While BCA leaders and ministers raised several issues and concerns over reopening temples and churches at a special June 19 webinar, one message was clear: Protect the minister and the Sangha — above all else — in the process.
The BCA held the meeting in light of the continuing decline this year in COVID-19 deaths, infections and hospitalizations in the United States, and the concurrent rise in the vaccination rate among Americans. Since the June meeting, however, the number of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths has risen dramatically because of the Delta variant, primarily from the unvaccinated. But the overall statistics are still far lower than the peak period in January.
As of July 22, 35 percent of U.S. counties are experiencing high levels of transmission, according to the CDC COVID-19 data tracker. COVID-19 cases are on the rise in nearly 90 percent of U.S. jurisdictions, and outbreaks are being reported in parts of the country that have low vaccination rates.
As of July 22, about 187.2 million people, or 56.4 percent of the total U.S. population, have received at least one dose of vaccine and about 162.2 million people, or 48.8 percent of the total U.S. population, have been fully vaccinated. Tragically, COVID-19 has killed more than 607,000 people now in the United States.