Leaders of an Arizona megachurch who hosted US President Donald Trump for one of his campaign rallies have installed air purifying machines that they claim will kill "99.9% of Covid-19 within ten minutes".
Dream City Church in Phoenix, which boasts an average weekly attendance of over 22,000, hosted Trump for a rally on 23rd June. Speaking about the new air purifiers, senior pastor Luke Barnett and chief operations officer Brendon Zastrow said that the alleged virus-killing technology had been developed by some members of their church.
"Hey gang, we've got some exciting information about what we're doing to fight Covid-19 here at Dream City Church," Barnett explained.
Zastrow continued: “Yeah, we’ve installed clean air EXP. We have a local Arizona company – it was technology developed by some members of our church, and we’ve installed these units, and it kills 99.9 per cent of Covid within 10 minutes." The pair claimed this was achieved through an "ionisation of the air" whereby the units "take particulates out" and create an atmosphere in which Covid-19 cannot survive.
Barnett added: "So, when you come into our auditorium, 99% of Covid is gone, killed, if it was there in the first place. You can know when you come here you'll be safe and protected. Thank God for great technology."
The video has since been removed from the church's Facebook page after it received a number of negative responses.
According to their company website, CleanAir EXP claims that the system “combines the most sophisticated sensors with the latest air purification technology to clean indoor air of allergens, pathogens, odours, smoke, mould, ozone and harmful chemicals”. The firm notes that it has conducted tests using an "active coronavirus 229E test surrogate”.
The company added that the units use "the power of nature to clean, refresh, and energize the air you breathe, and utilises "natural negative ion generating air purification".
Jeffrey Siegal, professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto, told the Phoenix New Times that the technology "is not going to do anything in terms of protecting people in that space. Period."
He added: "We’re in the midst of this quite serious pandemic and health situation, and the last thing people need is false information about air cleaning technology."
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego subsequently released a statement noting that Dream City Church "has indicated that they will be handing out masks to eventgoers & taking temperatures upon check-in," despite the machines being installed.
Arizona-based NBC News reporter Vaughn Hillyard added that President Trump is arriving in Arizona as the state records "the most Covid cases of any day yet" at 3,591. Hillyard also noted that Arizona is experiencing the "most hospitalisations, ICU beds in use & ventilators in use of any day yet, too".
Images ahead of the event showed scores of patrons gathering without face masks.