Texas, Oregon, and West Virginia are among the states experiencing a rise of COVID-19 cases, and according to reports, it’s due to church gatherings.
More than 650 coronavirus cases have been linked to nearly 40 churches and religious events across the United States, according to the New York Times.
COVID-19 has struck churches that reopened cautiously with face masks and social distancing in the pews, as well as some that didn’t follow CDC guidelines.
The Graystone Baptist Church in Ronceverte, W.Va., had resumed Sunday services, with masks optional, just ten days earlier when congregants began to fall ill in early June. There have been at least 51 confirmed cases and three deaths tied to the church, local health officials said.
The Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church in rural Oregon announced its reopening back in May via an Instagram post that cited Trump’s remarks about reopening churches.
Now, the county has recorded 356 cases, many of them traced back to the church.
As the virus rages through the sunbelt, some churches that fought to reopen are being forced to close again and wrestle with whether it’s even possible to worship together safely.