Maine has been one of the only states that hasn’t seen a giant rise in COVID cases recently, but a single church in Waldo County was apparently responsible for a significant number of positive tests in the state over the weekend.
Brooks Pentecostal Church held a “fellowship rally” earlier this month — no masks, no real social distancing, as you can see from the video below — and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention believes that was the origin of the recent outbreak.
Brooks Pentecostal Church, in Brooks, has at least 17 cases of COVID-19 among its worshippers, the health agency said Saturday night. The news of the church outbreak comes as Maine reports 29 new cases of COVID-19 statewide on Sunday and no additional deaths.
Videos of services that the church posted to Facebook indicate that on more than on occasion worshippers have gathered closely together without masks. Contact tracing is underway, and the Maine CDC asked potential contacts of infected people to cooperate.
The 17 infected people also include those who work at the church-affiliated Lighthouse Christian Academy School.
The idea that a church could be responsible for the spread of the virus is not new. All over the country, while sensible people have been quarantining themselves or at least wearings masks when they go out in public, many pastors have been fighting to hold worship services without mandating any of those precautions, choosing to take wild risks with everyone’s health when livestreaming services is a perfectly fine alternative. These people are a threat to public health. Even if those who caught the virus don’t suffer, there’s no telling who they’re spreading it to.
It’s worth asking again: How many people have to die before conservative Christians across the country start caring about everyone else, move services online, and stop treating masks like some kind of attack on their faith?