As of today, a Google search on the latest on the COVID-19 yields this worldwide statistics:
New York State has overnight become the epicenter of this outbreak clocking in about 5% of the world’s total infections at 20,875 as of this morning. There are 12,305 cases in the city of New York alone and a total of 157 deaths in the whole state. New Yorkers like me are bracing for the worst. A week ago it was Italy, now it’s us.
Gov. Cuomo had put in place a state of “PAUSE” for the state of New York, instead of the more encompassing “shelter-in” put in place in California, another hotspot of the virus. PAUSE is the acronym for the 10-point “policy to assure uniform safety for everyone.” Effective 8pm on Sunday, Mar 22, all non-essential businesses are closed. Essential businesses are pharmacies, food shops and groceries. Public transportation is also running. Social distancing is mandated, which means that food shops serve only takeouts and people are supposed to stay home and go out only if essentially necessary. They are supposed to keep a distance of 6 feet away from one another if they are out. The use of sanitizers is also mandated and they are provided to the customers of business establishments that remain open. Outdoor recreational activities are discouraged and limited to non-contact ones.
As a Bible-believing Christian, this coronavirus scourge reminds me of the First Passover which happened roughly 3,600 years ago, in Egypt. The children of Israel had to stay indoors as the angel of death passed by and claimed the lives of the firstborns of Egypt. The blood of the Passover lamb smeared on the lentils and doorposts of the Israelites’ homes warded off the angel of death that swept through the region that night. The firstborns of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh to the firstborn of their slaves and prisoners all died, but all of the children of Israel were spared. It was a grim picture of sorrow, death and loss for the Egyptians but a picture of freedom and hope for the children of Israel who, on the same night, received their freedom to leave Egypt and their life of slavery in that land.
How does that story impact us today? It would be so easy to just regard that Bible account as some strange phenomenon in the past, classified among the many mysterious events in history that no one can explain, curious and spectacular as they might seem. But the Jewish people still celebrate Passover to this day, and so do the Christians, indirectly. For the Jews it is the commemoration of their freedom from slavery as a nation in Egypt 3,600 years ago. For the Christians, the historic day that their Savior Jesus Christ was crucified and died was on the first day of Passover 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem, Israel. According to the Bible, Jesus is the Passover Lamb who, 2,000 years ago, fulfilled the Passover sacrificial lamb foreshadowed by the First Passover in Egypt, 3,600 years ago. Yes, the first Passover was a prophetic event that had its fulfillment at the Cross in Calvary 1,600 years later. That day is traditionally immortalized by their annual observance of Good Friday. Easter, a most important Christian holiday second only to Christmas, falls on the third day after Good Friday. Easter Sunday is the day when Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead after he died on Passover. Passover is celebrated for 8 days by the Jewish community. It spans a week. Now you would think Passover would fall on the same week the Christians celebrate their Good Friday and Easter. But no, they don’t, because they use two different calendars to calculate when this week falls in each year. Interestingly though, this year, Passover week for the Jews falls on the same week as Holy Week for the Christians. Passover starts on April 8, Wednesday and ends on April 16, Thursday. On the other hand, Holy Week starts on Maundy Thursday, April 9 and ends on Easter Sunday, April 12. It also looks like the coronavirus worldwide escalation might peak that same week.
God had been speaking through signs and wonders, moons and seasons to our generation. It looks like He is speaking loudly to us once again through the COVID-19. It is only fitting that we PAUSE, pun intended, stay indoors and ponder in our hearts about God and what He’s saying to us at Passover and Holy Week this year.
Keep safe, keep distancing, eat well, sleep enough and live healthy, dear friends! Young ones, this is not the time to visit grandma and grandpa. Use Zoom or Skype to spend “face time” with them. “A merry heart is good medicine.” Watch a comedy and chat with friends over the phone to keep happy and healthy! Let’s keep our spirits and immune system up as we weather through this coronavirus challenge. It will also do well to pray for protection for our first responders – the firefighters, doctors, nurses, caregivers and everyone in the front lines – and wisdom for our government leaders who have to make swift and wise decisions in these stressful times. Let us pray for provisions of more PPE (personal protective equipment) for our medical practitioners and more hospital beds as we are suffering shortages of those right now. Let us also pray for those already infected so they would recover, and for peace and comfort for the families who have lost loved ones. Let us connect with our communities and extend practical help, like monetary donations, where needed and if we are able.
Let us keep cheerful and prayerful.
1) Danner, Stieb and Hart (2020, Mar 23). “Coronavirus in New York: Latest Updates” [ Mag Feature]. Retrieved Mar 23, 2020 from https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/new-york-coronavirus-cases-updates.html
2) Google.com (2020. Mar 23). (Search Result on Coronavirus Latest Updates). [Online Data]. Retrieved Mar 23, 2020 from https://www.google.com/search?q=New+York%2C+latest+on+coronavirus&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS883US883&oq=new+york%2C+latest+on+coronavirus&aqs=chrome.0.69i59.7574j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
3) health.ny.gov (2020, Mar 23). “New York State on PAUSE” [Site Update]. Retrieved Mar 23, 2020 from https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/new-york-state-pause
If you wish to cite this blog, citation is as follows: PureJoyLand. (2020, Mar 23). “New York is on PAUSE Over Coronavirus” [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://purejoyland.com/2020/03/new-york-pause/