An Infectious Disease Expert (and United Methodist) Offers Insights on Gathering


On June 11, the Florida Annual Conference offered a webinar with Dr. Fred Southwick, an infectious disease expert who attends a United Methodist Church in Florida. Dr Southwick and the Florida Conference are glad to share this webinar with North Georgia United Methodists as we discern how and when to resume in-person worship. 

Watch the webinar here.

Some of the key points shared in the session were:

  • Being outside is much safer than being inside. There is much less transmission of the virus outside, especially when people remain appropriately distanced.
  • The virus spreads mostly from droplets and aerosols released from infected people when they talk, cough, sneeze, and sing. For this reason, wearing masks and remaining six feet apart are essential.
  • Singing is the most dangerous activity you could do in church. Aerosols created by singing are not stopped by a mask or face shields. We recommend no congregational singing. Dr. Southwick recommended any soloist who leads singing should be tested for COVID-19 every two weeks and always remain appropriately distanced from the congregation.
  • Although cleaning high touch areas like doors and restroom counters between services is important, it is not prudent to spend thousands of dollars on a deep clean each week because the virus does not stay active on surfaces beyond three days. 
  • Older adults and those with other medical conditions are more likely to develop complications from being infected. They should remain especially vigilant and avoid gatherings.

To watch the entire webinar click HERE. Find more resources, including a video from Bishop Sue on resuming in-person worship on the North Georgia Conference "Re-Launch Resource Hub."