Update from the COVID-19 Protocol Team

Thursday, January 27, 2022

The COVID-19 Protocol team met this week. We're happy to see case numbers in the Philadelphia area going down following the Omicron surge, and we expect local conditions will continue to improve. Though, while case numbers are dropping, they do remain about six times higher than they were in November 2021. That said, it remains important to exercise caution using strategies we know reduce transmission and severe illness, including well-fitting and high-quality masks and receiving vaccines and booster doses. So, we will continue to live-stream our services through February 6, 2022 and meet again in 2 weeks to assess the situation.

So that we know what you're thinking and can best inform our plans for returning to in-person activities, we ask that you fill out this short survey on staying healthy at church.

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What Does 'Endemic' Mean?

(by our team member, Dr. Ashely Ritter, APRN, PhD and CEO/Founding Member of Dear Pandemic)

There's been a lot of talk in the news and elsewhere about the term “endemic,” and we’ve gotten a lot of questions about whether or not we're shifting to this phase in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean the end.


Endemic is an adjective used to describe when something is found in an environment in sustained and predictable amounts. You may hear descriptions of an endemic flower, animal, or virus in a particular area. Endemic “things” are found at consistent levels.

It would not be appropriate to describe a virus with increasing or decreasing cases, especially a new virus, like COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 as endemic. It would also be an incomplete description of an animal or tree that is undergoing changes in population in a geographic area, even if that species had been there for many years.

SARS-CoV-2 remains unpredictable in Philadelphia and most of the world. SARS-CoV-2 continues to cause significant disruption to health and society. Until most of the world’s population has developed some immunity to SARS-CoV-2, we will continue to see epidemics or high levels of disease in various places. Most experts think that it will be some time before we can adequately describe the state of COVID-19 as endemic.

Here's a longer explainer from Dear Pandemic, a multidisciplinary team of female scientists providing factual and easy to understand information on social media: Endemic Explainer

Blessings and stay safe,

COVID Protocol Team Members:

The Revs. John & Rachel Gardner, Sally Griffith, Simson Hui, Greg Maughan, Ashley Ritter, Oscar Gunther, ex-officio, Michael Uftring, ex-officio

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