20 of ’21: Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist

We all basically decided in 2020 (if not before) what value we would place on public health experts. I didn’t pay enough attention in high school biology or chemistry to develop my own skills in this area, and I’m inclined to trust people who have spent years studying methods, data, patterns, and the like to help keep our communities safe and healthy. Are public health experts perfect? Of course not. Do they sometimes give confusing and seeming contradictory guidance? Yeah, that’s the nature of complicated phenomena. But they still know more than I do, so I’m going to listen to them.

In 2021, Dr. Emily Smith, the Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist continued her work to encourage Christians to “not look the other way” when thinking about how our actions affect the health of the most vulnerable. She broke down data, guidance, and developments into language even I can understand. Her words to pastors and church leaders were prophetic, and often unheeded, but always proved to be right.

I know of at least one church who lost a lot of people to COVID because of their pastor’s “do whatever feels comfortable and right for you), and they didn’t have to. Dr. Smith was the voice crying in the wilderness, and woe to those of us who refuse to heed her work.

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