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A disturbing new report from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a massive outbreak of COVID-19 stemming from a rural church service in Arkansas.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Two people who showed symptoms of the virus attended this church in early March. (They’re the “primary cases.”)
  • 92 people attended that church that same week.
  • 35 of them soon tested positive for the virus, resulting in three deaths. (Only 45 members were actually tested, so this is a severe underestimate.)
  • Another 26 people who interacted with those churchgoers — which researchers knew from contact tracing — also tested positive later on, with one of them dying.

That’s how quickly this virus spreads. That’s why churches (like other places where people gather) should be closed until further notice. Keeping church open right now is utterly irresponsible and a potential death sentence for some members.

The researchers closed their brief report with this exhortation:

Faith-based organizations that are operating or planning to resume in-person operations, including regular services, funerals, or other events, should be aware of the potential for high rates of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. These organizations should work with local health officials to determine how to implement the U.S. Government’s guidelines for modifying activities during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent transmission of the virus to their members and their communities.

While the research looked at one week in early March, it’s appalling that many churches, even today, are fighting to open up like they’re fighting actual persecution. Those pastors are so selfish that they don’t give a damn about the physical health of their own congregation. Or at least they’re willing to sacrifice everyone’s physical health in order to offer them spiritual health… which is to say some pastors are leading a death cult. I wish that were an exaggeration or hyperbole, but it’s clearly not. People are dying.

The question is: How many deaths will it take before these Christians figure out they’re responsible for the chaos?

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Renee for the link)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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