Disastrous Arkansas COVID Cluster Spells Trouble for Church Openings

As states decide how and when to reopen churches amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, a new federal report analyzing a cluster in Arkansas shows how easily the virus can spread in faith communities—even when they take precautions.

The analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) details how one couple—a pastor at a local church and his wife—contracted the virus and unwittingly may have helped spread it to 26 others, which ballooned into a cluster of 61, of which four people died. The analysis mirrors past reports detailing—with painful precision—how just one case of COVID-19 can quickly spread within communities or cities, like at a funeral and birthday party in Chicago

But this latest report comes as states and localities move to reopen from COVID-19 lockdown—and served as a stark warning amid a rush to fashion rules and regulations for large gatherings.

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