It was only a few days before Christmas that I wrote with an encouraging vision of returning in person to the UUFP in early February.
But in the past two weeks, the world has changed.
The reason is Omicron.
While milder than the Delta variant, Omicron is far more communicable, doubling the number of infected persons every 2 - 4 days, a rate much faster than Delta.
Indeed, look at these local and national statistics just for the past two days (New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/us/covid-cases-deaths-tracker.html).
These startling statistics compel our attention. For example, the 14-day change in Newport News has risen from +451% to an astonishing +629%, far above the US increase of +239%, which is already bad enough.
Further, our hospitals are already nearing capacity.
In December, our Board reasoned as follows: The Delta variant overwhelmingly infects unvaccinated people. We, at UUFP, are nearly all vaccinated. Accordingly, we voted to decouple from community metrics with a plan to return in-person February 6th.
But Omicron changes that equation.
Omicron infects and spreads rapidly even among fully vaccinated people. And we know that many of our fellowship are older, hence in a more vulnerable population. So, we must take extra care of our community.
In this context, we must again watch and wait.
We have an able Policy Board Task Force – Steve Kadar, Marcy Stutzman, and Bek Wheeler – attuned to the statistics, patterns, and projections through the CDC, the New York Times, The Virginia Department of Health, and other advisory and tracking tools. Our Task Force has shared these observations with and has received unanimous affirmation from the UUFP Policy Board.
We dearly want to return in person, together – safely. You know we will stay in touch. In the meantime, please write Bek Wheeler with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In community and UU love,
Bek, Marcy, and Steve
The Policy Board Task Force on Returning in-Person
Bek Wheeler, President
Marcy Stutzman, Secretary
Steve Kadar, Member-at-Large
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