Pastor Who Criticized 'Hysteria' Surrounding Coronavirus Dies From Coronavirus
Concord, NC – A 66-year-old Virginia pastor who suggested that the response to COVID-19 was being manipulated by the media to create “mass hysteria” died after contracting the novel coronavirus.
Landon Spradlin, a pastor and accomplished blues musician, traveled to Louisiana with his wife in February to perform with his family’s band during the annual Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, BBC News reported.
"His mission was to go into pubs, clubs and bars, play the blues and connect with musicians and just tell them that Jesus loved them," according to his 28-year-old daughter, Jesse Spradlin.
"Mardi Gras is like Times Square in New York during New Year's Eve. It's a sea of people just drinking and partying," Jesse explained. "He was loud and laughing and in his element."
Spradlin began feeling sick while in New Orleans, but he initially tested negative for COVID-19, BBC News reported.
On March 13, he shared a Facebook post that compared the number of novel coronavirus deaths to the number of swine flu deaths.
The post suggested that President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama were treated differently by the media during the pandemics, and that the media drummed up a “panic level” of “mass hysteria” to negatively affect the public’s view of Trump.
In the comments, Spradlin noted that although he believed COVID-19 was “a real issue…the media is pumping out fear and doing more harm than good,” according to the Fredericksburg Patch.
“It will come and it will go,” he added.
Over 14,700 Americans have now died from COVID-19, already surpassing the 2009 swine flu numbers, according to the World Health Organization.
According to Spradlin’s son, Landon Isaac, they both agreed that the virus was not a hoax, but that people were reacting irrationally to the pandemic.
“He did put up that post because he was frustrated that the media was propagating fear as the main mode of communication," Landon Isaac told BBC News.
Spradlin was still in Louisiana in mid-March when his health began to deteriorate further.
He and his wife decided to make the drive back home to Virginia, but they were forced to seek help at a hospital in North Carolina due to his dire condition.
Spradlin tested positive for COVID-19, and was also found to have pneumonia in both lungs, BBC News reported.
He was admitted into intensive care, and succumbed to the disease eight days later.
Jesse said that her family was stunned that the virus had taken Spradlin away from them.
"We just never thought our father would pass away because of this,” she told BBC News. "But he wasn't the type of person to just live in fear and let it rob him of the joy of the life that he had.”