That's counting from the first day they shut down school here, which is as good a day to say "stay at home" started as any.

This weekend was the first of doing "online church": a few pre-recorded videos embedded on a page of each of websites of the churches I serve as part-time pastor.

Some churches in the neighborhood of my Upstate New York congregations (just inside the Adirondack Park "blue line") are determined to have normal services. They're fundamentalists, of course. Nobody here has gotten sick yet, they say. God, they say, will protect them. This is Pascal's wager in reverse. (Not that these folk have any idea who Pascal was.) Today I also heard tell of a group of about 20 that up until last week insisted God would protect them as they continued to meet together for Bible study. Now 14 of them have tested positive for covid. It's hearsay, of course.

The Old Testament is replete with evidence that pandemics (or at least widespread outbreaks) were common, and has some very specific and practical advice about handling them. While the advice is couched in the form of divine edicts, it's likely origin was accumulated wisdom derived from simply what worked. (It became regarded as divine because it worked reliably and saved lives when people followed it.) All the rules about frequent washing are there. All the rules about self isolation and forced isolation are there. All the rules about setting up quarantined satellite communities are there. Even rules about when you're not allowed to go to church are there. If the fundamentalists were as meticulous about following all those rules as they are about condemning gay people on the basis of a single verse in Leviticus, they would be on the cutting edge of modern corona virus remediation. Alas.

I'm under no illusion. Statistics are the same for everyone. Religion makes no difference there. God, the scriptures say, is no respecter of persons. Neither is a virus. My odds of getting covid, in general, are around 45%, as are yours if you're reading this from somewhere in the United States. Just shy of 50/50 odds. Flip a coin. Heads I get it, tails I don't. (Or roll 10+ on a d20, as D&D players say.) But I know there are measures I can take to load the dice a little bit in my favor: stay at home as much as possible; when I do have to go out, touch as little as possible and keep as much distance from others as possible; wash my hands; don't go to church. Old Testament edict kinds of things.

So, here I am. And this afternoon, here in Upstate NY, we are getting our first spring snowstorm of the season. Tomorrow I will have to brave the grocery store for the week's groceries, and toilet paper is on the list because we are down to the last 3 rolls. I wonder if they will have any yet.