COVID-19 and Your Church: An Interview with the CDC’s Dr. Jay Butler

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Dr. Butler talks with Ed Stetzer about Covid, the church, vaccines, ethics, and the future.

Dr. Ed Stetzer: Where are we—or do we even know—in the midst of this pandemic?

Dr. Jay Butler: What we can describe is where we’ve been and how that might reflect what’s going to happen next. Right now, we are at a stage where we’ve come down from the worst of the pandemic that occurred in early January. But, we’re also at a critical inflection point because we’re at a time now where the number of cases has stopped declining.

Over the past couple of weeks, it’s really been a flat line. We are still seeing anywhere from 50,000 to 60,000 new cases every day. Sadly, roughly one thousand additional deaths are reported each day. These are numbers similar to what we saw at the peak of the so-called second wave last summer. So we’re at a point where it is way too early to say whether or not this is over yet.

A lot of what happens next depends on us, and how we respond to what we continue to learn about this virus.

Ed: When we talked to Dr. Francis Collins, one of the things someone commented to me afterwards was that “it sounded like Dr. Collins was thinking that none of us are meeting.”

A lot of it depends on where you are. Places like New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C. are much more restrictive, but churches around the country are meeting, and we find a larger and larger percentage of people returning. So, give us some CDC guidance regarding church gatherings. We know the CDC has not made mandates, but what guidance would you give for church and church leaders?

Dr. Jay Butler: Let’s talk about a few things.

First of all, let’s talk about what we know about how the virus is transmitted, the specific recommendations that we have regarding any kind of gathering …

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