Why do we have Christian folk going to strange places relative to the coronavirus? Most likely Mark 16:16-18 explains it which is rendered in the Common English Bible in this fashion: "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever doesn't believe will be condemned. These signs will be associated with those who believe: they will throw out demons in my name. They will speak in new languages. They will pick up snakes with their hands. If they drink anything poisonous, it will not hurt them. They will place their hands on the sick, and they will get well." The "snakes and drain-o" passage doesn't appear in all the original manuscripts of the book of Mark so various translations indicate that it might not have appeared in the original. In fact it is shown often as an "ending likely added later".

What does this mean? We must not forget the snake handling cults of Appalachia. USA Today even reported on it way back when. The Appalachian diaspora within the USA results in such beliefs flowing outward and changing somewhat. Combining that obscure strain of offbeat religious thought with the amplification provided by today's social media gives us a bit of a recipe for disaster.

Too many folks in academia have been trying to attack this matter from a quantitative perspective. It doesn't come down to numbers. It is a qualitative matter that is rooted in messier things. History matters.

Keeping all that in mind makes this Facebook post by Nino Vitale far easier to understand unlike a report by WKYC.

Outside the United States of America the COVID-19 situation is not really a matter of faith. It is just a matter of virology. New Zealand just celebrated 100 days of containment. I don't think we will be anywhere near that for some time in the USA regardless of who occupies the White House.

Things are going to be bad for some time to come perhaps.