Putting up Christmas lights in March: A collection of good news stories in the coronavirus war

Christmas Lights

My purpose today is to encourage you with some remarkable good news in the war against coronavirus.

We’ll look at good news from medical, financial, historical, cultural, and spiritual perspectives. This Daily Article will be unlike any other I’ve written in that it is designed to be a resource that I hope will be helpful for hours and days to come. It includes multiple links as well as videos you can read or watch as you wish. 

Medical good news 

Let’s begin on the medical front. As you’ve probably heard, China is reporting no new domestic infections for the first time since the outbreak began. And a small town in Italy, where the disease has been especially disastrous, cut its cases to zero in just a few weeks by testing and then isolating all positive cases as soon as possible. 

Key biotech companies are making progress as hopes of a coronavirus vaccine grow. China claims to have discovered an antiviral drug that is “clearly effective” in treating COVID-19 patients. And doctors in Japan report that a drug used to treat influenza appears to be effective in treating the virus

In more good news, a team of infectious disease experts calculates that the fatality rate for coronavirus in Wuhan was about 1.4 percent, which is lower than earlier estimates. Automakers have agreed to make ventilators for hospitals that are running short, which would utilize shut-down factory space for the public good. 

The Pentagon will provide five million respirator masks and two thousand specialized ventilators as well. And a Navy hospital ship is being sent to New York Harbor to help with trauma causes, which would open up civilian rooms for infectious diseases. 

Financial good news 

While the stock market was up 188 points yesterday, the economy is obviously being affected by the pandemic. However, some companies that provide goods and services especially relevant to the crisis are doing exceptionally well.  

One economics professor thinks that economic demand is being deferred, not eliminated, and that we will see a burst of spending when the crisis is over. Meanwhile, President Trump signed a bill yesterday that provides free coronavirus testing and ensures paid emergency leave for those who are infected or caring for a family member with the illness. It also provides additional Medicaid funding, unemployment benefits, and food assistance. 

And our nation’s largest retailers, dairy farmers, and meat producers say that empty store shelves do not mean America is running out of food. Rather, the food supply chain is intact, but demand is currently outstripping their ability to keep up with the surge. 

Historical good news 

Part of the reason we are so frightened is that our generation has not faced a crisis like this. However, previous generations of Americans dealt with polio, yellow fever, smallpox, cholera, tuberculosis, and typhoid fever. And yet, we’re still here. 

Baseball survived the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. Americans have historically responded effectively to grave challenges such as the Great Depression and world wars. 

In this context, I urge you to watch Andy Andrews’ outstanding video. This bestselling author and nationally known speaker reminds us of what we have done in the past and can do again. 

Cultural good news 

Museums we cannot visit in person are now available to us online. People in social isolation are inventing some very creative sports (though window tennis seems problematic). 

Volunteers are delivering groceries to those at risk while maintaining careful distance from them. Country star Brad Paisley and his wife are mobilizing the delivery of free food to Nashville seniors. People around the country are putting up Christmas lights to spread hope and cheer. 

If you’re looking for an encouraging yet practical message from a celebrity, watch this video from Matthew McConaughey. And if you’re a parent dealing with at-home children and all else fails, you can always do what this father did. (I laughed out loud.) 

Spiritual good news 

Let’s close with some remarkable good news in spiritual context. 

Churches are finding creative ways to make worship services and pastoral care available to those who are homebound. They are mobilizing to serve those who are in need. One church in Alabama arranged for nearly a thousand people to be tested for coronavirus in just two days. 

And pastors are finding digital ways to minister that I believe will enable them to reach people they could not reach before. This may be one of the ways God is redeeming this crisis for amazing good. 

Think about it: before the coronavirus pandemic, many secular people could easily feel secure in their physical health and financial resources. This tiny virus is threatening all of that and forcing us to admit the reality of our mortality and the limits of our capacities. 

A few years ago, secular people in such a crisis who wanted to turn to God would have to find a church to attend. Many would refuse to do so. But today, they can go online to find thousands of biblical messages and resources from churches and ministries. Any church with an internet connection can be Jesus’ witness in their Jerusalem and “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). 

Let’s pray that when this crisis passes, we will discover that millions of people have come to faith or come back to faith because of it. And let’s pray that such a movement sparks the spiritual awakening we need so desperately.

Wouldn’t that be the best good news of all?