“Then and Now: Women Finding Their Voices” — UUS:E Virtual Worship, September 25, 2022

Gathering Music (Mary Bopp) (Begins at 10:55)

Welcome and Announcements

Centering

Prelude

“Now is the Only Moment”
by Debbie J. Christo
Performed by the Manchester Women’s Sacred Singing Circle

Now is the only moment
Now is the only moment
Be in this moment
Breathe in this moment
Love in this moment
Be here now
Be here now in this moment

“Trust”
by Ina
Performed by the Manchester Women’s Sacred Singing Circle

I can see the light that shines within you.
I can feel the beat of your heart.
I can see the light that shines within you.
I can feel the beat of your heart.

Trust in the light of love
The pulse of the universe.
Trust in the light of love
The power of the universe.

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words

“Belonging for Our Whole Selves”
by Rev. Scott Tayler

Call to Worship

“To Unveil the Bonds that Bind Each to All”
by Mark Morrison-Reed

Opening Hymn

“We Are a Gentle Angry People”
#170 in Singing the Living Tradition
Words and Music: Holly Near

We are a gentle, angry people, 
and we are singing, singing for our lives.
We are a gentle, angry people,
and we are singing, singing for our lives.

We are a justice-seeking people …

We are young and old together …

We are a land of many colors …

We are gay and straight together …

We are a gentle, loving people …

Introduction to the Service

Joys and Concerns

Musical Meditation

Offering

For the month of September our Community Outreach offering will be shared by two organizations:

Power Up brings much needed visibility to the ongoing realities of racism in Manchester and surrounding communities. Some UUS:E members and friends have participated in Power Up’s pantry, after school programs, rallies, protests and other actions.

KIDSAFE CT is dedicated to the early intervention, prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect in the towns east of the Connecticut River in Hartford and Tolland Counties. Their mission is to “partner with the community to educate and empower families and promote the well-being of young people.”

Song

“Against All Odds”
by Shelley Graff
Performed by the Manchester Women’s Sacred Singing Circle

When I hear my sister’s story, and I look into her eyes
I’m amazed by her beauty, I’m amazed that there is light
I’m amazed that she is loving, that she moves with open arms
I’m amazed that her spirit dances on.

When I hear my sister’s laughter, and I feel her aching cry
I’m amazed at her courage, I’m amazed that she’s alive
I’m amazed that she makes music, that she sings out her own song
I’m amazed that her spirit dances on.

When I listen to my story, and I forgive with my heart
I believe there is beauty, I believe that there is light
I believe that I am loving, and I open up my arms
I believe that my sprit will dance on.

When I hear my sister’s story, and I look into her eyes
I’m amazed by her beauty, I’m amazed that there is light
I’m amazed that she is loving, that she moves with open arms
I’m amazed that her spirit dances on.

Reflection:  Then (Nancy Madar)

Song

“Phoenix Women”
by Jeannette LeSure
Performed by the Manchester Women’s Sacred Singing Circle

I’m a phoenix woman,
You’re a phoenix too.
No one can ever silence us
No matter what they do.
We Rise.

Up from the ashes,
We soar above the flame,
We Fly.
Wingtip to wingtip
Our voices fill the sky.

Now, we’re all phoenix women
One hundred billion strong.
They think they can defeat us,
They couldn’t be more wrong.
We Rise.

Ashes soothe the pain;
The fire feeds our flame
We FLY.
Wingtip to wingtip,
Our passion lights the sky.

Reflection:  Now (Carol Lacoss)

Closing Hymn

“The Fire of Commitment”
#1028 in Singing the Journey
Words: Mary Katherine Morn
Music: Jason Shelton

From the light of days remembered burns a beacon bright and clear
Guiding hands and hearts and spirits into faith set free from fear.

Chorus:
When the fire of commitment sets our mind and soul ablaze
When our hunger and our passion meet to call us on our way
When we live with deep assurance of the flame that burns within,
Then our promise finds fulfillment and our future can begin.

From the stories of our living rings a song both brave and free,
Calling pilgrims still to witness to the life of liberty.

Chorus

From the dreams of youthful vision comes a new, prophetic voice,
Which demands a deeper justice built by our courageous choice.

Chorus

Reading

A meditation from the Rev. Don Southworth

Closing Words and Extinguishing the Chalice

Closing Circle

May faith in the spirit of life
And hope for the community of earth
And love of the light in each other
Be ours now, and in all the days to come.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 — September 21, 2022

“Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

587. The CDC is now undergoing a thorough review and reorganization

         QI hear the CDC is not preforming as well as it could.  What’s happening?

         A:  For weeks, news media have been issuing reports that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been examining ways to streamline its work enabling it to provide clearer, less confusing messages to the public.  In the September 19 issue of Time Magazine, Alice Park of the Time staff published an article based on questions asked and responded to by Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, the CDC director.  Walensky stated she had learned for herself that in its 26-year history, the CDC has always been preparing for a pandemic but never had to manage one.  To identify areas where changes can be made, more than 170 people inside and outside the agency were interviewed by senior staff asking critical questions about the recent successes and failures of the agency in managing Covid-19.

It was identified that the CDC has developed an infrastructure of academia.  The agency was driven by research, publication of studies, and generally has communicated with scientists, public health experts and academics.  Walensky has concluded the CDC was no longer an agency for public health officials.  “We have to be an agency for the American people,” she stated.

Discussing the bad headlines about confusing advice over masking and other mitigation measures, she stated, “We all didn’t like the headlines.  We found ourselves having to convey the nuances of the reasons behind the decisions we made with science that was difficult to convey.”  She concluded it was more important to communicate in ways that convinced the American public.  The agency is now moving to establish ways of communicating that is more readable, more accessible, and not tied down by scientific details.

One of the issues raised in their review was the lengthy time it takes to set up case studies of large numbers of people, collect the data, publish the results and have others review and agree the findings are valid and safe.  All of this before deciding to authorize it for general use.  In the traditional peer-review process, agreement can be quite prolonged.  The CDC is talking now about possibly posting early study data on a pre-publication server to let other experts see the results and collaborate earlier.

Dr. Walensky stated that the culture at CDC will be changing, but this will take time and effort.  The emphasis will be shifting away from publishing public health data, studies and publications, and focusing more on publishing public health actions.

588. Native Americans have suffered greatly with Covid-19.

         QHow well have American Indian tribes survived the pandemic?

         A:  Ashley Wu and German Lopez are two reporters for the New York Times, who recently published an article addressing the impact of Covid-19 on Native Americans.

The C.D.C. revealed early in September that from 2019 to 2021, the life expectancy of Native Americans fell from 71.8 years to 65.2. Covid was largely to blame.  The average Native American person is now expected to live as long as the average American did in 1944.  There are many reasons for this.  Native Americans tend to have higher rates of underlying health problems that exacerbate Covid, as well as worse access to health care.  “Even prior to the pandemic, rates of death among Indigenous people were higher in lots of categories,” said Dr. Laura Hammitt, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University. Covid magnified those health disparities, causing a drop in life expectancy with no modern precedent in the U.S.

The link between people who refuse to be vaccinated and become sick fails with Native Americans as a group.   Vaccination rates among Native Americans are higher than they are among Black or Hispanic Americans, according to CDC data.  Yet Native Americans have died from Covid at one of the highest rates of any race or ethnicity since the start of the pandemic.  Other than vaccinations, other factors appear to be the reason for this.  For instance, Native Americans have some of the highest rates of health conditions, such as obesity and diabetes, that make a person much more likely to die from Covid.

Health care is also often inaccessible. The Indian Health Service, a federal program that provides care to more than two million Native Americans, have a fraction of the funding on a per-person basis received by Medicare, Medicaid or the Veterans Health Administration. “How can somebody think this is not a problem? Yet it’s become normal,” said Loretta Christensen, the Indian Health Service chief medical officer.  As a result, Native Americans frequently have to travel long distances to get health care, and its quality can be shoddy. A quarter of Native Americans reported experiencing discrimination when visiting a doctor or a health clinic, one poll found.  Cultural and language barriers can also make it difficult for Indigenous people to get the care they want. Given those obstacles, some try to tough out illness at home, with potentially deadly results.

Poverty also is surely a major factor.  Widespread poverty limits what precautions people can take to avoid Covid. People living paycheck to paycheck can’t afford to take time off work to avoid spreading or catching the virus. Native Americans also often lack access to internet, electricity and running water — making remote work, virtual schooling or telemedicine impossible.  And Native Americans often live in crowded, multigenerational homes. So, if they are sick, they can easily spread the virus to the rest of the family, including older relatives who are much more vulnerable to Covid.

The authors conclude that preventing deadly pandemics isn’t just about containing the pathogens that cause them, but also about improving the health of communities across the board.

 

“On Belonging” — UUS:E Virtual Worship, September 18, 2022

Gathering Music (begins ten minutes before the hour)

“Ring Them Bells”
by Bob Dylan

“We are Family”
by Sister Sledge

performances by Meeting House:
Jeannine Westbrook – vocals and melodica
Sarah McKenzie – guitar, banjo, vocals
John Harmon – guitar and vocals
Kate Howard-Bender – keyboard and vocals
Mike Zanta – guitar, mandolin, and vocals
Charles Rooney – bass and vocals
Tom Gervais – percussion

Welcome and Announcements (Rev. Josh Pawelek)

Centering

Prelude

“Crowded Table”
by the Highwomen
performance by Meeting House

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words

“The Winds of Summer”
by Patricia Shuttee
spoken by Rev. Josh Pawelek

Opening Song

“Get Together”
by the Youngbloods
led by Meeting House

Love is but a song we sing
Fear’s the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Though the bird is on the wing
And you may not know why

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Some may come and some may go
He will surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moment’s sunlight
Fading in the grass

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

If you hear the song I sing
You will understand, listen
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It’s there at your command

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Come on people, now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

I said come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now
Right now
Right now

Meditation and Reading

excerpt from Emergent Strategy
by adrienne maree brown

Silence

Joys and Concerns

Silence 

Offering

For the month of September our Community Outreach offering will be shared by two organizations:

Power Up brings much needed visibility to the ongoing realities of racism in Manchester and surrounding communities. Some UUS:E members and friends have participated in Power Up’s pantry, after school programs, rallies, protests and other actions.

KIDSAFE CT is dedicated to the early intervention, prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect in the towns east of the Connecticut River in Hartford and Tolland Counties. Their mission is to “partner with the community to educate and empower families and promote the well-being of young people.”

Offering Music

“Count on Me”
by Bruno Mars
performance by Meeting House

Sermon: “Belonging in the Midst of Isolation” (Rev. Josh Pawelek)

Closing Song

“With a Little Help From My Friends”
by the Beatles
led by Meeting House

What would you think if I sang out of tune
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
I get high with a little help from my friends
Gonna try with a little help from my friends

What do I do when my love is away?
(Does it worry you to be alone?)
How do you feel by the end of the day?
(Are you sad because you’re on your own?)
No, I get by with a little help from my friends
I get high with a little help from my friends
Gonna try with a little help from my friends

(Do you need anybody?)
I need somebody to love
(Could it be anybody?)
I want somebody to love

(Would you believe in a love at first sight?)
Yes I’m certain that it happens all the time
(What do you see when you turn out the light?)
I can’t tell you, but I know it’s mine
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm I get high with a little help from my friends
Oh I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends

(Do you need anybody?)
I just need someone to love
(Could it be anybody?)
I want somebody to love

Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm gonna try with a little help from my friends
Oh I get high with a little help from my friends
Yes, I get by with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends

Extinguishing the Chalice

Closing Circle

May faith in the spirit of life
And hope for the community of earth
And love of the light in each other
Be ours now, and in all the days to come.

Postlude

“Everybody”
by Ingrid Michaelson
performance by Meeting House

 

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 — September 14, 2022

“Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

586. The drug Paxlovid is proving to be less effective for younger patients.

         QDoesn’t the drug Paxlovid mean we don’t have to worry about Covid restrictions?

         A:  Many see Paxlovid as a miracle drug that makes it safe to “return to normal” in the face of expanding number of Omicron Covid-19 infections.  Even though it was developed for people at higher risk of developing serious disease, most people consider this a universal “silver bullet.”  “No need to worry,” many people say.  “There’s no need to wear masks when around other people.  No need to get vaccinations or booster shots,” some believe.  After all, there is this new drug Paxlovid that prevents people from getting serious disease and reduces the risk of Covid.”  These popular expectations are not shared in a recent study.

In the recent issue of Time Magazine, health correspondent Jamie Ducharme stated, “Paxlovid, the antiviral drug noted for its ability to keep high risk Covid-19 out of the hospital, works very well for seniors but provides little benefit for people younger than 65.”  This is the conclusion reached by the authors of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August.

Researchers in Israel tracked more than 100,000 adults aged 40 and older who got Covid-19 from January to March 2022, when the Omicron subvariants were widespread.  Most of these individuals had been previously vaccinated or had been previously infected with Covid-19.  All were considered high risk for developing serious disease and were eligible for Paxlovid.  Only about 4,000 had actually taken this antiviral medication.

Seniors over age 65 who were at high risk for serious disease saw significant benefits with 73% having a reduced chance of dying compared to others in that age group that didn’t get the drug.  But among people between the ages of 40 to 64, Paxlovid provided little or no benefit.

“Paxlovid is still benefiting older adults and younger people who are immunocompromised by lowering their risk of hospitalization and death.  Covid-19 vaccinations are also doing a good job at preventing severe disease, if not all infections.  But as research on Paxlovid mounts, the drug is appearing less universally impressive,” concludes Jamie Ducharne.

Relevant fact:  Needed federal funding for Covid is now tied to the debt ceiling.

There are no more at-home antigen self-testing kits available for free distribution.  Once the current level of vaccine and modified booster doses are given out, federal funding is not available for additional vaccines to be provided at no cost to those asking for them.   Recently, several news services explained that action on these and other public health issues will need additional federal appropriations or these program initiatives will have to shift to the private sector meaning insurance payments or direct payment by patients who don’t have insurance.  The White House has asked Congress for $47 billion in emergency aid to cover continuing support for managing the Covid-19 pandemic along with additional war supplies for Ukraine, and disaster relief in Kentucky and other states.  This request will become part of the debate over raising the debt ceiling which will have to be resolved to prevent the government shutting down after September 30 – just weeks away from the mid-term elections.

The request for additional Covid-19 aid has already become a sticking point for many months as the White House has said more money is needed, and Republicans have pointed to the trillions that have already been approved and money that still has not been spent.”  If new support is not given for additional Covid-19 resources, testing and vaccinations will no longer be free.  This can only reduce the ability to control future surges and morbidity resulting from the disease.

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 — September 7, 2022

“Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

585. Five Critical new vaccine procedures and booster shot developments announced.

         QThe new booster guidelines are confusing.  How will these work?

         A:  The White House has announced a coordinated effort to provide everyone with modified booster shots in September.  These shots have been modified to make them more effective against the Omicron B.A. subvariants which are more infectious than previous mutations.  Large quantities of the booster doses have been pre-ordered.  This campaign comes as the U.S. is preparing for its third pandemic winter, and as Covid-19 is currently averaging about 90,000 new infections and 475 deaths every day.

There remains confusion about who is eligible and the timing for each of the two different available boosters – those manufactured by Pfizer and by Moderna.  Clarification is offered:

Do you have a medical condition or are you using therapies that blunt the effects of vaccinations?  You may be advised to not get a Covid vaccination.  You should discuss with your healthcare provider other available therapeutics or ways to reduce your risks.

Have you not yet received the required existing vaccine shots?  The booster shots are formulated to only be given to people who have already received the original vaccines developed in 2020.  This original vaccine will remain available and you should obtain the required shot(s) as soon as possible.

When can you receive a booster shot?  The F.D.A. authorized the modified boosters for people who were at least two months out from their last shot (whether that was the original vaccine or a booster), but you might want to wait longer. Experts said that protection from boosters become more effective by waiting three to six months after immunization or infection.

Where can you get a booster shot?  The new vaccine will most likely be available at pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and community health centers. Many mass-vaccination clinics and other sites across the country have closed, so you may have to seek out a new vaccination site. You can search a directory of sites online at vaccines.gov.

Will the booster shots continue to be given at no cost as were previous vaccines and booster shots?   The initial doses of the modified booster shots have been ordered and paid for.  But with the increasing public relaxation of the need to continue prevention measures, new and additional funding is no longer available.  Congress may be asked to provide additional funds, but the impact of Covid funds running out has already eliminated the free distribution of rapid antigen home tests.  If costs are an issue for your contemplating getting a booster shot, you are advised to not delay.

Relevant facts:  Few young children are vaccinated, and Covid-19 is expected to grow.

In an August 28 Hartford Courant article, Ulysses Wu, M.D., infectious disease specialist at Hartford HealthCare reflected on the expected rise in Covid cases in schools and among younger children.  Connecticut Health Department figures were quoted as, “Since the Covid-19 vaccine was approved for those 6 months to 4 years old in June, vaccination numbers have been sluggish.  As of August 16, only 14,506 children, or just 7.9%, have received at least one shot.”  Pfizer’s vaccine requires three shots and Moderna’s requires two.

There is also a relatively low vaccination rate for school-age children.

“What Does it Mean to Belong?” — UUS:E Virtual Worship, September 4, 2022

Gathering Music

Welcome and Announcements

Centering

Prelude

“With a Little Help from My Friends”
John Lennon and Paul McCartney, 1967
Performed by Nancy Madar, guitar and vocals

Introduction to Service

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words

“Belonging for Our Whole Selves”
by Rev. Scott Tayler

May the flame we now kindle light the path back to our center,
back to that place of belonging
to what is true, what is deepest within, what knows us even before we
know ourselves.

And may our chalice remind us that we are held
And welcomed whole, without the need to hide
a single piece or part
of who we are.

Opening Hymn

“Enter, Rejoice and Come In”
#361 in Singing the Living Tradition
Words and Music by Louise Ruspini
Arr. by Barry A. Wylder

Enter, rejoice, and come in.
Enter, rejoice, and come in.
Today will be a joyful day;
enter, rejoice, and come in.

Open your ears to the song.
Open your ears to the song.
Today will be a joyful day;
enter, rejoice, and come in.

Open your hearts ev’ryone.
Open your hearts ev’ryone.
Today will be a joyful day;
enter, rejoice, and come in.

Don’t be afraid of some change.
Don’t be afraid of some change.
Today will be a joyful day;
enter, rejoice, and come in.

Enter, rejoice, and come in.
Enter, rejoice, and come in.
Today will be a joyful day;
enter, rejoice, and come in.

Silent Meditation

Welcoming Visitors and Sharing Joys and Concerns

Music Interlude

Offering

For the month of September, our Community Outreach offering will be shared by two organizations:

PowerUP brings much-needed visibility to the ongoing realities of racism in Manchester and surrounding communities. Some UUS:E members and friends have participated in PowerUp’s pantry, after-school programs, rallies, protests, and other actions.

KIDSAFE CT is dedicated to the early intervention, prevention, and treatment of child abuse and neglect in the towns east of the Connecticut River in Hartford and Tolland Counties. Their mission is to partner with the community to educate and empower families and promote the well-being of young people.” Their work has continued during the pandemic, though their staff is working from home.

Offertory Music

“Song for Judith”
Words and Music by Judy Collins, 1985
Performed by Nancy Madar, guitar and vocals

First Reflection

“Memories”
by Anne Vaughan

Second Reflection

“What It Means to Belong to UUS:E”
by Anne Vogel

Musical Interlude 

Third Reflection

“Where Do I Belong?”
by Sheila Foran

Closing Hymn

“Come, Sing a Song With Me”
#346 in Singing the Living Tradition
Words and Music: Carolyn McDade

Come, sing a song with me,
come, sing a song with me,
come, sing a song with me,
that I might know your mind.

(Chorus)

And I’ll bring you hope
when hope is hard to find,
and I’ll bring a song of love
and a rose in the wintertime.

Come, dream a dream with me,
come, dream a dream with me,
come, dream a dream with me, 
that I might know your mind.

(Chorus)

Come, walk in rain with me,
come, walk in rain with me,
come, walk in rain with me,
that I might know your mind.

(Chorus)

Come, share a rose with me,
come, share a rose with me,
come, share a rose with me,
that I might know your mind.

(Chorus)

Closing Words and Extinguishing the Chalice

Blessing
by John O’Donohue

May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to gather you, mind you, and embrace you
in belonging

Closing Circle

May faith in the spirit of life
And hope for the community of earth
And love of the light in each other
Be ours now, and in all the days to come. 

 

“Homecoming” — UUS:E Virtual Worship, September 11, 2022

Unitarian Universalist Society: East Meetinghouse

Gathering Music (begins at 10:50 AM) (Dorothy Bognar, piano)

Welcome (Gina Campellone, UUS:E Director of Religious Education)

Announcements (Rev. Josh Pawelek, UUS:E Minister)

Centering (Gina Campellone)

Prelude (Mary Bopp, piano)

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words

“We Are One”
by Hope Johnson
spoken by Elliot Vadas

Opening Hymn

“Meditation on Breathing”
by Sarah Dan Jones
#1009 in Singing the Journey

When I breathe in, I breathe in peace
When I breathe out, I breathe out love.

Blessing of the Backpacks (Gina Campellone)

Musical Meditation

BACK TO SCHOOL Slide Show

Joys and Concerns

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

Offering
For the month of September, our Community Outreach offering will be shared by two organizations:

Power Up brings much-needed visibility to the ongoing realities of racism in Manchester and surrounding communities.
Some UUS:E members and friends have participated in Power Up’s pantry, after-school programs, rallies, protests, and other actions.

KIDSAFE CT is dedicated to the early intervention, prevention, and treatment of child abuse and neglect in the towns east of the Connecticut River in Hartford and Tolland Counties. Their mission is to “partner with the community to educate and empower families and promote the well-being of young people.” Their work has continued during the pandemic, though their staff is working from home.

Offertory (Dorothy Bognar, piano)

Story

“We Belong”
written by Laura Purdie Salas; illustrations by Carlos Velez Aguilera
spoken by Gina Campellone

Chant

“Love is the Spirit of This Church”
words by James Vila Blake, music by Mary Bopp

Love is the spirit of this church and service its law,
This is our great covenant: To dwell together in peace.
Love is the spirit of this church and service its law.
To seek the truth in love, and to help one another.

Reflection:  “We Belong” (Rev. Josh Pawelek)

Closing Hymn

“Spirit of Life”
by Carolyn McDade
#123 in Singing the Living Tradition

Spirit of Life, come unto me.
Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close; wings set me free;
Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me.

Extinguishing the Chalice

Closing Circle

May faith in the spirit of life
And hope for the community of earth
And love of the light in each other
Be ours now, and in all the days to come.

Postlude

Coffee Hour / Chat

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 — August 31, 2022

“Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

584.  New study shows “long Covid” is keeping up to 4 million people out of work.

         QHow has “long Covid” affected people’s ability to return to work?

         A:  Millions of people who have had “long Covid” find themselves suffering from a host of debilitating symptoms that can persist for weeks, months, or even longer after their initial coronavirus infection symptoms fade.   Fatigue is the most common complaint.  And that’s often coupled with some breathing problems, either coughing or shortness of breath.  Neurological issues including headaches, tingling or numbness in the arms and legs, ringing in the ears, changes in vision, as well as trouble with thinking, or “brain fog” are also on the list of commonly reported “long Covid” cases reported according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Science has yet to understand “long Covid” syndromes. The main reasons for this are these chronic conditions emerge after the acute effects of Covid-19 have passed, and there is much diversity in the chronic conditions that result from Covid.

One study correlating long Covid chronic conditions with prior infections of Covid-19 was reported on August 24, 2022, by the Brookings Institute in Washington, DC.  Katie Bach, a senior fellow at Brookings examined why there continue to be labor shortages and missing workers as the economy is recovering.  Earlier, in January 2022, Brookings published a report that assessed the impact of long Covid on the labor market. Data on the condition’s prevalence was limited, so the report used various studies to make a conservative estimate: 1.6 million full-time equivalent workers could be out of work due to long Covid. With 10.6 million unfilled jobs at the time, long Covid potentially accounted for 15% of the labor shortage.

This June, the Census Bureau finally added four questions about long Covid to its Household Pulse Survey (HPS), giving researchers a better understanding of that condition’s prevalence. This August Brookings report uses that new data to assess the labor market impact and economic burden of long Covid, and finds that:

  • Around 13 million working-age Americans (those aged 18 to 65) have long Covid today.  This is an estimated 8% of working-age Americans.
  • Of those, 2 to 4 million are out of work due to long Covid.

A recent Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis study corroborates these conclusions. Using a longitudinal survey, the study found that 24.1% of people who have contracted Covid-19 experienced symptoms for three months or more, which the author defined as long Covid.  And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70% of Americans have contracted Covid-19. If 24.1% of them have had long Covid, 34 million working-age Americans have, at some point, had long Covid.

The Minneapolis Fed study also found that 50% of respondents had recovered from long Covid. If we exclude that 50%, we are left with around 17 million people who may currently have long Covid—very near the estimate of 16.3 million.

The Brookings recent study also reports that mild symptoms, employer accommodations, or significant financial need can all keep people with long Covid employed. But in many cases, long Covid impacts work. Understanding that impact requires additional data points:

  • First, we need to know what percentage of people with long Covid have left the workforce or reduced their work hours. Estimates vary.  Citing several other studies in the U.S. and Great Britain, Brookings concludes that of the 16.3 million working-age Americans with long Covid, we can assume 12.2 million were in the labor force.
  • We also need to calculate the reduced hours of the people with long Covid who kept working. The Minneapolis Fed study found that, on average, they reduced their hours by 10 hours a week; using that number and a 40-hour work week, we can assume that these workers reduced their hours by 25%.  Using the Minneapolis Fed, and different data from two other studies on the extent of work reductions gives us 2 million, 3 million, and 4 million full-time equivalent workers out of the labor force due to long Covid, respectively. The midpoint of this range—3 million full-time equivalent workers—is 1.8% of the entire U.S. civilian labor force.

This may sound unbelievably high, but it is not inconsistent with the experiences of comparable economies. For example, a Bank of England representative recently stated that labor force participation has dropped by around 1.3% across the entire 16- to 64-year-old population and that the majority of that impact is from the rise in long-term sickness suspected to be long Covid. Meanwhile, one-quarter of UK companies cite long Covid as one of the main causes of long-term staff absence.

It is also consistent with the current labor market experience in the U.S., where employers in face-to-face industries such as education, transportation, food service, hospitality, and health and social care are facing persistent labor shortages.

Editor’s comments: While this academic report is focused on economics, it raises an important perspective on assessing public health risks.  This report and its finding are already being seen by many experts as pathfinding in that it proposes an outline of the extent of long Covid that even now appears to be unreasonably larger than suspected.  It challenges prior assumptions and is encouraging further research to refute or confirm these conclusions.  The public has been told there is a shortage of teachers because of the pressures of culture wars, and frustrations over Covid restrictions.  What if many teachers are leaving their profession because of chronic disabilities not before seen as related to long Covid?  Has long Covid played a factor in the shortage of hotel and restaurant workers?  Truck drivers?  How will individuals assess their personal risks differently if this theory turns out to be true – if there really are increased long-term health risks than from what is now seen as an easily treated minor disease?

“Coffee House Worship” — UUS:E Virtual Worship, August 28, 2022

Gathering Music

“Islay Waltz” by Nancy Tunnicliffe
Benjamin Elzerman, Babpipes

Welcome, Announcements and Centering (Rev. Josh Pawelek)

Prelude

“He’s Fine”
by Secret Sisters
performed by The Tens

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words:  “Shout for Joy” (an adaptation of Psalm 65)

Opening Song

“Give Yourself to Love”
by Kate Wolf
performed by Joe and Nancy Madar

Poem

“Spoken Word Artist”
by Cory Clark

Song

Minister’s Choice
to be decided on as the spirit moves….

Joys and Concerns

Musical Response

“I Reach Out”
Composed and performed by Dan Thompson and Sandy Johnson

Offering

Continuing our practice of sharing our gifts with the community beyond our walls, fifty percent of our Sunday plate collections for the month of August will be split among MACC Food Pantry, Hockanum Valley Food Pantry, and CT Mutual Aid East of the River Food Pantry.

Offering Music

“Somebody to Love”
by Jefferson Airplane
performed by Kate Howard-Bender

Poem

by Bill Lautenbach

Homily

“A Free Faith Needs a Community”
Rev. Josh Pawelek

Closing Song

“I Am Willing”
by Holly Near
Performance by Jenn Richard

Extinguishing the Chalice

Closing Circle
May faith in the spirit of life
And hope for the community of earth
And love of the light in each other
Be ours now, and in all the days to come.

Postlude

“Jenny Nettles”
Traditional, arranged by Iain Mac Harg
Benjamin Elzerman, Bagpipes

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 — August 24, 2022

“Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

583. Long Covid in children remains a threat while more research is needed.

         QIs long Covid a risk that students may face interrupting their school experiences?

         A:  While the public uses “long Covid” for shorthand, the scientific name is “post-acute sequelae of Covid,” or PASC. Researchers believe this is not a single disease but several distinct illnesses affecting many organ systems.  Scientists still do not know how the virus triggers such a wide spectrum of symptoms that can persist months after the initial infection.  Also not understood is why some of these symptoms show up in some patients but not in others, or what exactly the risk factors are for developing them.  But the most common long-term effects in children appear to be neurological.

In a recent study, one in ten children who have been hospitalized develops post-acute sequelae of Covid (PASC), or long Covid.  The study conducted by Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, the University of California Davis School of Medicine, and the University of Calgary found nearly 10% of hospitalized children reported symptoms of PASC in the months after first contracting Covid.  PASC is defined as having symptoms that persist or return three months after initial infection, according to the World Health Organization.  The symptoms may have an impact on a person’s everyday function, although they may come and go, according to the study, which was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  As part of the eight-country study, researchers examined 1,884 children who initially presented to the emergency department and were followed up 90-days later. Long Covid (PASC) was found in nearly 10% of those who were hospitalized and also 5% of children discharged from the emergency department. Risk factors for the post-Covid condition included an initial hospitalization of 48 or more hours, four or more symptoms at the initial emergency department visit, and being at least 14 years of age or older. The most reported persistent symptoms were fatigue or weakness, cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, according to researchers.

The most effective way for children to avoid contracting Covid-19 and reduce the possibility of PASC becoming a chronic condition that requires management for months or longer is to obtain vaccinations, and as appropriate and when available, receive booster shots that have been re-engineered to focus on the Omicron subvariant B.A.5.

Opinion 6:   Are CT and CDC back-to-school procedures sufficiently adequate?

According to research done on Covid-19 tests administered at Johns Hopkins Hospital, “Researchers estimated that those tested using a rapid at-home antigen test when the average patient began displaying symptoms of the virus, the false-negative rate was 38 percent.  The test performed best eight days after infection (on average, three days after symptom onset), but even then, had a false-negative rate of 20 percent.”  Many authorities have stated that the antigen tests may require a heavy viral load to report a positive test.  The assumption is that a negative test may indicate an infected person’s viral load is below that when a person could be passing it on to others.  But current research has not yet tested that assumption.

On August 16, the First Lady, Jill Biden, experienced symptoms of a cold coming on.  She took a rapid, antigen Covid test and it came back negative.  Because she is the First Lady, she routinely takes a more accurate PCR test that is processed in a laboratory. And the results later came back positive.  She began isolation and following CDC guidelines based on that PCR test.

The most recent CDC guidelines for parents to evaluate their children’s need to stay home if they might have Covid-19 were reported in FAQ 582 last week.  The new process is called “Test-Mask-Go.”  If a child has symptoms of a cold, such as infrequent coughing, congestion of a runny nose, doesn’t have a temperature over 100°F, and feels well enough to go to classes, he or she can go to school wearing a mask and participate in all activities with the other children.

If any parent feels the possibility that these steps are not adequate to prevent Covid-19 infection of others, they might consider sending their healthy children to school every day wearing a mask.  And be certain their child is vaccinated and if eligible, receives the soon-to-be-available booster shot.