A revival event in the US state of Alabama has been struck by the novel coronavirus.
Many churchgoers began exhibiting symptoms of the illness after a number of services were held at Warrior Creek Missionary Baptist Church in Marshall county with a series of guest speakers. The event was immediately shut down on Friday when it was confirmed that an attendee has tested positive for Covid-19. Since then, it has spread like wildfire and 40 people have it.
"The whole church has got it, just about,” Pastor Daryl Ross of Warrior Creek told AI.com after himself testing positive for the virus. “I’ve got church members sick everywhere."
The pastor added that two of the cases were serious, while many were experiencing the classic symptoms of fever, headache and mild breathing difficulties. None have been admitted to hospital. Pastor Ross insisted that some social distancing measures were in place during the event, although attendees were not required to wear facemasks.
"We let everybody do what they felt like," he said. "If you were comfortable shaking hands, you shook hands. If you didn’t, you didn’t."
The first person to test positive for the virus had not been experiencing any symptoms and was only tested after three people from his work became sick. The man still has no symptoms, days after contracting the virus, but his “entire family” is now infected, Ross said. “I ate lunch with him,” the pastor added. “No nothing. Not a sniffle. Not a headache. Nothing.”
Pastor Ross said he had experienced mild symptoms, including a loss of taste and smell. "The whole church has been running fever and headaches and terrible respiratory (issues), and I’ve been building fences and bush-hogging," he added.
The minister also admitted that he "knew what they were getting into" by holding the revival despite Alabama continuing to see high rates of infection.
“We knew the possibilities," he said. "But, my goodness, man, for three days we had one of the old-time revivals. It was unbelievable. And everybody you ask, if you talk to our church members right now, they’d tell you we’d do it again. It was that good.”