Coronavirus is spreading in China but has been largely contained in the U.S. thus far – but that doesn't mean it's not having an impact.
Health officials are saying coronavirus continues to pose minimal risk in the United States. But Grace Chinese Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, has had the feel of a ghost town, according to Pastor Carter Tan.
"Our church is thousands of miles away from Wuhan, China," he notes, "but the ripple effect of that coronavirus from China is definitely felt all the way here."
According to the pastor, the church has seen a 40% drop in attendance on Sunday mornings over the last month. Some members who have recently returned from China are self-quarantining, as recommended by the church. But Tan says others are staying home out of fear.
"They've had fear in their hearts – and because of that they've also stopped coming to church and stopped going to Asian grocery stores, things like that," he shares. "For some of those, fear has really gripped their hearts and [they] have become somewhat irrational in how they make decisions."
Tan says most are staying connected through social media. "We are trying to do all that we can within our church to continue to help people connect so that they don't feel left out," he reports – but in a letter to his congregation, he urged them to have a more biblical mindset.
"I always point people back to the cross," he emphasizes. "At the cross, Christ has shown us victory – and there is no longer fear."
OneNewsNow reports today about the HeartCry Missionary Society, which is relaying a message of hope in Wuhan, the center of the coronavirus outbreak.