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California pastor who attended White House Rose Garden event says he has COVID-19

Prominent Riverside pastor Greg Laurie has tested positive for COVID-19, he announced Monday, the latest person tied to an outbreak at the White House.

The pastor of the megachurch Harvest Christian Fellowship was an attendee at the Rose Garden on Sept. 26 when President Donald Trump announced the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. At least 11 attendees of the large gathering – at which there was no social distancing and few people wore masks – have since tested positive for the virus, including the president and first lady Melania Trump.

Laurie, who tested positive Friday, has since quarantined and has experienced fatigue, aches, a fever and a loss of taste, which he described as a Romans 8:28 moment. The biblical Scripture verse states: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

“I wish at a time like this we could not politicize something like this,” Laurie said in a video announcing his diagnosis. “It’s real.”

“If the president of the United States can get it, obviously anyone can get it,” said the pastor, whose wife, Cathy, is also quarantining with him. Laurie said his immediate family members have tested negative.

On Palm Sunday in April, Trump said he was going to tune into Laurie’s service, which typically draws 15,000 to his church in Riverside. Laurie, who also operates the massive annual Harvest Crusade event at Angel Stadium, gave his sermon without an audience amid concerns over the spreading coronavirus but filmed a greeting for “a very special guest.”

While some pastors have defied stay-at-home orders, Laurie has urged people to be careful and stay safe.

“Because, look, you could be a young person, and you could get COVID-19, maybe not even be aware of it, and then pass it on to Grandma without even realizing it,” he said at the April service. “Let’s respect one another. Let’s care about one another.”

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