Prominent megachurch pastor Greg Laurie has tested positive for Covid-19 after attending an event at the White House during which many are thought to have contracted the illness. Laurie, who leads Harvest Fellowship in Riverside, California, said he was "doing OK" following the diagnosis and warned against politicising the virus.
"It's real, it really is a pandemic that has swept our nation and the world," Laurie added. "But with God's help and your prayers, I expect to get through this."
Laurie added that he had experienced symptoms related to a change in taste. "As a result, I have maybe lost two pounds... a little Romans 8:28 moment there," the pastor quipped.
"Another symptom I've experienced is boredom," Laurie added. "I wanna get out doing what I'm called to do. So thank you for your interest and your concern. You know, it's important for us as Christians to be reminded that God's in control of our lives. I don't know why he allowed me to get it, but I got it. I know he'll get me through it, as he always has been faithful to me in the past.
"But ultimately, I also know that my times are in his hands. When that moment comes for me to leave this world, I'll leave. I won't leave a moment before it and I won't leave a moment after. So with that confidence in Christ and the hope that I have, and your prayers for my rapid recovery, I trust that I'll come through this and be seeing you all in person soon."
Pastor Laurie was in attendance at the nomination ceremony of Judge Amy Comey Barrett to the Supreme Court at the White House Rose Garden - a gathering that some have classed as a "superspreader" event due to the large number of attendees who have since tested positive for the virus.
Shortly after the event, Senator's Thom Tillis and Mike Lee both announced that they had contracted Covid-19, along with White House Press Secretary Kalya McEnany, former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, the president of Notre Dame University John Jenkins, the former governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, first lady Melania Trump and, of course, US President Donald Trump.
Rev Franklin Graham, who was pictured at the event, has yet to announce whether he has tested positive or not.
President Trump returned to the White House on Monday after spending three days at Walter Reed Hospital being treated for the virus. Upon his arrival via helicopter, Trump climbed the stairs of the White House South Portico before removing his mask, saluting and waving to the cameras.
“Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it,” the president said in a video message recorded after returning. "We’re going back, we’re going back to work...don’t let it dominate your lives. Get out there, be careful.”
Trump insisted that the US has the "best medicines in the world" and promised that a vaccine to combat Covid-19 would be developed "momentarily".