Crediting the prayers of his supporters with his quick recovery from COVID-19 symptoms that “were never that bad,” Harvest Christian Fellowship Senior Pastor Greg Laurie said he expects to return to his pulpit on Sunday.
Laurie, who was among several high-profile leaders diagnosed with COVID-19 after attending the Sept. 26 White House nomination ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, made the announcement in a video statement on his Facebook page Friday.
“As you know I’ve been dealing with COVID-19 and so many of you have taken the time to pray for me and let me know that you’re praying for me so I’m happy to report that I’m doing great and feel great,” the California pastor said, noting that he had successfully completed 10 days of quarantine.
“The fact of the matter is, my symptoms were never that bad. Thank God for that. I know it isn’t that way for everyone and I attribute that to so many people praying. Let’s remember to continue to pray for all of those infected with the coronavirus that they have a quick and complete recovery,” he said. “It is my hope to be back in the pulpit next Sunday.”
Laurie, 67, previously confirmed his positive coronavirus diagnosis with the Christian Broadcasting Network. He said he began experiencing fatigue, aches, pains, fever as well as trouble with his sense of taste.
"Then I found out the news that I didn't want to find out that I have the coronavirus," Laurie said.
His positive diagnosis fueled political headlines as it came at a time when several others who attended Barrett’s nomination ceremony, including President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, tested positive for the deadly virus which has killed more than 200,000 Americans.
"I just wish that at a time like this we could not politicize this and show compassion to people that are struggling with this. It's real," Laurie, who also attended Franklin Graham's prayer rally held in Washington, D.C. that same weekend, told CBN earlier. "It really is a pandemic that's swept our nation and even the world."
The former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned during CNN's "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears" town hall on Saturday that another estimated 20,000 COVID-19 deaths by the end of October are "inevitable," based on the number of infections "that have already occurred."
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"Anytime we ignore, minimize or underestimate this virus, we do so at our peril and the peril of people whose lives depend on us," said Dr. Tom Frieden, who argued that the true number of coronavirus deaths in the United States is likely well over 250,000.
Due to how deaths are listed on death certificates, he explained, settling on that true number is challenging particularly for older adults with underlying health conditions. He said when older adults die with a coronavirus infection along with other health conditions, it is the health condition that is listed as the cause of death.
"If you die from cancer, and you also have diabetes, you still died from cancer," Frieden noted. "If you died from COVID, and you also had diabetes, you died from COVID."
While just under 8 million positive coronavirus cases have been reported in the U.S., Frieden suggested that the number of infections is likely closer to 40 million people.
"You may not get sick at all from this, but you may spread it to someone who then dies, or spreads it to someone else who dies," he said. "That's why we all have to recognize that we're in this together. There's only one enemy, and that's the virus."