25 years ago I spent two semesters learning Greek in seminary. I never expected that my refresher course would come by way of a pandemic — first Delta and now Omicron. As Omicron begins to spread from state to state, we wait again in uncertainty. Will the current vaccines work? Is it more contagious? Are its effects more severe? We wait as we have before. “Omicron at Advent”… there’s a sermon there.
But it’s not exactly like it was before. We have learned things. We are creative, resourceful, and resilient. We can lean into that. We know we can go “hybrid” in our worship. We know about wearing masks, and getting the “jab,” and practicing social distancing. We also know that there are those people who need more support than others. At FaithX one of the ways we identify people more impacted by Covid is by utilizing a data tool called the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). The SVI uses U.S. Census data to determine the social vulnerability of every county and tract. The CDC ranks each county and tract on 15 social factors, including poverty, lack of vehicle access, and crowded housing, and groups them into four related themes:
- Housing Composition and Disability
- Minority Status and Language
- Housing and Transportation
The closer a neighborhood is to the number “1” the more vulnerable that population is to environmental pollution and weather extremes, to poor health access, and to other social problems. Think about it: If you make little money, if you have a disability, if you are reliant on public transportation, if you do not speak English well, if you live in a densely populated apartment complex, you are more likely to fall through the cracks.[Read more…]