High River United Church of High River, Alberta

Pandemics are NOT Scams!

Pandemics are NOT scams.  Let me say that again: Pandemics are NOT scams.


Every time I hear someone declare that this pandemic is a scam and that masks, lock-downs and physical distancing don’t make a difference, I am incredulous. 


First of all, it would really be an incredible and, might I say, impossible feat to get every country in the world to take part in such a scam. 


Second, such a scam would serve no one!!!  It does not serve governments. It does not serve businesses in the long run, even the ones that are still making money.  It definitely does not serve the average person.  There is no point to making up a pandemic as a hoax.


Third, people are suffering and dying from COVID-19, in our country and in other countries.  The person struggling to breath in ICU does not think this is a scam.  People dying in India because of lack of medical oxygen do not think this is a scam.   My friends and relatives who have had COVID-19 will attest to the fact that this was not just “another flu.”  


The statistics aren’t made up.  In Alberta, our chief medical health officer and her staff check the reports daily. For example, they review the reports of those who are reported to have died of COVID-19. If they determine that another cause was the primary cause of death, they remove this person from the COVID stats.  They are working hard to be accurate.  The statistics are real.  Over 2,000 have died in our province in this last year from COVID-19 – it is heart-wrenching!


Thousands of medical personnel and epidemiologists around the world agree that this is a new (or novel) coronavirus.  Yes, there will always be a few who question the results, but thousands of scientists agree that this is a pandemic.  Yes, at first the medical authorities told us we didn’t need a mask and now they tell us that we do – but this was a new virus that they had to learn about, which they did very quickly.  Thousands upon thousands of front-line medical staff around the world are dealing every day with those who are severely ill and dying of this disease.  They too are telling us this is real.


How then can someone with no medical training and no training in analyzing epidemics decide that this is a scam or a hoax? 


I understand that we don’t like this pandemic.  I understand that it has disrupted our lives.  But that is what pandemics do.  It is what they have done throughout history. I’d rather not be having to live through this pandemic.  But to declare that the pandemic is a hoax or a scam is magical, wishful thinking!


The blessing is that we live in a time where we have medical knowledge and science to guide us through this pandemic.  During the plaque in England, from 1348-1350, about 40% of the population died.  Think about that: High River has a population of 14,000.  If we were living with the science and conditions of the mid 1300s, that means we could expect 5,000 to 6,000 of our residents to die. 


At that time, they did not have vaccinations and the medical treatments we have today. They didn’t even understand how the disease was being transmitted.  I am so grateful for our medical research and knowledge, and for our researchers, scientists and medical professionals who are leading us through this pandemic.  They are telling us that we must wear masks, do physical distancing and highly limit contact outside of our households – and I believe them!


The apostle Paul offers this wisdom to the church in Philippi, Greece: “Do nothing from selfish ambition…Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)


Not following public health orders is selfish.  Declaring that this pandemic is a scam is selfish.  The only way to end this pandemic is to follow Paul’s advice to care for the interests of others over our own.   We practice physical distancing, limit social contacts, avoid gathering in groups, wear masks, and follow all of the public health orders in order to care for others.  And even though I might not like it, or might be frustrated or tired of it, it is caring for others rather than my own interests that will bring this pandemic to an end.  With the grace and love of God to support us, you and I can do this!


Rev. Susan

High River United Church

a community of help, home & hope, serving in Christ's name



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123 MacLeod Trail S.W. High River, Alberta.

(403) 652-3168


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