Multiple Churches Defy State Orders; Parishioner Tests Positive

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Sign from a Redding protest rally. Photo by Steve DuBois

If COVID-19 has its way, Mother’s Day 2020 may be remembered in the north state as the day when scores of people were exposed to the deadly virus after they bucked state bans against mass gatherings.

It’s the Wild West in this blood-red region of Northern California when it comes to its citizenry obeying the governor’s executive orders related to public health and safety during the pandemic. More and more, executive orders are seen as optional, and thus proudly ignored without fear of consequence.

I’m not talking about the controversial high-profile Mother’s Day Cottonwood Rodeo, attended by 2000 people. I’m talking about an unknown number of churches that opened their doors to in-person services attended by anywhere between dozens to hundreds of congregants per church on Mother’s Day.

PBFC (Palermo Bible Family Church) Ministries in Palermo, located in Butte County, was one such church that defied the governor’s order on May 10. There, more than 180 men, women and children gathered on Mother’s Day for worship, fellowship and song. It was a popular service after having been unable to gather for so long. Members were shoulder to shoulder. According to photos taken during the Mother’s Day service (that no longer appear on the church Facebook page) masks and social distancing were not observed.

Pre-pandemic photo from PBFC Ministries Facebook page shows a typical Sunday.

By the next day, one PBFC parishoner who’d attended the church’s Mother’s Day service had fallen ill and was tested for COVID-19. The test result was positive.

Previous PBFC Ministries Facebook photos that had been posted to document the crush of jubilant Mother’s Day parishioners crowded into the PBFC church no longer exist on the PBFC Facebook page. Likewise, the video of the Mother’s Day sermon has also been scrubbed from the church website and Facebook page. 

However, as of Friday night, the PBFC’s website calendar still showed May filled with in-person church services, including the special May 10 Mother’s Day sermon.

But even more crucial was a Facebook post from PBFC Pastor Mike Jacobsen about the circumstances relating to the infected parishioner.

I want to inform everyone that as Pastor of PBFC, I made a decision to have church on Mother’s Day with our congregation celebrating moms, one of our attendees who had no symptoms that day. Woke up the next morning needing medical attention on Monday the 11th was given the test for Covid 19 and found to be positive on Wednesday the 13th. We have been working with Butte County Public Health and dismissed church services until further notice. I would never with knowledge put anyone in harms way. We love our church and feel very blessed to Pastor a great group of believers. For 7 weeks we have been kept out of our church and away from our church family. I am fully aware that some people may not understand that for our church it is essential to be together in fellowship. Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.

In Him I Serve,

Pastor Mike Jacobsen

The hundreds of comments to date that followed were overwhelmingly supportive of the pastor, his family, and his decision, expressed both on the PBCF Facebook page, and on the personal Facebook page of Chris Jacobsen, Pastor Jacobsen’s son, who’s also a member of the church staff. The majority of commenters stood up for the pastor, the church and Jacobsen’s decision:

“I’m so saddened to see how Satan has worked today, but I’m so overjoyed at the steadfast faith our congregation has. That is because of the unwavering faith and love you guys have for God, and for your people!! You set an example, and you guys stand together. We stand with you!”

“You guys are awesome..I would do it again just as we did last Sunday..It was Awesome well worth being there..Seeing Sister Pat up there so full of pure joy and so over whelmed of Gods goodness ..Wow..as i was told tonite there are HUNDREDS that walk in out of walmart every single day and no one says a word ..i consider the source..We are all gonna be just fine and so is the one who is sick..Your Dad did what his heart told him to do..That man would never ever put any of us in arms way..He wouldnt ever hurt anyone and if ppl dont see or know that well then they dont know that man at all..So shush to u ppl who just want to bash..Love all if you…I trust pastor 120 %”

“We all know how tough this has been hard on both you and Pat.Your heart and desire has never been to cause any hardship on the fellowship.This same issue could happen to any of us who have been to Home Depot or Walmart…Let’s get through this together.The worshippers who were in Service wanted to be there.Let us not live with a spirit of fear.”

“This could happen anywhere. Its still not your fault. I would have made the choice to go and so did the other people. And we know you wouldn’t purposely put us in harm’s way. And I still wouldn’t be mad being exposed to it. I was looking forward to coming in a couple of weeks. Still my fav pastor”

“My prayers to the one who fell ill. We all made our own choices to come back. This is in no way on you pastor. My family and I will be ready when called back.”

“Everyone had a choice to go! Nobody was forced.”

There were some exceptions to the supportive Facebook comments:

“You knowingly risked and potentially put someone in harms way by holding an open church event when we are ALL supposed to be severely limiting in person social interaction. So don’t say “I would never with knowledge put anyone in harms way” because YOU DID. How selfish.”

“Praying for whomever fell ill. May i ask what safe practices were used to prevent exposure? I only ask because as our towns begin to open and our children begin to go back to school, what practices will we need to really follow? Again, prayers for your congregation”

“I’m sorry, I have a major problem with this whole thing,If you really care about your parishioners,why would you blatently ignore the athorities, and put all these people at risk,it seems like you are not very smart or you just did this out of defiance …”

“Hopefully nobody dies? things just got real”

“The whole congregation disrespected me and the rest of the county when they said screw it to the social distancing order. I can guarantee people have been around town since then…. you mean to tell me this was a respectful thing to do? You all are a bunch of clowns ?”

“the world doesn’t revolve around the church or God. I’m not less worth of my public health because you guys wanted to go to church on mothers day…. which is not a religious holiday.
You guys are selfish…. “

One source, a north state pastor of an evangelical church that’s obeyed the shut-down orders, described PBFC Ministries, and other non-compliant churches as a rogue “bold minority.” The pastor said that although the majority of north state religious organizations are adhering to the restrictions and official guidelines, the small percentage of rule-breakers endanger everyone.

On the one hand, the Mother’s Day Cottonwood Rodeo was a loud, well-publicized, sheriff-OK’d, singular event with a known number of participants and attendees. On the other hand, here in the north state, there are dozens upon dozens of religious organizations and churches, making it difficult to determine exactly how many area church leaders chose Mother’s Day to determine the end of their nearly two-month abstinence from in-person church.

And while the PBFC incident happened in Butte County, sources report a number of Shasta County churches also opened in May.

Even so, one thing is certain, and that’s the fact that the churches that chose to re-open prematurely knew the rules. They opened their churches deliberately and in disobedience of California’s order to not re-open churches until the state had moved beyond its current Stage 2 level of restriction. But anecdotally, regarding which churches opened, and which churches are abiding by the orders, word is circulating throughout the north state regarding the identities of churches that have taken the matter of early opening into their own hands.

And of course, eventually, even those churches that have done a stellar job of concealing their identities and their unauthorized openings will be unable to do so if COVID-19 spreads through their congregations faster than a Baptist potluck gossip mill.

COVID-19 is no respecter of secrets.

Back at PBFC Ministries, on Wednesday Pastor Jacobsen featured a live Bible study on the church Facebook page. He spoke of his decision to open the church on Mother’s Day, and provided scripture to back up his actions. As of this Friday-night writing, the video had 993 views and 26 shares.

Source: Facebook screen shot.

“I have felt the peace of God in the decisions I’ve made,” he said during his “Doing Life Together” mid-week Bible study. He cited and paraphrased scripture, such as Hebrews 10:25: “Let us not neglect our meeting together as some people do . . .”

Jacobsen said he knew it was important to get back to church as soon as possible, adding that PBFC Ministries wasn’t the only church to open in May. In fact, he was aware of some churches that even opened before Mother’s Day, and furthermore, he knew many churches planned to re-open on May 31, Pentecost Sunday

As a means of justification, Jacobsen explained that because PBFC has so many young, new converts, it was especially important they not be left without access to in-person church, equating the removal of church from new believers to taking “an infant out of the arms of its mother”.

Jacobsen recalled that his congregation had, for seven weeks, obeyed the state order, and had compromised by offering videoed Bible studies and Sunday church services.

“But it’s not the same as being together,” he said. “Fellowshipping together, hearing people sing and praising and worship and loving the Lord.”

He said the excitement of being together as a congregation on Mother’s Day was overwhelming.

“I loved every minute of it.”

He appeared somber as he acknowledged that some people might think he or the church needed to defend his Mother’s Day decision.

“We do not,” he said, before drawing a comparison between himself and Jesus.

“When he was getting all the accusations against him, he never for a moment tried to defend himself,” Jacobsen said of Jesus Christ.

“It seems natural for us to try to justify our decisions and justify our actions. But all we can do is the best we can do. Find that righteous path and then walk that path as Jesus would lead us.”

Friday, Butte County Public Health issued a statement about the church and its positive COVID-19 case, but did not name PBFC Ministries as the subject of the statement. The press release said the infected person received the positive COVID-19 diagnosis on Monday, and is now home in isolation.

Butte County Public Health officials reported that everyone who’d attended the Mother’s Day religious service had been notified of their exposure, instructed to self-quarantine and will be tested. (See the full press release here.) 

Meanwhile, despite Pastor Mike Jacobsen’s assertion that he didn’t need to defend his actions, his son, youth pastor Chris Jacobsen, reached out to parishioners with this Friday-night Facebook post.

“I would like to just say a huge thank you to all the love and support that everyone has shown my family and I we are overwhelmed,” the younger Jacobsen wrote. “We absolutely love our church and everyone that has said such nice things to us, and we love everyone that may not agree with us as well you are welcome to your opinion. God bless.”

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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71 Responses

  1. Avatar Karen Calanchini says:

    Excellent article Doni, you are a true journalist.
    I am so looking forward to the day when I can turn on the radio, TV and go to my computer without hearing or seeing the word Coronavirus or Covid 19…..it all we hear or see all day long, hour by hour, and it is getting to be a very unhealthy thing for many of us. So much negativity, bad news, sad news, and everyone I know is on edge, grumpy, and struggling.

    I cannot recall when I had my last good laugh, was carefree and happy, and did not get after myself because I forgot to grab my mask on the way out the door.

  2. Avatar Chris Solberg says:

    Strange how God moves…

    It was mothers day some years ago and visiting Sacramento I was eager to visit Capital Christian Center, as I had heard so much about it.

    As a very new believer and the inner doors were opened I was given the Grace to feel the absolute presence of God overwhelming the huge Church….and beyond.

    Again it was mothers day and the church was giving out roses and little red and green scrolls to go with them.

    They talked about how mothers may feel their day to day activities raising families and children are not important to God.

    But the scroll talked about how much God loves the day to day sacrifices of mothers, raising families, cooking and cleaning and loving and picking up the pieces…. How important it is in the eyes of our Lord.

    There was a couple there ……

    Several rows down from me there was an older couple and the woman was crying and I instantly knew she had lost a child and the guilt was overwhelming.

    I went outside in the hall and got her a rose and a scroll as she did not accept one as they were being passed around.

    As the service was over they were walking up the isle and I approached her.

    I told her I usually don’t get involved in peoples affairs, but I truly believe theses belong to you, (handing her the rose and scroll.)

    She looked down at them in her hand at what seemed forever…. tears flowing, lip quivering….and when finally she looked up….

    The countenance of her face changed to joy, and these strange white things fell of her eyes and flew upwards as she looked at me and said thank you.

    I hope this gives hope and comfort to those who have lost children this mothers day…

    • Avatar Bruce Slivnick says:

      Frankly while religious observance can be important. It does not provide an appropriate excuse or reason to put others in harms way.

      The church and the pastor both made a terrible mistake in judgment (not intentional but negligent mistake nonetheless).

      That the parishioner felt ok on Mother’s Day is irrelevant without appropriate precautions. That service should have been Zoom or other online service.

  3. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    I found myself shaking my head through the whole post. Blood-red county indeed.

  4. Hey, there, just a heads up that I’ll be off line for a few hours. I’ll be back to reply to comments after that. Thanks for reading!

  5. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    So Pastor Jacobsen, if getting back together for fellowship is in the best interests of your flock (especially the young members who might back-slide into heathenism)—trumping public health concerns—and the case of COVID-19 in the congregation is nothing more than Satan’s dirty work……why the about-face? Why aren’t you having in-house church services tomorrow, and every Sunday thereafter?

    How many souls are you willing to sacrifice in order to avoid legal liability and the county’s wrath? Are you letting Satan win? Or are you cowing to reality?

    • I think the Satan part had to do with the backlash the pastor was getting about his decision, though I could be wrong. I’m all confused about what part they think is Satan and what is an act of God. I should have added at the bottom of my column that this is the first of two-part article. Stay tuned for Part 2.
      I think what got me most about the pastor’s response, and his son’s, and most of the commenters on their FB pages, is there was no remorse, only literally righteous justification. The way the pastor wrote the note on FB, with some weird comma placements, I couldn’t tell if he was saying that maybe the infected person was a mother. But either way, whomever the person is, you’d think that as a “man of God” he’d be falling on his knees and begging somebody for forgiveness for exposing his flock to such a reckless event.

      Imagine, poor Butte County Public Health, having to do the contact tracing on 180 people.

      My prediction: the north state will be a major COVID-19 hot spot. How could it not? It’s good the county has its field hospital on standby. We may need it.

  6. Avatar Hal Johnson says:

    Meanwhile, at Departments 9 and 10 at the courthouse Friday, no county employees were wearing masks–not the judge, not the bailiffs, not the deputy D.A.s, not the public defenders, not the clerks.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      The face mask has been hijacked as a virtue-signaling device like a bumper sticker on a Subaru. Wear a mask if you wish. But no mask can protect us from fear and despair and putting our lives on hold while politicians lecture us from afar. Respect your neighbor. Exercise common sense and cleanliness and responsibility. If you are among the “vulnerable,” stay home. But for God’s sake, let’s get back to business.

      • Avatar Ed Marek says:

        Nothing truly defines the loser as does their unwillingness to accept the advice, and follow the example, of the winners:

        “…“In other countries, like the U.S., people assume that the best outcome for the economy is to get it going again,” Fyfe said. “But if states have to lock down again, they will get a far worse economic outcome than if they’d shut down quickly and completely…”

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/new-zealand-edges-back-to-normal-after-routing-coronavirus-in-49-days/2020/05/15/c8f43f46-950e-11ea-87a3-22d324235636_story.html?utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most

        https://anewscafe.com/2020/05/01/redding/open-conversation-for-may-2020/#comment-226311

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        Virtue signalling, huh? I spent the morning at Redding Farmer’s Market, then at Guiton’s getting a part for my pool filter system. I wore my mask, and far from feeling like I was virtue-signaling, I felt like the typical unmasked Shasta County resident was looking at me and thinking “weakling” or “lemming” or “pansy liberal.” But I wore it anyway, and not with the illusion that people were mistaking me for being virtuous.

        Who in their right mind thinks that wearing a mask is supposed to protect us from fear and despair and putting our lives on hold? What is that even supposed to mean? It’s like supporting Trump makes people start to think like Trump, in rambling stream-of-conscious non-sequiturs.

        Taking simple, easy precautions is part of getting back to work. Refusing to take them is the opposite. Fucking duhhhh.

      • Avatar Hal Johnson says:

        Hm. And I thought that I was wearing my mask in public to avoid transmitting the virus to others, in case I might be asymptomatic.

        But no, I now realize that I’m “virtue signaling,” and really, I don’t give a flying eff about other folks.

        Golly, Doug. Thanks for correcting my thinking.

      • Avatar Randy says:

        If wearing a mask is ‘virtue-signaling’, is refusing to wear a mask, ‘iniquity- signaling’?

      • Avatar jeff says:

        Do say Doug; what might be the difference between said virtue signaling like a bumper sticker on a Subaru then perhaps a little virtue signaling on a Ford F150?

      • Avatar Randy says:

        Never heard of, ‘virtue-signaling’, before Doug brought it up but after understanding the term better I can see no better example of ‘virtue-signaling’ than the Trump cult doing photo-ops of televangelists gathered in the White House around Trump, eyes squenched in ‘deep prayer’ laying hands on their Golden Boy.

    • Avatar Miguel says:

      You’re kidding?
      Except that, no, of course you’re not. That is .. truly discouraging. Any idea who made this call?

      • Avatar Ed Marek says:

        Well said!

      • Avatar Candace says:

        Doni, “We’re screwed”. I agree. The no masks at the courthouse that Hal mentioned certainly puts a fine point on the prevailing mindset of our city and county leadership. Willful ignorance seems to be holding the Covid-19 response reins in Shasta County. I was thinking back last night to when I went through chemotherapy. Typically one’s white blood cell count drops very low directly after treatment and then climbs back up before the next treatment. Unfortunately my white cells didn’t want to cooperate which means my being in public was risky and put me in danger of catching viruses so I didn’t venture out much in between treatments. Many people wear masks in public for medical reasons and other than the (to be expected) open stares from children, I don’t remember ever having another adult accuse them of virtue signaling but instead were typically either standoffish (ignorance, fear) or quite gracious. Of course cancer isn’t a virus but the fact remains that a mask is a form of protection. In the case of cancer it’s to protect the wearer while in the case of this virus it’s for both our protection – mine and yours. It’s a virus. It’s a mask to be worn for all of our protection. To those who “proudly (huh?)” refuse to wear one – why? Other than being uncomfortable how is it hurting you to do so? Is it messing with your hair? Is it too hard to breathe? Do you not want to “look funny”? Are you a Trump supporter and think if you wear one it tells others you’re not? It’s a deadly virus; the mask is just a mask. How is caring for someone else other than yourself a bad thing? If it’s the Trump thing buy one with his name on it; just, please, wear one.

      • Avatar Clinton Kane says:

        Pithy

  7. Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

    Areas where church services have irresponsibly been held have typically experienced a huge spike in Covid-19 cases – not only within the congregations themselves, but in the surrounding community. Churches are lightining rods for the spread of this deadly disease.

    It always amazes me when church people try to compare their self-serving decision to unnecessarily spread this life-threatening virus to accessing food and other survival items. People shopping at Walmart are not standing inches away from one another for an hour or more singing in each other’s faces.

    And within the past month my landlord had to replace a faulty electrical outlet in my home (a potential fire hazard), and needed a part to get my air conditioner running, in our already 100-plus southern Arizona heat. Home Depot is where he purchased these life-saving items.

    Church people aren’t entitled to special privileges (at the expense of the rest of the community) just because they choose to believe in a primitive religious text, or because they claim to have received special dispensation from their god. I realize they can’t pass the collection plate in an empty church. Congregants also don’t experience the same oxytocin chemical high (conveniently characterized as an encounter with “God” or the “Holy Spirit”) from online services that they get from being part of a big, hysterical crowd. If churches can’t survive a couple of months of adhering to desperately-needed safety standards, perhaps they aren’t offering a product with enough substance to be worth saving.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      “…Areas where church services have irresponsibly been held have typically experienced a huge spike in Covid-19 cases”

      What is your source for that claim? Yesterday I saw an interview with a Catholic priest that has been providing mass for his congregation until NJ shut him down. Instead of 2 services on Sundays, he was providing 6 to spread the crowd and be able to maintain social distancing. Many people out there, Patrecia, need their faith to get them through this crisis. We still have a First Amendment that guarantees the free exercise of religion.

      Experts have been watching Georgia after they reopened their economy early. Since reopening last month, Georgia hasn’t seen a spike in coronavirus cases.

      “… choose to believe in a primitive religious text”…” being part of a big, hysterical crowd.”…

      Just because you despise organized religion, doesn’t mean it is not important to millions. My guess church services are just as important to these people as is an air conditioning part or electrical outlet. is to you.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Doug Cook,

        1. Texas prematurely reopened many venues a few weeks ago, and has now been experiencing a record-breaking one thousand new coronavirus cases each day for nearly a week. It’s not alone.

        2. Among many other examples, fully one-third of coronavirus cases in Sacramento County have been directly linked to church services that violate State public safety mandates. The same scenario is playing out all over the country. The so-called “free exercise of religion” doesn’t give self-entitled religious people the right to endanger the lives of the others in the community during a public health crisis.

        3. Their “faith” isn’t being threatened. They can still believe whatever they wish, access online and televised services, and express their beliefs in a variety of ways. They just can’t (temporarily) amass in large numbers in situations that involve singing, screaming, hugging, etc.

        4. Attending in-person church services is NOT as important as averting a fire or avoiding death by heat stroke in 100-plus temperatures. PERIOD.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Patrecia, according to the link provided by Ed Marek, showing how states are progressing (updated daily). It shows more positive test results, primarily because the have ramped up the testing since the reopening. If you look at the percent of positive tests compared to the total tested, the rate has DECREASED by 5.1% since the reopening. Just about the same as California. So the facts don’t prove your claim.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Sorry…I was talking about Texas in the above post, I didn’t make that clear. In addition, if you look at Georgia, who opened up even earlier. There numbers are even better. Showing a 6.2% decrease in positive cases.

  8. Avatar Gail Paulsen says:

    I think so many will never understand unless it gets personal to them. Unless they see a loved one, grandparent, spouse, child, friend suffer or die from this horrible virus, they will not be believers.
    My father lost his father (my grandfather) in 1918 of the Spanish flu. He was just 31 years old. My grandmother was also 31 years old and was also sick. Her husband was buried before she even knew he had died. No time to grieve.
    She was left with 2 very young children, my dad was 2 years old and his sister was 6 years old. Even though she had a college education from Cal Berkeley, she had suffered a hearing loss from scarlet fever. There were no social programs to help single parents. No jobs to be found, no help. Within 4 years she found she could not provide for them and they were sent to a children’s home in San Diego. She lived in San Francisco. It was a sad time for my dad. He lived his childhood in an institution. We have evolved, somewhat, from those times but there are still consequences that we must deal with.

  9. Avatar michelle says:

    Bad people not wearing masks!!!! Masks are not a law-they are optional. I choose not to wear unless required-it’s my choice. I would not wear one if 10 people in the county had the flu. I am not going to live in fear of the small percentage of catching that virus in our county. Selfish of me? It could be said it is selfish of you to want 30% of our county to be poor, indigent and unemployed. I heard an old gentleman say one time (when every house for a block burned in the Bear fire-except his old single wide 60’s era trailer) that he had no homeowner insurance anyway. When asked why he replied, “Well, you have to take a few risks in life.”

    • Avatar Miguel says:

      So it’s OK to have a campfire in the forest .. during no burn season .. because, “gotta’ take a few risks in life.?”

      “I got my rights!!” …. Sigh ..

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Wearing a mask does not make people unemployed, or extend their unemployment.

      Not wearing a mask because you don’t have to very well could do both.

      Your values, your logic, your choice—you’re right about that.

    • Avatar Jennifer A. says:

      The economy can eventually be recovered. A life lost needlessly from COVID-19 can’t.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        It is simply untenable to lock Americans down for months more. Calls to do so ignore not only the catastrophic human suffering inflicted on millions, but the reality of economics, which is that government cannot interminably pay everyone to stay at home. Have we as a society, so fundamentally altered our own perception of risk aversion that we aren’t willing to leave our houses unless the risk is close to zero?

        Is Jennifer willing to keep the economy shut down to try and prevent one lost life? We as a society have accepted a certain amount of risk. A healthy worker has more risk commuting to work on our freeways than Covid-19. But that is a risk we are willing to take. The reopening of America will come from the bottom up. Americans will not tolerate this much longer. You can already see the increase in outside activity’ I go to the Sundial Bridge just about every day, it is as crowded as I’ve ever seen it. I have been flying my airplane almost daily, the last couple weeks, traffic has been back to normal. I flew into the Napa airport and Healdsburg the other day…it was as busy as ever.

        • Avatar Ed Marek says:

          Interesting lecture on the “reality of economics” by one who obviously has no understanding of the subject.

          It will never be possible for America to emerge from the trump depression until the pandemic is over. The trumpist minority’s delusion that economic growth can occur while the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths are allowed to grow exponentially will collapse in another panic, just as we saw last March.

          It looks like the primary questions now are how many hundred thousand Americans will have to die before this happens, and then, will the trumpist regime (for the first time) learn something from its mistakes.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          You’re right. So the least you could do is wear a mask so as to decrease the probability of transmission, thereby increasing the probability of opening up more and staying open.

          But you won’t. You won’t because you view refusing to wear a made as an act of defiance, like an adolescent boy refusing to tuck in his shirt in church when asked to. That’s what’s important to you—your self-image. Not opening up.

          • Avatar Hal Johnson says:

            I’ve been scratching my head a bit over Doug’s apparent insistence in viewing the wearing of masks as a “it’s too early to go back to work” statement. I tend to think that it *is* time to go back to work in Shasta County, but that, by gawd, means we’d better wear our damn masks.

    • Avatar Candace says:

      “Respect you neighbor”. Exactly. Wear a mask. EZ ask that could save your neighbor’s life. Virtue signaling? Hmm. If caring about not passing a deadly virus to your neighbor isn’t an act of virtue I don’t know what is; so as far as I’m concerned virtue signal away my friends. Ignore the noise.

      • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

        So…as a pilot, you are certainly intimately familiar with the mandate of a preflight inspection. Check the oil, tires, mags, wire harnesses for net integrity, chafing, operation, brakes, fuel for water, contaminants, etc. If you find something wrong, you have the option to fix it pronto, defer it to next maintenance, or fly it and watch it.
        Of course, the “fly it and watch it’ course of action comes with many inherent risks. Progressive failure mode is, quite simply, failure pending – and I’d bet a dime’s worth of donut holes you are not willing to bet your life on aircraft systems of which you are not intimately informed – and like most successful pilots – likely consult expert opinion for issues beyond your expertise. The US is in the fly it and watch it mode, despite expert opinion that contradicts that course as a safest course of action. Stay ready, and keep on the lookout for every available spot to set down. We may need it…

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Bill, as a pilot I accept a certain amount of risk. While in the Air Force, there were times I had to accomplish a mission with a jet that wasn’t 100% safe. Or maybe the weather was questionable. Or people trying to shoot you down. It is an educated risk you take every time you fly. Even flying my little Cessna 182, you can’t mitigate the risk to zero.
          We are at the point in this crisis where the risk to healthy individuals is low. Wear a mask…don’t wear a mask, makes no difference to me. I don’t think I am high risk, even though I’m a ripe old age of 64. I am healthy, I have no pre-existing conditions, I would really like to get back to work. If you are concerned, if you are high risk then by all means shelter in place, don’t go to the movies are out to dinner. The rest of us need to get back to work.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            I, I, I, I, I.

            The selfishness aside, the I illogic is dumbfounding. I want to get back to work, so we should all be reckless and not wear masks or take other precautions. :::boggle:::

          • Avatar Hal Johnson says:

            Doug, although we’re about the same age, I think you left the military several years after my departure from active duty. When you left the Air Force, was a “circle red X” still a thing?

          • Avatar Candace says:

            See now this is part of what’s pissing me off about the mask thing. It’s one thing to say you want to get back to work. It’s quite another to say you don’t care one way or the other whether or not people wear masks while at the same time saying if others are at risk to go ahead and stay home. Does it occur to people that perhaps those that are at higher risk might actually like to go out to dinner, etc without being put at further risk due to others not wearing masks or social distancing? Or do only those without added risk count? No getting around it, it’s selfish as hell not to wear a mask in order for others to enjoy the same quality of life as you. That’s being an adult and respecting others rather than acting like petulant child who doesn’t like being told what to do.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Yep, Hal..the circle red X was still in place and was the bane of my existence at times. Basically maintenance wanted to ground the aircraft with a red X, but was outranked, usually by a Lt Colonel that didn’t know what he was talking about. Changing a Red X, meaning an aircraft is unsafe to fly to a circle red X meaning the aircraft may be flown with limitations. Ugh…

        • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

          Yeah, Doug, I have pretty much the same recollection of whether to accept an aircraft with a circle red X. You could turn the aircraft down, but you’d have some ‘splainin’ to do to the “old man.” I think, to this day, that seeing a circle red X symbol on a piece of paper would drive up my blood pressure by several points.

  10. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    POTUS has given us an open gate pass” to defy the shelter-in-place order, deny the science, and repudiate the opinion of public health experts. It’s a peril to us all, and it is too late to expect a turnabout of WH policy. POTUS wants us all in for a quick economic recovery. Unfortunately, his choice of dialogue going forward will continue to downplay the risk of overindulgence in that recovery, and those most vulnerable will pay the dearest price. To those that would suggest we “cowboy up” going forward – I suggest we “humble up”, show some appreciation for the science, or be relinquished to embrace the risk.

  11. Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

    Annie’s Campground in Wisconsin posted a sign outside. “Masks are not allowed in the building as they are a possible robber and will be treated as such.”
    AZ Republic has joined the lawsuit against public officials to reveal information on Nursing home deaths as they have reached 72% of COVI deaths.
    4 weeks ago Arizona launched a testing blitz on Saturdays. They stated in common sense that anyone could understand that increased testing will lead to increase of COVI cases. They are now extending the testing blitz two more weeks.

  12. Avatar Susan Kibbee says:

    In the interest of “Christian Fellowship” I’m certain the Palermo Baptist Church intends to reimburse Butte County Health for the wages of all contact tracing needed. Of course they will be paying all the testing fees and any hospitalization costs for their members and anyone a member may have infected. If this incident causes our county to delay opening for business waiting to reopen (haircare, gyms, etc) these business will now be receiving funding from this Baptist Church. Right? Christianity is about love and respect.

  13. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    Doug apparently doesn’t understand that this isn’t just about him being willing to take on some risk. His risk is everyone’s risk. That’s how epidemics work. If 40% of people act like they don’t give a damn, *everyone* pays in a dozen different currencies.

    • Avatar Candace says:

      Steve, it’s insanity. If I said what I really want to say to all the people touting the “ you can’t make me” mask thing it’d never appear here in print. I’ve decided it’s useless; like screaming into the void. I give up. Instead I’ll focus my attention on the people who do care and who are doing what they can to help. That’s the good stuff. The other stuff is unproductive noise. As I and others have mentioned many times, “During a crises always look for the helpers; they’re around.”

  14. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    Here a link to a National Review article advocating the wearing of masks during the COVID crisis. Yes Doug, that would be the National Review, not Mother Jones.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/03/coronavirus-pandemic-japan-shows-masks-help-slow-spread-covid-19/

    Doug, you’re a smart guy, and you write well. You can be a leader. Please help spread the word that wearing masks is a smart move, not a betrayal of conservative ideals.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Hal…if you read my original post. In it I never said that wearing a mask is not a good idea. My only comment was that it has been hijacked as a virtue-signaling device. If I go back to work soon, I will be required to wear a mask…that is fine and dandy to me. I never insinuated that as someone else characterized, “…“ you can’t make me” or I’m against masks. I was in favor of people wearing masks when the CDC was saying it wasn’t necessary. It is just my observation on how politicized this whole crisis has become. Yes, Hal…wearing a mask is a good idea, I never disputed that, but it is my guess however, it has more to do with giving people a sense of security more than actual help in avoiding catching the virus. I think such outrage shown here over a rather innocuous statement shows that subject of masks has indeed been hijacked

      • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

        Thanks for clarifying your feelings on that, Doug.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        Doug, it’s your illogical inference that wearing masks is somehow contrary to getting back to work that was getting under my skin. Wearing masks is a choice in most contexts, not a requirement. People can choose not to wear them.

        Masks have prophylactic value, so choosing not to wear them in public is choosing to increase the probability of spreading COVID-19. And if not wearing a mask is your choice, you are choosing to increase the probability that getting everyone back to work is delayed by a local outbreak. (The last two people who tested positive in this county were asymptomatic, by the way.)

        That masks are worn for “virtue signaling” value is bullshit, especially here in Shasta County. Signaling comprises a signaler issuing a signal with a meaning that is understood to receivers. If my mask is a signal, to most receivers around here its meaning is “lemming” or “chicken-shit.” If that’s how the signal is generally interpreted, that’s what it means. My bet is that when you see someone wearing a mask around town, your thought isn’t, “Oh, what a responsible person!” You’ve made your opinion of mask-wearers clear by labeling it with the pejorative “virtue signaling.”

        I’m conscious every time I go into a local store where only 10% of the people are wearing masks that I’m not signaling anything close to virtue with my mask. That becomes more obvious when I draw a sneer, or overhear two people talking about the the libtards who are still wearing masks.

        You don’t have to wear a mask if you don’t want to—it’s not a requirement. I am approaching the point where I might throw in the towel—being among the 5% who wear masks is pointless, and if the vast majority of my neighbors don’t care about taking simple preventative measures, mask-wearing is a lost cause.

        But your notion that wearing masks is somehow counter to getting back to work and other types of opening up is the opposite of evidence-based and logical, and needed to be put down.

  15. Avatar John Whittenberger says:

    Here’s a study showing why a mask is important. In a confined space the virus laden droplets from a person talking can last 8-14 minutes. Singing is worse.

    https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/05/12/2006874117?

  16. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    It’s a case waiting to be made… but, looking back to the AIDS epidemic, there were many documented instances where the virus was intentionally passed to an intended victim. No surprise this was regarded as a crime, and could easily be interpreted as attempted murder. Return to now…
    I see it as inevitable that such a similar legal case will be tested at some point in the current pandemic. Any behavior other than that which we can all agree is medically responsible could easily be construed (at the least) as reckless. Any intentional exposure could as easily be construed as assault. Add motive – measured conventionally in terms of want, greed, lust, or love gone wrong – and you have a viral recipe for criminal mayhem. This is hardly a game of assuming personal risk. The risk you assume today is the risk you carry to others with every breath, every word, everything you touch, every move you make. A trial case of reckless endangerment can’t be too far off, and it will set a litigious precedent for all socially interactive behavior in the new normal

  17. Avatar The Old Pretender says:

    These people are heretics and are only seeking alms!

    “When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for
    they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the
    corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men.
    But you, when you pray, enter into your inner
    chamber, and having shut your door, pray to
    your Father who is in secret, and your Father
    who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
    Matthew 6:5-6

    Apparently, The Lord loves the Quarantiner.

  18. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Thank you for a great article Doni. I’m reminded of a choir group near Seattle that got together to practice in March. They used hand sanitizer and practiced some social distancing. Over 50 of the 61 people who attended the practice were infected witht the virus. It is suspected that singing together is a good way to spread the disease. I wouldn’t wish this disease on anyone, so I hope churches don’t become hot spots, and I’ll keep wearing my mask and gloves.

  19. Avatar Bradley says:

    Sending my prayers that the community is not harmed by this horrible disease and that God keep the righteous safe and healthy by punishing these idiots who are putting the rest of us at risk.
    In the greater scheme of things, these fools are a waste of air.

  20. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    Hal… As much as I would love to see another studio session from WAR, I think he got screwed royally by Nashville in the ‘70s….and along the way intransgressable walls were built, irreversible politics were erected, and unreturnable insults were shared. Last time I looked, he still does some limited touring, but to my knowledge, remains a studio outcast. I still rate him amongst the best of the talent to manifest of the ‘70s, bar none.

  21. Avatar B Chin says:

    I must say that every time I hear about an epidemic striking some church, I have the same reaction: When will these idiots finally learn that their god theory is bogus, and God won’t protect them? The holy books of all the major religions were written before the authors knew what a germ was or where the sun goes at night, so it’s not surprising that they don’t tell how to avoid epidemics.

    These negligent pastors want to keep the church open because they pass around the plate every Sunday, and they need money to pay their bills. People infected by their congregations should be able to sue the churches for damage. Lots of people are giving up serious activities like going to work or dating because of this virus, so completely frivolous activities like church should be banned until this epidemic is over.

  22. Avatar Dr. No says:

    Throughly researched complex article, well done, thanks.

    This event simply betrays an anti-science, pre-Renaissance, medieval pattern of thought, which can be comforting — a complex universe is profoundly simplified, one is being perpetually taken care of, there are always answers and everything will be fine, even when they are not. Those with this perspective are inevitably just very frightened people. And why not, life can be scary.

    Unfortunately, this manner of thought also brings with it limitations and consequence.

  23. Avatar Mike says:

    Satan ? Looks to me like the pastor is responsible for this ! He should be prosecuted legally !

  24. No segue, but here’s an example of some of the evangelical fundamentalist mindset that emboldens some Christian to defy executive COVID-19 orders. This is from Mario Murillo, a superstar in the Christian circuit.

    “There is a part of me that wishes Trump had waited before issuing his declaration that churches should open. Because it robbed pastors of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show courage—to stand against all the illegal forces arrayed against the Bill of Rights, and to stage a massive protest. These Governors needed to see the church en masse sending them the clear message that we will obey God and not man!

    Still, there is ample opportunity for preachers to do heroic exploits against these political gangsters. It begins with the revelation that Satan is using the narcotic of ‘false safety’ to endanger freedom.

    Act we must. Preach we must. There must come upon us a universal sense of destiny that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is in America at this hour for the express purpose of defeating this evil.

    If you value soul winning—if you value open worship and citywide outreach—if you love this free nation of ours, then you must join with us as we march shoulder to shoulder to banish this curse, this attempted power grab, from our land.

    What they are doing is not ‘for your safety,’ it is only for their control.”

    — Mario Murillo
    https://mariomurilloministries.wordpress.com/2020/05/24/its-for-your-safety/?fbclid=IwAR1Rq8vA7vkerPDHWu9VZGQtzHOTp1Gswc6XWNqBmrIg5b_7xuWNTZ6cuRI

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