One of the first deaths of a Virginian from coronavirus was a 66-year-old Christian “musical evangelist” who fell ill while on a trip to New Orleans with his wife. As the Friendly Atheist’s Bo Gardiner points out, Landon Spradlin had previously shared opinions that the pandemic was the result of “mass hysteria” from the media.
On March 13, Spradlin shared a misleading meme that compared coronavirus deaths to swine flu deaths and suggested the media is using the pandemic to hurt Trump. In the comments, Spradlin acknowledged that the outbreak is a “real issue,” but added that he believes “the media is pumping out fear and doing more harm than good”
“It will come and it will go,” he wrote.
That same day, he shared a post from another pastor that told the story of a missionary in South Africa who “protected” himself from the bubonic plague with the “Spirit of God.”
“As long as I walk in the light of that law [of the Spirit of life], no germ will attach itself to me,” read a quote from the post.
On March 17, Jean and Landon Spradlin were returning home from a traveling ministry in New Orleans because he hadn’t been feeling well. Landon Spradlin had both bronchitis and a small case of pneumonia, and had already tested negative for the coronavirus while in New Orleans.
The pneumonia, however, got worse. He wasn’t breathing right when Jean Spradlin tried to pull her husband out of the car during a stop in Concord, North Carolina.
“When I got his feet on the ground they crumpled,” she said.
Bystanders at a convenience store called 911 and he was transported to Atrium Health Cabarrus, a hospital in Concord. Doctors placed him on a ventilator and diagnosed him with double pneumonia — meaning both lungs were infected.
Spradlin tested positive for COVID-19 in the hospital and died on Wednesday.
Terrified Trump attacks Biden with massive rapid-fire Twitter tantrum
President Donald Trump's supposed "new tone," despite what some reporters claimed after his newly-resuscitated coronavirus press briefing, does not exist. On Thursday the embattled president launched a massive rapid-fire retweeting campaign, posting tweet after tweet after tweet of other people's attacks on the left and on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
In 59 minutes Trump tweeted or retweeted 40 times, many of all the tweets baseless attacks on Biden and progressive policies.
What stands out is the President, supported by the entire machinery of the United States of America's federal government, and buoyed by hundreds of millions in campaign cash, had no original thoughts of his own to share with the American voters.
WATCH: Trump holds mask-optional Mount Rushmore rally and fireworks celebration
President Donald Trump left the White House during the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday to attend an Independence Day event in South Dakota.
Trump was told not to attend but did so anyway.
“Trump coming here is a safety concern not just for my people inside and outside the reservation, but for people in the Great Plains. We have such limited resources in Black Hills, and we’re already seeing infections rising,” the Oglala Sioux president, Julian Bear Runner, told the Guardian. “It’s going to cause an uproar if he comes here. People are going to want to exercise their first amendment rights to protest and we do not want to see anyone get hurt or the lands be destroyed."
One of COVID-19’s unlisted side effects: An increase in police power
As governments across the globe expand mass surveillance programs in the name of public health, activist and whistleblower Edward Snowden warns that we are watching them build "the architecture of oppression." Perhaps more insidious are new measures that simply expand the power and discretion of the police to "enforce social distancing" in the name of flattening the curve — many of which were passed swiftly in just the past few weeks.