Televangelist Kenneth Copeland unveiled an unusual strategy to combat the coronavirus this week -- literally "blowing" it away through the power of prayer.
A viral video showed Copeland speaking to an empty congregation this week, claiming to be able to blow away the deadly virus through his viewers' television screens. As TMZ noted, the normally over-the-top Copeland seemed to even go a step further in his prayer trying to protect people from the spread of the virus.
"Check out this video from Televangelist Kenneth Copeland, who sermonized to his congregation Thursday that with a little wind and heat, he could take the wind out of the sails of the deadly virus," the report noted. "Copeland, who heads up the Copeland Ministries out of Fort Worth, has been in the biz for 52 years, but this sermon has gotta take the cake. He has promised his congregants that the virus would end soon."
The video attracted some viral attention online, with many sharing it on social media and offering some doubt about whether his prayer could really be enough to slow the spread of the virus.
Copeland has drawn some controversy for his past statements regarding the coronavirus, including a prediction back in mid-March that the outbreak would soon be over. The televangelist told followers that they do not have to live in fear of the virus, noting that, "Jesus has already redeemed you from the curse—which includes all sickness and disease."
Copeland said that "Christian people all over this country praying have overwhelmed it." In the close to three weeks since then, the coronavirus has spread rapidly across the U.S., with more than 333,000 reported cases through Sunday afternoon and more than 9,500 deaths.Later in March, Copeland said viewers of his ministry's program were "healed" of the coronavirus disease through his prayer, Newsweek reported.
"Thank you, Lord Jesus. He received your healing," Copeland said in another video. "Now say it: I take it. I have it. It's mine. I thank you and praise you for it."
In another video, Copeland showed the back of a container of disinfectant wipes, noting that they claimed they had the power to kill the coronavirus. Copeland then delivered a statement claiming that the current virus was the same as the common flu, only not as serious.
"It's a very weak strain of flu," he said.
Experts have pushed back against people comparing COVID-19 to the flu, noting that the current strain is believed to be more than 10 times as deadly and spreads more rapidly. They have also pointed out that this is a novel strain of coronavirus that has only been transmitted through humans for a matter of a few months; the common coronavirus, which can create the common cold and which was referenced on the disinfectant wipes that Copeland showed, is very different.