A Virginia pastor who claimed the coronavirus was "mass hysteria" created by the media, has died after contracting Covid-19.
Pastor Landon Spradlin, 66, fell ill after a recent trip to New Orleans with his wife, and sadly passed away from the virus after being diagnosed with pneumonia. He had spent a week on a ventilator fighting the disease, but finally succumbed.
The pastor had shared a meme on Facebook slamming the media for causing unwarranted panic about the coronavirus. He compared the current media coverage to that of the H1N1 virus, and suggested that the H1N1 virus was worse but that the nation and media during that crisis were "totally chill".
Just days before he fell ill with coronavirus, Pastor Spradlin posted on his Facebook account: "President Trump: COVID-19 Coronavirus. US cases: 1,329. US deaths: 38. Panic level: Mass hysteria," the post claimed. "President Obama: H1N1 Virus. US cases: 60.8million. US deaths: 12,469. Panic level: Totally chill."
"Do you all see how the media can manipulate your life?" the post questioned.
The statistics compare the end result of the H1N1 virus to a very early stage of the coronavirus pandemic's affects on the United States. Some studies have suggested that Covid-19 would kill up to 9.3 million Americans if no mass restrictions and measures were taken by the Trump administration to slow the spread of the disease.
Pastor Spradlin's wife, Jean, tested negative for coronavirus but was asked to remain in quarantine for at least a week in North Carolina. The couple was travelling through the state when the pastor was taken ill.
On Friday, President Donald Trump ordered car manufacturer General Motors to make ventilators for coronavirus patients, invoking a Korean War-era Defense Production Act. The legislation allows the president to force American companies to help make products for national defence emergencies.
Trump slammed the head of General Motors, saying that he was "wasting time" in negotiations with the government and that manufacturing work on the ventilators needed to start now.
The United States has ramped up testing in the past week and has now conducted more tests than any other country in the world – although the American population is much larger than South Korea.
As of Friday, 104,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus had been detected by testing, with nearly 1,700 fatalities. Although the United States has now recorded more confirmed cases than any other nation, the global statistics are skewed by each nation's strategies for testing and the availability of tests in different countries.