Paul Van Noy, the pastor of the Candlelight Christian Fellowship, a large congregation in Coeur d & # 39; Alene, Idaho, a city of about 52,000 residents, has been treated in intensive care and has started to recover on Monday. Mr Van Noy's wife, Brenda, also contracted the virus and was not hospitalized. Five church workers have also fallen ill, a church ministerial coordinator told The Spokesman Review. It is unclear whether other cases are related to parishioners.
There have been 2,400 cases and 33 deaths in Kootenai County, including Coeur d'Alene, according to a Times database. In the seven days ending Wednesday, 98 new cases were reported.
Mr Van Noy had posted misleading information about the effectiveness of masks on his Facebook page and wrote on July 17th: "It has been clearly and scientifically proven that many masks do not help prevent the transmission of Covid-19."
On Wednesday, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a Senate panel that masks are "the most important and effective public health tool we have in fighting the pandemic."
"May we defend our freedoms so that they don't disappear quickly," wrote Van Not. He added, "We will not be required to wear masks or allow those who wish to wear them."
The church holds personal services and other events throughout the week, the church website says. A church ministerial coordinator told The Spokesman Review that the church had undergone a thorough cleanup and was closed for two weeks.
The coverage was written by Peter Baker, Aurelien Breeden, Nick Bruce, Emily Cochrane, Stacy Cowley and Hana de Goeij. Elizabeth Dias, Sydney Ember, Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Jeffrey Gettleman, Denise Grady, and Anemona Hartocollis, Jennifer Jett, Alex Marshall, Claire Cain Miller, Claire Moses, Anna Schaverien, Nelson D. Schwartz, Christopher F. Schütze, Eliza Shapiro, Daniel E. Slotnik, Katie Thomas, Maria Varenikova and Sameer Yasir.