President Trump announced at 3 p.m. today that he is declaring a national state of emergency. His declaration allows him to invoke the Stafford Act and open up $50 billion in federal aid to assist in combatting the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act was enacted on November 23, 1988. This law amended the Disaster Relief Act of 1974.
Today’s declaration will trigger FEMA physical and financial assistance. It is expected to support free testing for the virus and guaranteed sick pay for workers who take time from their jobs. It will also infuse money to handle unemployment benefits and boost food programs for children, families, and senior adults.
In other news, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that he, President Trump, and the rest of the leaders of the Group of 7 economic nations have “agreed to organize an extraordinary Leaders Summit by videoconference on Monday on Covid-19.” They intend to “coordinate research efforts on a vaccine and treatments,” and to “work on an economic and financial response.”
Financial aid that enables sick people to stay home is crucial to efforts to “flatten the curve,” slowing the spread of the virus so that the number of infected persons does not exceed the capacity of our health care systems.
Serving others out of love for Jesus
As our governments work to this end, it is vital that we do all we can to help. Many churches are moving their worship services online. Ministries and other organizations are enabling their personnel to work from home. Other ways to practice “social distancing” are being followed.
Such steps are challenging and even sacrificial for many. But Christians are called to serve others out of love for our Lord and for our neighbor. Anything we can do to help the elderly and others at elevated risk from coronavirus is an act of compassion modeled by our Savior (John 13).
These are days to redouble our intercession for our leaders and health care providers, for our churches and ministries, and for ourselves as we seek to serve courageously and graciously.
Billy Graham noted, “The most eloquent prayer is the prayer through hands that heal and bless.”
For whom will you “pray” today?