The first case of COVID-19 in Germany was confirmed on January 28. On March 14, our city’s Senate prohibited meetings of more than 50 people. At that point there were 13 confirmed cases. On March 23, meetings of more than two people were banned, and we are only allowed out for necessary reasons. Thankfully, exercise and getting some fresh air are considered necessary. Everyone not of the same household must keep a 1.5-meter distance.
After dragging its feet a little at the beginning, the German government sprang into action and it looks like we should be relatively fine. The death rate has been relatively low, for reasons that aren’t quite understood. For many churches, including the one I attend, this has meant changing how we do things. Our Sunday service, prayer meetings, and Bible studies are now held on Zoom; other church communication happens by WhatsApp and phone calls. We also take (distanced) walks with each other as well, which alleviates some of the loneliness. Generally, the people more comfortable with technology and the more secure in living circumstances are the easiest to reach and check in on. For the homeless, this is really difficult.
The virus has also touched me in a more personal way, killing a high school friend of mine whom I had stayed in touch with over the years. That is another reason that it is good to remember: “He has defeated death for all time!”
*Names changed due to sensitivity concerns.