With COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths at record levels, a top public health official called on religious leaders to keep their worship spaces closed, despite rising protests from some church leaders.
“The virus is having a wonderful time right now, taking advantage of circumstances where people have let their guard go down,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. “Churches gathering in person is a source of considerable concern and has certainly been an instance where super spreading has happened and could happen again.”
Collins, himself a regular churchgoer who speaks often about his Christian faith, discussed measures that church leaders can take to protect their congregations in a Zoom conversation on Thursday with Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“Most churches really ought to be advised to go to remote services, if they’re not already doing so,” Collins said.
His comments came even as the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a federal district court to reexamine its previous support for restrictions on indoor religious services in California.