A Virginia pastor who shared a Facebook post calling media attention around the coronavirus “mass hysteria” meant to hurt Donald Trump has now died after contracting the virus.
As Raw Story reported, 66-year-old pastor and “musical evangelist” Landon Spradlin had shared a Facebook post that compared the attention surrounding the coronavirus outbreak under Donald Trump to the H1N1 virus that spread during Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, deeming the media attention around COVID-19 to be “mass hysteria.”
Trump himself also blamed Obama in the early days of the spread of the virus, saying his administration left inadequate measures in place to address an outbreak.
The post, which was popular on social media, was written just after the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. had topped 1,000 and not long after President Trump had made a series of statements downplaying the spread of the virus.
In the early days, Trump predicted that the number of cases in the U.S. would soon go down to zero, but in the weeks that followed, it has instead spread rapidly. The U.S. has become the country with the most cases in the world, topping 81,000 confirmed cases and now more than 1,100 deaths.
As WBTV reported, Spradlin fell ill while returning home to Virginia after a trip to New Orleans with his wife, Jean. His condition worsened last week, and he was taken to a hospital with difficulty breathing. He was tested for coronavirus, and the next day the test returned a positive result.
He remained in the hospital and died on Wednesday, family members said.
Spradlin also appeared confident that God could protect people from the spread of the virus, with Raw Story noting that he shared a post from a pastor who wrote about a missionary in South Africa “protected” from the bubonic plague by the “Spirit of God.”
“As long as I walk in the light of that law [of the Spirit of life], no germ will attach itself to me,” the post read.
After Spradlin’s death, family members said they took solace in knowing that he was strong in his faith
“We know where he is, and the Bible says there is a peace that passes all understanding,” the man’s daughter, Judah Strickland, told WBTV. “I have peace. My heart is broken, my mother’s heart is broken, my sisters and my brother, their hearts are broken, but no matter what, God is still God and God is still on the throne.”