Bishop T.D. Jakes has called on West Virginians to get tested during the pandemic and to wear face masks, declaring that it's “easier to wear a mask than wear a ventilator.”
A native of South Charleston, Jakes’ brief message was posted to Facebook last Friday by the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs. It included a link to a government website that listed where free COVID-19 testing was available.
“You need to get tested for COVID-19. It's running rampant. It’s hurting a lot of people. It’s killing them,” said Jakes in the video message.
“Wear a mask. It’s so much easier to wear a mask than to wear a ventilator. Wear a mask. Social distance yourself, even from people you know and love. If they don’t live with you, keep your distance.”
Jakes went on to say that West Virginia was “in my prayers” and “in my thoughts” and that “we’re going to get through this together. Hang in there, be smart!”
West Virginia currently has over 5,000 coronavirus cases and 101 deaths, according to the state Department of Health and Human Resources. The overall positive rate is 2.16%.
The senior pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, has been critical of those who refuse to adhere to guidelines aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
In a Facebook Live broadcast made back in May, Jakes said that Christians who spurned social distancing guidelines were engaging in unbiblical “foolishness.”
“When the Bible said Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days and Satan said, ‘if thou be the Son of God cast yourself off of this mountain for it is written that the angels will bear you up,' Jesus did not throw Himself off the mountain just to see if angels would catch Him. That’s not faith, that’s foolishness,” he stated at the time.
“To put yourself in a situation where you disregard common sense, disregard it just to see if God has got you, please don’t do that. I’m on here talking to you today because I’m concerned and I’m worried, and I love you and I’m scared for you.”
For their part, The Potter’s House has been holding online services in light of the pandemic until further notice.
Jakes’ message about getting tested comes days after Andy Stanley, head of Atlanta, Georgia’s North Point Community Church, interviewed a friend of his who survived COVID-19.
The survivor, named Stuart Hall, explained to the megachurch pastor that his ordeal taught him that the coronavirus must be taken very seriously and that it is not a mere “conspiracy theory.”
“This is not a political agenda. And more than anything, Andy, it’s incredibly disrespectful to the medical community. Men and women who are risking their own life to save lives,” said Hall.
“Put a mask on … Care about your neighbor.”