Mega-church pastor positive with Covid after White House Christmas party

Pastor was missing from service on Sunday

Matt Mathers
Monday 21 December 2020 10:44
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<p>Jentezen Franklin says he was invited to the White House by president and FLOTUS</p>

Jentezen Franklin says he was invited to the White House by president and FLOTUS

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A Georgia mega-church pastor has contracted coronavirus just days after attending a White House Christmas party.

Jentezen Franklin, of Free Chapel in Gainsville, was absent from Sunday service after testing positive for the disease, his colleague, pastor Javon Ruff, said.

“We want to make you aware that pastor Franklin has come in contact with Covid, but he is doing perfectly fine," Mr Ruff told the congregation, according to local media reports.

He added: "He actually is doing great. He went and got tested and his test came back positive so he is doing the right thing to do and staying quarantined and continuing to be distanced.

"We'll continue to pray and lift him up."

Mr Ruff also announced that the church's Christmas Eve service will be held virtually “out of an abundance of caution.”

Video shows at least 100 people gathered at the service, many of whom did not wear masks.

Six days ago, Mr Franklin posted to Instagram a photo of himself and his daughter at the White House.

"Thank you @flotus and @realdonaldtrump for inviting us. It was gorgeous! Merry Christmas everyone!" he wrote in a message accompanying the post.

There is no evidence to suggest that Mr Franklin got infected with coronavirus at the White House party.

The coronavirus is continuing to sweep vast swathes of the US.

Health officials on 20 December reported 179,801 new infections and 1,422 deaths nationwide in the previous 24 hours, according to New York Times data.

In Georgia, where Mr Franklin delivers his sermons, there were 5,175 new cases and two deaths, the data shows.

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