(RNS) — Hillsong Church NYC pastor Carl Lentz is urging people to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously after testing positive for COVID-19 himself.
Lentz confirmed his diagnosis Tuesday (March 24) to Religion News Service. He’d first announced it Monday night in an Instagram Live video that is no longer available.
The pastor told RNS he hoped by speaking out he could calm people’s fears about a positive test being a death sentence, “but, at the same time, also try to get people to take it seriously.”
“Because the longer people won’t take it seriously, the longer this is going to go on,” he said.
Lentz described his symptoms as “kind of like a flu, but heavier,” with extreme body aches.
The most common symptoms of the coronavirus are cough, fever and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hillsong NYC canceled its in-person gatherings and moved its Sunday services online March 15 to encourage people to stay home and slow the spread of the coronavirus. The church had already been planning for the move as the number of cases increased in New York City, Lentz said.
Last week, the pastor said he started feeling poorly and got tested.
“Our whole team probably got hit pretty hard with it. New York in general seems to be a little bit of an incubator,” he said.
New York has reported more than 25,600 cases of coronavirus and 210…
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