Displaying items by tag: pandemic
Fraudsters are sending out fake texts offering a Covid vaccine, trying to steal personal and financial information. Other scams include selling fake Covid cures and non-existent or low- quality PPE, as well as posing online as official sources to steal personal and banking details from victims. One scam message reading 'We have identified that you are eligible for your vaccine' prompts people to click on a link to 'apply’ for it. Pray for more police warnings about providing financial details to strangers. Criminals preying on people's fears over the pandemic are stealing millions of pounds, according to Action Fraud, the UK's national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime. There have been fraud attempts posted on local Facebook pages and an ‘extremely convincing’ fake NHS website. Action Fraud warns people to never give out personal details to organisations or people before verifying their credentials first, even if the message appears to be genuine. See
Caskets are stacked three high in the crematorium, piled up in empty offices, and stored in hallways. Many are sealed with plastic, others labelled ‘infection risk,’ ‘urgent’, or ‘Covid’. A surge of coronavirus deaths has boosted crematorium businesses but nobody is celebrating. There are 300 bodies waiting to be cremated, and dozens more arrive every day. Schaldach, the crematorium owner, said comments on social media are saying reports of bodies piling up at his crematorium are fake news. Franziska Schlieter. who runs a food store,feels easing the lockdown over Christmas was a mistake. She said, ‘In the Bible, God sent people plagues when they didn’t behave. Sometimes I have to think of that.’ Officials hope that stricter rules, and people obeying them, will bring infection rates and the death toll down. See
Just as the anxieties of 2020 have led many to search for greater meaning in their lives, the pandemic has made it easier for people to explore their spirituality, with the move to online religious worship. 36-year-old Misha Allard from Toronto had quit her corporate job to pursue an acting career - something she felt was her ‘calling’. With productions halted and no work in sight, Ms Allard decided to use the spring to explore another calling - her growing interest in spirituality. ‘I guess I felt I was being led all along.’ she said. Like many millennials, Ms Allard had not attended church in years. She went every Sunday as a child, but lost interest in her teens. She is now in Christian fellowship. Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, who leads a Toronto Reformed Jewish synagogue, has seen attendance grow, especially among young adults. The pandemic had caused most worship services to go online, making it easier for searchers to discover that the Lord is good.
Boris Johnson warned the coming weeks will be the hardest yet, in another national lockdown for England. Schools and universities must switch to online learning, and summer exams will not go ahead. Pray for anxious families facing isolation at home with lack of income or adequate technology to support their stay-at-home school children or effectively work from home. May God give them peace of mind and hope for the future. Some schools are open for vulnerable and key workers' children. Pray for those who are caring for these groups to have a full complement of staff to meet students’ needs, and be able to implement appropriate safety measures to prevent pandemic transmission. Pray for the children who will not now be taking their exams this summer. May the educators and assessors be anointed to give honest and fair grades. Pray also that this lockdown will prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed in the next few weeks.
England’s church leaders welcomed permission for communal worship under new lockdown. Pray that God will help congregations to take care, and for His shield of protection and wisdom to be around the vulnerable. Cardinal Vincent Nichols said, ‘The regular practice of our faith in God is a well-established source of personal resilience and dedicated service to those in need - vital in these difficult times. I am glad no measures have been introduced to obstruct or curtail this essential source of energy for the common good.’ Pray for God’s blessings to pour over all serving the needs of local communities. Meanwhile in Scotland all places of worship will be banned from hosting physical gatherings throughout January. The only in-person services allowed are weddings, limited to five people, and funerals, where 20 will be allowed. The Bishop of London, who chairs the CofE's Covid recovery group, said the new measures ‘underline the severity of the situation for the country’.
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors is encouraging people to share photos, artwork, a prayer, or a meditation for loved ones lost to Covid-19, as part of a project to honour people dying of the disease and their families. A dairy market has been transformed into a gallery and event space. Participants use the #PrayforLA hashtag. Patrisse announced the initiative through an Instagram video on 2 January. He said that as Latino and Black residents are disproportionately impacted by Covid, the government should do more to help people financially.
Year-end school vacations will be lengthened in several countries to increase the time for social distancing. Many believe this policy will create more stress for parents juggling jobs and family. A national survey of 2,559 parents in June found a positive side for families and marriages in pandemic lockdown. Couples considering divorcing dropped by a third, and another survey revealed 25% of parents were getting on better with their children, with just 4% reporting worsened relationships. The media reported these findings as ‘weird but true’. However while lockdown affirmed marriage commitment, one in five cohabiting parents believed their relationship had worsened. They were more likely to be unhappy, get on each other’s nerves, or quarrel. Also, when schools were closed, many children began to appreciate the privilege of going to school and enjoyed having more time with their parents, improving family closeness during the corona time.
FARMS International has helped Christians grow small businesses into sustainable sources of income through microcredit loans. In turn these businesses support their communities and the local church. But many small businesses have faced challenges with the pandemic. Programmes that depend on face-to-face consumers are struggling, and have been for months. Even as restrictions lift in some places, there’s still fear of hiring the person who’s going to bring Covid to the family. Because of that fear it’s really difficult for day labourers. Workers in cities are especially challenged to keep their businesses afloat. Fewer people are travelling or willing to be in close contact with someone else. The same holds for carpenters or people who do housework. These people are on the fringes, without a secure source of income and the things that follow, like food and education. See also
A prayer report looking at November 2020 Covid-19 Hot Spots and Progress with developing Vaccines - with Prayer Pointers and Links to Resources:
As of 30th October, the total global figure for people infected by Covid-19 stands at 45.1 million according to Johns Hopkins University. In addition to this, the recorded number who have died totals 1,182,272.
Covid-19 hot spots
The US continues to be the country with the highest numbers confirmed cases and deaths related to Covid-19 globally with figures at around 8,947,830 and 228,675 respectively. The daily infection rate has increased over the past month to around 80,000 new cases per day and new deaths are projected at around 800 a day according to Worldometer.
The infection rate in England may be rising by as much as 96,000 cases a day according to the latest results from Imperial College, London. The researchers estimate that England’s R number – the number of people each person with coronavirus infects – is now 1.6, up from 1.1 in late September. They estimate that infections are doubling every nine days, compared to every 29 days previously, and that they are rising across all age groups, with the largest increase in infections seen among people aged 55 to 64.
Both France and Germany have announced a tightening of restrictions to try to curb surging coronavirus cases. France will enter a second nationwide lockdown starting on Friday to last until at least the end of November, and Germany is imposing a one-month partial lockdown from 2 November after reporting two days with record increases in daily new cases.
Russia confirmed 18,283 Covid-19 cases Friday, bringing its official number of cases to 1,599,976 and setting a new one-day record for infections. In the past 24 hours, 355 people have died. All of Russia's regions are currently experiencing shortages of doctors to fight the coronavirus, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.
Russia’s coronavirus vaccine faces equipment shortages that could delay it from entering mass production, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday as reports suggested that developers have paused clinical trials due to the shortages.
Russia has no plans to introduce nationwide lockdown measures, Putin said, saying "justified, targeted" measures would allow the economy to stay open.
India has become the second country to record more than eight million coronavirus cases amid fears of a further spike due to a series of upcoming Hindu festivals - including Diwali. The health ministry's most recent figures reported 49,881 infections and 517 deaths in the past 24 hours - bringing the overall case count above 8.04 million and the death toll to 120,527. While nationally the daily infection rate is dropping, India's capital of New Delhi saw its worst day on record on Wednesday, with 4,853 new coronavirus cases - having managed to get below 1,000 per day last month.
Latin America is now the worst-hit region in the world, along with Asia. Brazil has had more than 4.5 million confirmed cases - the third highest tally in the world after the US and India - and has had the most deaths after the US. Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Peru have also had major outbreaks, and are in the top 10 countries with the most confirmed cases.
There's been a slight increase in Covid-19 infections in Africa over the past month, according to the latest information from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of new daily confirmed cases has started rising after declining since mid-July, although in some countries cases are still on a downward trend. Over the four weeks up to 25 October, there was a 6% average increase in new cases, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). This was across most regions except in west and central Africa - in Nigeria, there was a decline in new cases. Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa and Kenya recorded increases over this period, but in Ethiopia, there was a marginal decrease. And other countries which have experienced the decreases in new cases include Sierra Leone, the Gambia, Burkina Faso, Eswatini and Ivory Coast.
Graph: Top 6 countries in Africa for Covid-19 cases
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Mainland China reported 42 new COVID-19 cases on Oct. 27, the highest daily toll in more than two months due to a rise in infections in the northwestern Xinjiang region, the country’s health authority said on Wednesday. Of the new cases, 22 in the city of Kashgar in Xinjiang were previously asymptomatic patients. The region’s health authorities also reported another 19 symptomless infections, which China does not recognise as confirmed COVID-19 cases, which accounted for half the new asymptomatic cases reported.
The daily toll for China marks the highest since 44 confirmed infections were reported on Aug. 10, though it remains far off the peaks in February at the height of the outbreak in mainland China that forced the country into a virtual standstill. Kashgar health officials said the COVID-19 testing drive for the 4.75 million people in the area was completed as of Tuesday afternoon and a total of 183 people were confirmed to have been infected with the novel coronavirus. The cases are linked to a garment factory, though it’s not yet clear how the infections began.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in mainland China now stands at 85,868, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.
Vaccines being developed by Oxford University and in Germany are the most likely candidates to be ready this year, experts have said, but there are also candidates being tested in the US, Russia and China. There are also some signs that China is pulling ahead in the race. A German vaccine backed by Pfizer could be ready to distribute before Christmas, the company's chief executive said.
However, a major new study has found that immunity to coronavirus may only last a matter of a months, which could hinder the rollout of a successful vaccine.
A study by Imperial College London, which involved 365,000 people, showed that antibodies in the population fell by more than a quarter in just three months.
Scientists said the findings suggested a "rapid" decline in immunity – which could mean that even if a successful vaccine is found, it might have to be administered twice a year.
It comes after the head of the UK's vaccine taskforce has warned that any jab is likely to be only 50 per cent effective. Kate Bingham said any vaccine capable of immunising against the coronavirus will likely only be as effective as the flu vaccine.
"The vaccines we have for flu are about 50 per cent effective, and they are annual shots, based on the strain that emerges each summer which we then get vaccinated for the winter,” Ms Bingham said. "So, I think it would be fair to say, we shouldn't assume it's going to be for the moment, better than a flu vaccine."
The latest data in the Oxford trials shows that the vaccine produces a "strong" immune response among the elderly. Analysis of the Phase II stage of the trial process reportedly found similar responses across all age groups, in findings that have been hailed as a "milestone" in the fight against the pandemic.
As well as several phase 3 trials taking place on vaccine candidates around the world, the UK is starting some "human challenge trials", where volunteers are exposed to the virus as part of testing the vaccines.
The Imperial human challenge trial is being run by hVivo, a spin-off company from Queen Mary University of London. Already roughly 2,000 people have signed up to take part in challenge studies in Britain through the group 1Day Sooner.
Those testing the vaccine will be given the jab and will then wait a month for antibodies to build. The volunteers will then be exposed to the virus.
Currently, vaccines are tested at population level, so scientists look to see whether a smaller percentage of people are infected than would be expected in the vaccine arm of the trial compared to a control group.
However worldwide lockdowns have meant that virus in the community has been very low in recent months, and scientists have struggled to get enough data to know whether their vaccines are working.
Oxford University has been forced to move some of its vaccine testing to South America and South Africa, although it is expecting results back soon.
Over 150 countries equivalent to 64% of the world’s population have pooled efforts and resources to set up the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, otherwise known as COVAX. The benefits of this are that all member parties can take advantage of successful vaccines produced from their collective library so that everyone will have access to a working product in the shortest time frame possible. In the event that a country’s own vaccine plans fall through, they will have a backup option in COVAX. Notably absent from this coalition are China and USA.
COVAX have now announced a plan to fairly distribute working vaccines around the world going first to front-line workers and then to those at highest risk. However, funding to provide vaccines to lower income countries is not yet sufficient as only $800 million of the $2 billion required has been raised.
Let us continue to declare that the novel coronavirus is defeated by the blood of Jesus.
We pray for divine intervention and for God's name to be glorified even as each nation and government tries its best to flatten the curve, prevent and lessen the impact of second spikes and finally arrest this epidemic.
We release wisdom, skill, and integrity upon our leaders.
We pray for protection, wisdom and strength, for those working to bring treatment and comfort to the sick and their families.
We pray special grace and help for the vulnerable and lesser-developed nations.
We pray for refugees and displaced peoples. We pray against domestic violence and other crimes that have become rampant during lockdowns.
We pray for a safe, effective, and affordable vaccine to be released soonest but without including aborted baby cells in its creation or neglecting proper testing protocols.
We continue to release faith, hope, and love over the peoples of the world. May the Church seize this opportune time to manifest Jesus our Lord and Savior to those who are seeking answers and peace.
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Reporting from John Hopkins University: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality
Further data on Europe and the world: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/geographical-distribution-2019-ncov-cases
‘Beyond the Pandemic: Is there any word from the Lord?’ by Rev Dr Clifford Hill
When a pandemic is unleashed, how should Christians respond?
Beyond the Pandemic provides a Biblical view of the contemporary world situation.
It focuses upon what the Biblical prophets called “the deeds of the Lord” – the historical evidence of the activity of God in the life and times of the leaders of Israel and Judah, from Moses to Malachi. This revelation of the nature of God is set alongside contemporary events, providing a prophetic view of God’s purposes in these troubled times.
After years of warnings to our society, which has turned its back on Him, who is both Creator and Sovereign over the world in which we live, we must either repent or face yet worse afflictions; Hill points us to the only effective remedy – God’s word spoken through Isaiah 45:22, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is no other.”
The Rev. Dr Clifford Hill MA, BD, PhD, Sociologist and Theologian, is a lecturer, preacher and broadcaster who has written over forty books. He is an ordained minister in the Congregational church, has led multi-ethnic congregation in London and continues to exercise pastoral oversight of an inner-city church.
He is editor-in-chief of Prophecy Today UK, which seeks to apply God’s word in the Bible to current affairs and, with his wife, Monica, is joint director of Issachar Ministries which supports Christians in prayer and action.
Beyond the Pandemic is published by Wilberforce Publications and is available to purchase:
Find out more at Wilberforce Publications: https://www.wilberforcepublications.co.uk/