I found it distressing to read an article about how churches in the Perham area would be holding services on Sunday ("Virus not stopping local churches from meeting for worship," PerhamFocus.com, March 14). I find this incredibly irresponsible that these organizations would continue to encourage gathering in large groups when every medical expert and our own governor have recommended just the opposite in the hopes of limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

In addition, the majority of church members are elderly, the population most susceptible to this illness. We have to act as if this virus is already in our community in order to minimize the spread. People are failing to realize that it take two to 12 days for an infected person to show any symptoms. That means by the time a symptomatic person tests positive for the virus, they have been moving around their workplace and community for a week or more without knowing they were contagious.

This is why this virus has been able to spread so rapidly around the world, hitting certain countries harder than others. Certain countries that have older populations, like Japan and Italy, who rank No. 1 and 2 in the world for average age.

As I type this the governor is canceling schools and prohibiting gatherings of 25 or more. Look at the numbers: on Thursday Minnesota had eight cases, Friday 14, Saturday 21, and today, Sunday, 35. Cases are increasing by 60% day to day.

Today is a sad day as our faith leaders have now failed their parishioners putting their health and well being in peril. I call them out and say, "repent!"

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Rob McNair