules set by Silicon Valley tyrants.
We need to realize that suffering is unavoidable. In fact, we need to be prepared to suffer. While it’s true that suffering is unavoidable, misery is optional. We don’t have to be miserable when we suffer, it’s all in how we choose to see things.
Since the day you said that you’re a Christian, you were put on trial. Non-believers everywhere raised an eyebrow and put your life under a microscope. And you don’t need me to tell you that these people are going to push your buttons. There are preconceived notions of what a Christian should or should not talk about, post online, or do. These people are going to question your integrity. They’re going to question if this “faith” is real to you.
While it’s true that our faith should be tested in order to strengthen it and the more outgoing you are with your faith the more you are likely to deal with various tests from people. On the contrary, if we’re never challenged for our faith, what does that tell us about our faith?
Notice in James 1:2, it says, “When you face trials of various kinds” … it doesn’t say IF you face trials. WHEN you face trials, because we all will,James goes on to say, “Consider it joy.” I’m not talking about masochism and hoping for pain. I’m talking about having faith regardless of the circumstance. James says you can have joy in the midst of suffering. Suffering doesn’t have to produce misery.
I remember my old baseball coaches with the St. Louis Cardinals telling us, “Boys, you want us yelling at you, you want us on your case because that means we believe in you and we think you can be even better! However, if we stop yelling at you and ignore you, you can bet your days as a Cardinal are numbered.”
When it comes to suffering as a Christian, often times we wonder how to discern whether it is the kind of suffering that is intended to grow our faith or the kind of suffering that is just plain suffering.
The reality is that at any point in time, you are going to be experiencing one of three types of sufferings …
1. Common Suffering: We’re all human and we’re all in this together. (The Coronavirus is affecting us all.) Some suffering is common to all mankind. No one escapes some kind of suffering on this earth. It’s one of the reasons we, as Christians, look forward to heaven where there is no sorrow, no pain, and no suffering.
2. Carnal Suffering: We make bad choices. We bring plenty of suffering on ourselves by the poor and unwise decisions we make. If I ignore my health and eat poorly and never exercise, I shouldn’t get mad at God if I were to develop health issues. It reminds me of this verse, “People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord”Proverbs 19:3 | NLT.
3. Christian Suffering: You did the right thing. Now what? Christian Suffering is where I want to focus today. The book of first Peter can be summarized in three words; Faith, Obedience, and Patience. It’s a story of faith through difficulty, obedience through pain, and patience through suffering. Peter doesn’t shy away from the topic of suffering when he says, “Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world …” 1 Peter 4:13 | NLT Peter says there are three positives for Christians when they struggle.
A. It draws us closer to Jesus. “… these trials will make you partners with Christ in His suffering, and afterwards you will have the wonderful joy of sharing His glory …” 1 Peter 4:13b | LB
Notice the word partners. This means you’ll get to know God up close and personal. There’s a special kind of depth a relationship gains when people suffer together. Just ask any war veteran. Suffering together for the right cause is what bonds people to one another. The same goes for families that endure hardships together. There is a bonding that can take place as you recognize you are in this together.
B. God can be seen in our life. “When people insult you because you follow Christ,you are blessed … because the Spirit of God is with you.”1 Peter 4:14 | NCV
If nobody ever challenges you, then maybe you’re not living a Godly, Christ-centered life. I’m not talking about all the time, like you’re obnoxious so people are constantly upset with you. But, a Christian, according to the Bible should be challenged from time to time because you stand in direct contrast to the values of the world. Remember, you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. So, if you’re suffering, congratulations, you’re standing for something! You’re standing for Christ! and God can be seen in your life. Jesus Christ was not ashamed to die for you, so don’t be ashamed to live for Him.
C. It means God trusts us. “The apostles (were) happy, because God had considered them worthy to suffer disgrace for the sake of Jesus.” Acts 5:41 | GN
On average 100,000 Christians are killed around the world because of their faith every year. While nobody will put you before a firing squad in America, sometimes I wonder if God trusts American Christians. Most Christians want Jesus as long as it’s comfortable and convenient for them. So often we think God is punishing us when we’re suffering, you need to remember that God is not punishing you He wants to promote you. Trials have a way of purifying us for greater service. There’s a difference between knowing about God and knowing God. That difference is lived out when you go through the fire with Him. If nobody knows you’re a Christian or where you stand on anything, and you’re a people pleaser, you have to realize that you’re not pleasing God.
When the rubber of your faith meets the road of reality, that’s when your faith becomes real. It becomes real for you AND your Oikos (those 8-15 people in your relational world).
Life is really pushing our buttons right now during this quarantine. Coming up on 6-months and let’s just be honest, IT IS RIDICULOUS. There is plenty of suffering to go around. Maybe you’re facing all three types of suffering right now and you’re experiencing a stretch in your faith. Take heart, friend! Being a believer in Jesus Christ is not about perfection. It’s about progress. God has not lost sight of you and He is walking through the fire with you.
Stay strong. Stay faithful. And remember that suffering is unavoidable but misery is optional.