A controversial pastor who sells T-shirts and claims his church is “virus-proof” was criticized after he held a week-long convocation that health authorities in North Carolina fear could become a coronavirus superspreading event.
Brian Carn, a senior pastor of Kingdom City Church, which has locations in Charlotte, North Carolina, Jacksonville, Florida, and Houston, Texas, is hosting a meeting this week despite being warned of the danger of COVID-19 virus transmission.
Gibbie Harris, director of health for the state of Mecklenburg, told local media that she had “had several conversations with the pastor of the church” in the week before this event, in which she expressed concerns about COVID and the need for social distancing.
WCNC, an NBC-affiliated television station in Charlotte, told Harris that Carn did not believe that those attending the Church’s Third Holy Convocation, entitled “The Giants are Coming,” were at increased risk because his “congregation is younger. The event will take place from November 9 to November 15.
Carn has previously drawn the attention of district officials to his response to the pandemic.
He is accused of telling churchgoers that God would protect them from the virus, and earlier this year he claimed to have had COVID-19 during a sermon before withdrawing the statement.
“I do not have COVID-19, nor have I ever had COVID-19,” he said later. “It cannot harm me.”
According to the WCNC, health authorities provided the Church with hundreds of face masks and signs to encourage social distancing.
Carn vowed, however, to continue the event despite calls for postponement on public health grounds, with officials repeatedly warning that the current rise in coronavirus cases in the state is due to social gatherings.
“From a spiritual point of view, he feels he needs to do things the way he does them in order to be truly effective with his community,” the WCNC quoted Harris as saying.
The director of health said there was not enough evidence that the event was currently a threat to the public, which meant she was unable to shut it down.
“I must be able to show that there has been a broadcast, and I cannot show that now,” Harris told WCNC. “Unfortunately, we’re going to clean this up and not prevent it.”
The video footage shared by WSOC television showed dozens of cars parked near the venue, and crowds of people, some not wearing masks, mingled outside.
The news station said that cars with license plates from neighboring states had appeared at the event, suggesting that at least part of the community had arrived from hundreds of miles away.
On Wednesday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) reported 3,119 COVID-19 cases – the highest number in one day in the state. The number of hospitalizations also rose to 1,246, while the percentage of positive tests rose to 7.9 percent.
said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen: “This is not the milestone we want to reach, especially as we are going on vacation where people want to get together. I am asking the people of North Carolina to do what they do best, which is to look out for each other. Wear a mask. Wait at a distance of two meters. Wash your hands often.
“We had more time to learn more about this devastating virus, and one study after another shows that these three simple measures can help keep our family, friends and neighbors from getting sick.
The state health authorities have also advised people not to travel over Thanksgiving and only meet with people from their own households.
On Tuesday, Governor Roy Cooper announced that the limit for indoor mass gatherings in North Carolina will be lowered from 25 to 10 people to reduce the number of cases. The executive order will take effect on November 13 and will remain in effect until December 4. However, the limitation on mass gatherings does not apply to worship services.
Washington Newsday has contacted the City Church of the Kingdom and the Mecklenburg Health Authority for comment.
The number of Americans currently in hospital with the coronavirus continues to rise this week to over 60,000. This can be seen from the data provided by the COVID Trackin