A Plea for African Americans to Be Made Well

A subway rider wears a mask and a bandanna to protect himself against COVID-19 in New York. Bebeto Matthews
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on the families of America. But, as someone once said, “When America gets a cold, black folk get pneumonia.” And, literally, that is what is happening.

As reports of deaths due to COVID-19 are increasing, we are also learning a frightening reality. The truth is, this pandemic is immensely affecting African Americans turning many of our communities upside down. According to local and state reporting, African Americans represent just 32% of the population in Louisiana, but are over 70% of the deaths. In Chicago, we are 29% of the population and over 70% of the deaths. In Michigan, we are only 14% of the population and represent 40% of the deaths. New York has just shared that 33% of deaths are Hispanic and 27.5% are non-Hispanic blacks. And, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, African Americans represent just 26% of the population but are over 81% of the coronavirus deaths.

Dr. Anthony Fauci took time to lay it out during a press conference on April 7, 2020. He clearly states that we are not more susceptible to the virus, but instead various pre-existing conditions like heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and asthma are contributing factors along with poverty and access to care that are causing many African Americans to end up in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). But it is this reality that is also leading to the spike in deaths from those in this community. In fact, “white house officials worry the coronavirus is hitting African Americans worse” than other demographics. 

So what’s the plan in the middle of this pandemic?

STOP

  • Promoting the fallacy that we cannot contract or are unaffected by the Coronavirus.
  • Having church services in person and expecting God to “cover you with His Blood.” When you read Leviticus and look at how the children of Israel were directed to respond when illness was identified in the community they were told to isolate or quarantine. And those who obeyed lived. God Himself believes in flattening the curve by minimizing people’s contact with a virus.

  • Gathering in groups. Practice social distancing. Stay at home. And when you do go out, where a mask and be alert.
  • Making choices that will increase your risk of being a statistic in this pandemic.
  • Believing that they have the answer for us. Remember Tuskegee. Find medical providers that you can trust and who have your best interest at heart.

START

  • Recognizing that you make the choices that impact your health.
  • Identifying as who you really are. You are a Child of God who is fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. Get in His face everyday. Study His word everyday. Listen for His plan for you and follow (obey) everything He tells you to do! Coronavirus is challenging all we believe. But, God is still faithful.
  • Taking yourself to bed at night. That’s when the immune system restores itself. According to the Sleep Foundation, “without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response.” If we’re going to boost our immune systems and fight this coronavirus we’re going to have to do a bulk of that fighting laying down.

  • Exercising. Going outside in the fresh air and sunlight everyday stimulates all they body’s systems keeping you healthy. And, according to Dr. Richard Hobday, fresh air and sunlight also helps to destroy viruses. Can’t go outside? No Problem. Jessica Slaughter reversed obesity and improved her health just by walking around her apartment. The key is to get moving. Don’t let this stay-at-home order keep you stationary. Find ways to exercise and move about, both inside and outside.

KEEP

  • Making healthier food choices. Meat, dairy products, sugar, processed food, alcohol, and caffeine do nothing to keep the immune system healthy. Start eating more plant-based foods. Mix up some of those traditional foods/herbs Grandmama used to keep as well. Garlic and onions are full of anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Garlic was actually used to fight disease before the development of antibiotics. Check out Nature’s Penicillin Recipe. You can even start gardening by using containers. Also, be sure to check out the various health and food articles right here at Message for amazing recipes. Watch how much better you’ll actually start to feel.

  • Drinking water. Nothing does the body better than that. I know, we love those red drinks and our sweet tea. But, they don’t boost immune health. As a matter of fact, all that sugar in those drinks weakens the ability of the white blood cells to kill viral and bacterial invaders. Make sure you’re drinking half your body weight in ounces everyday. Then after you exercise, take a hot and cold shower. Or, before you go to bed take a warm bath. Hydrotherapy has been proven to assist the body systems and improve immune response.

REST

  • Take advantage of this time off to do some honest inventory of your life. What have you been doing that you really don’t need to be doing? Are you really using your power of choice to your health’s advantage. Can you live with less? Can you bless others more? Is there a God-given gift you have not used or improved? This rest period can be seen as an inconvenience or a blessing.

Be Made Well

Staying safe during the Coronavirus pandemic really is about making good choices. More and more African Americans need to realize that their healing is in their own hands. We need to take control of and responsibility for our choices and change the narrative surrounding our physical, mental, and spiritual health. It is in making the right choices that we not only improve our odds against COVID-19, but we also improve our odds against heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, asthma, and stress. 

Seeing the man lying at the Pool of Bethesda, Jesus asked him “do you want to be made well?” This suggests that our wellness, our wholeness, is not a coincidence of fate or laissez-faire faith. But it is in the intentionality of our faith and our works. It is in both believing in Christ and allowing that belief to penetrate our behavior. When we change what do and base it off what we believe, we will start to see transformational healings in our lives. I know, that by changing our diets, exercising, drinking more water, and spending time reflecting on God you will experience healing and freedom just like the lame man in Acts. And when this pandemic passes you too will be in the temple again walking and leaping and praising God. 

Are you ready to beat this Coronavirus? Let’s all make better choices and be made whole, today. 

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