The pastor of Hillsong NYC has opened up about his experience of having coronavirus, warning that it was "like flu times 50." Pastor Carl Lentz revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 during an Instagram live broadcast on Monday night.
"I started feeling so bad," Lentz told fellow megachurch pastor, Judah Smith, who leads congregations in Seattle and Los Angeles. Lentz added: "I got my test. It came back positive."
Hillsong NYC closed its doors on Sunday after Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered a lockdown due to a soaring rate of infection across the state.
Though he has now recovered, Pastor Lentz said that the virus made him extremely unwell.
"I'm fine..I'm good... [but] let me tell you something. It is definitely real, the symptoms are so real. It's kind of like a flu times 50," he said. "I still don't feel like myself... I look forward to getting my energy back."
The pastor added that his staff team "got hit pretty hard" a week after they held a final Sunday gathering and moved fully online. Several of those who fell sick are thought to have been in attendance at a 200-strong pre-recorded service, though it is unclear exactly how many have tested positive.
Lentz went on to warn others not to be flippant about the virus, which has infected at least 30,000 people across New York State.
"My breath is a lot shorter. Fatigue is a lot quicker. My advice to people is, try to take this as seriously as you can," he said.
For those who are worried about catching the illness, the pastor - who is known for having a close friendship with Justin Bieber, Kevin Durant and Drake - offered some faith-filled words:
"You're not alone. I'm praying that we find something that eradicates this thing completely. That's my hope.”