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Dear friends, This is a second president’s letter about our plan to mitigate the spread of corona virus in the US and Ogden.  We will extend the period of suspension of church activities at UUCO through the end of April. This is a long time but it is necessary as explained below, and we may have to suspend activities even longer, in light of new predictive modeling of the coronavirus spread by respected epidemiologists.  A recent NY Times article summarizes the model results: White House Takes New Line After Dire Report on Death Toll. The research findings, endorsed by epidemiologists at the US Centers For Disease Control (CDC), are the main reason why federal guidelines became far more restrictive recently. Some key takeaways are:

Peak impact in the US is predicted to occur in the late May to late June time frame, depending on the degree of compliance by the US population. (Hence, our end-of-April extension of UUCO hiatus is not at all conservative and may have to be lengthened.)More than two million US deaths could occur in the worst-case scenario of no actions taken and zero compliance. Even with reasonably expected levels of compliance and the use of multiple mitigation measures (social distancing, home quarantine of infected people and their families, avoidance of group gatherings) the death toll is predicted to be hundreds of thousands. US critical-care facilities would be overwhelmed, as they were during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.The death toll for infected people over 80 years is predicted to be 8 to 9 percent.A peak in June implies that we will be dealing with this disease into the summer months.

I am inclined to believe these model results, based on the credentials of the researchers and the acceptance of the results by peers in the US CDC. I hope you agree that continuing the suspension of UUCO church activities through the end of April is justified, to be followed by month-to-month evaluations based on the national and local progression of the disease. With love to you all, and with wishes for continued good health, Bill Hackett President of the Board of Trustees Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden

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