On Wednesday, December 9, 2020, the General Overseer and Presiding Bishop of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, David Oyedepo, stated that COVID-19 is not real but rather a lie from the pit of hell.
According to Sahara Reporters and other media platforms that reported the story, Oyedepo made this statement during his sermon on the second day of Shiloh, an annual gathering of members of the church popularly referred to as Winners Chapel.
The Bishop was quoted saying, “We were making progress; instead of blaming COVID-19, we started planting churches, so COVID-19 was tired and (got) parked away. We made a nonsense of the COVID-19 here. I have zero regard for it; it is a lie from the pit of hell.”
Oyedepo said that the so-called symptoms of COVID-19 were everyday symptoms, hence cases classified as COVID-19 cases were unreal.
He said: “Somebody has a temperature and then (they say) he has COVID-19. Everybody here has a temperature. You can’t be in the tropics and not have a temperature.”
“I have never seen an entire world so fooled like this season. I’m a responsible citizen on this earth with millions of followers and being blessed. I have a say. Now the nations gather themselves and rethink, one virus sent you parking, what if they’re two? What if they’re three? Then you will die inside your house. “
Oyedepo said further that, “Most of those figures, they hide under the fact that they’re COVID-19 related. Malaria, COVID-19 related, Typhoid fever, COVID-19 related. Kidney problem, COVID-19 related. So they keep building their profile, profile of deception.”
He also claimed that a bottle of his anointing oil was enough to take away any of the symptoms of COVID-19 more than any vaccine.
THE POTENTIAL IMPACT
According to Wikipedia, Living Faith Church Worldwide (also known as Winners Chapel) is an Evangelical Charismatic Christian denomination and a megachurch. The headquarters is located in Ota, Nigeria. The organization has since become a global network of churches with congregations in 65 countries.
Although the exact numbers of those who attend the church’s annual prayer gathering could not be ascertained, it is estimated that the figure runs into millions.
The claims made by Bishop Oyedepo, if FALSE, has the potential to reach and influence millions in at least 65 countries to disregard COVID-19 protocols critical to combating the virus.
This is not the first time that the Nigerian pastor would make claims about the novel coronavirus.
In June 2020, Oyedepo made the claim that Nigeria’s coronavirus is anti-church virus and that it was the gods of the land that was behind it.
The general overseer in a televised Sunday service in August claimed COVID-19 is mere propaganda, likened the virus to an ordinary fever and that a cure for it has been discovered, referencing Cameroonian-American physician, Stella Immanuel.
Earlier, in March 2020, he flouted the federal government’s directive to close down places of worship as he continued to hold Sunday Services at the church’s headquarters.
FACT-CHECKING BISHOP OYEDEPO
N-VA has highlighted the claims made by Bishop Oyedepo during his sermon to verify their authenticity.
COVID-19 Is A Lie From Pit Of Hell
Bishop Oyedepo said that he does not have regard for COVID-19 and equated the virus to a lie from the pit of hell but scientific data and experiments prove otherwise.
According to scientists, Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the strain of coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the respiratory illness which has caused a global pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 is contagious in humans and belongs to the broad family of viruses known as coronaviruses.
COVID-19 was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in January 2020. As of the time of filing this report, COVID-19 incidence and community transmission had reached 219 countries and territories with over 73 million confirmed cases. It claimed over 1.62 million lives within a year of its outbreak in Wuhan, China.
There are numerous scientific journals and continuing experiments like the one carried out at John Hopkins School of Public Health *(use a link to the article)* with verifiable evidence to show that coronavirus is an airborne virus with mild to severe symptoms
Christian scientists like renowned geneticist, Dr Francis Collins, whose works reconcile science and faith are one of the leading figures in the fight against COVID-19 and developing a vaccine for its cure.
The claim made by Bishop Oyedepo that COVID-19 is a lie from the pit of hell is FALSE and MISLEADING.
COVID-19 symptoms are everyday signs of treatable diseases and cases classified as COVID-19 are unreal
Bishop Oyedepo said that the so-called symptoms of COVID-19 were everyday symptoms, hence cases classified as COVID-19 cases were unreal.
According to the WHO, the most common symptoms of the virus are fever, dry cough, tiredness. The less common symptoms are aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell, a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes
Serious and acute symptoms of the virus are difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, and loss of speech or movement. However, there are asymptomatic COVID-19 patients that do not display any of these symptoms.
Although, these symptoms mirror that of common viruses and disease like Malaria, Typhoid fever, and kidney problems as claimed by Bishop Oyedepo you can undergo a COVID-19 test (there are COVID-19 test kits available nationwide) at approved centers and hospitals when you start showing these most common, least common and severe symptoms, to confirm if they are positive or negative signs of Coronavirus.
Scientists, epistemologists, public health organizations like WHO, American CDC, Africa CDC, NCDC and others have explained that showing symptoms of COVID-19 does not conclude that you have the virus until you undergo a COVID-19 test for true diagnosis.
Testing for COVID-19 involves inserting a 6-inch long swab (like a long Q-tip) into the cavity between the nose and mouth (nasopharyngeal swab) for 15 seconds and rotating it several times. The swabbing is then repeated on the other side of the nose to make sure enough material is collected. The swab is then inserted into a container and sent to a lab for testing.
A COVID-19 patient can only become a Coronavirus statistics after his/her test result comes back as positive. Hence, displaying symptoms only does not conclude that you have the virus until you are tested for COVID-19.
In Nigeria, samples are collected daily to test for COVID-19 and not all samples tested positive for the virus.
Meanwhile, deaths recorded from COVID-19 across the world show that a large percentage of people with underlying health issues end up having complications that lead to their death.
The claim made by Bishop Oyedepo that COVID-19 symptoms are everyday signs of treatable virus and disease is PARTLY TRUE.
His claim that cases classified as COVID-19 are unreal because they show regular symptoms of treatable viruses and diseases is MISLEADING as you can only be a confirmed case when your COVID-19 test result shows you tested positive for the virus.
People with high body temperature symptoms are classified as COVID-19 cases
Bishop Oyedepo was quoted saying, “Somebody has a temperature, and then (they say) he has COVID-19. Everybody here has a temperature. You can’t be in the tropics and not have a temperature.”
According to WHO, normal human body temperature is around 36.5°C to 37°C. But, when someone has a fever, a common symptom of COVID-19, you are susceptible to having a high temperature of 37.8°C and above. However, it is advisable to undergo a COVID-19 test to confirm your Coronavirus status, if you have body temperature symptoms.
Also, WHO Coronavirus Mythbuster stated that
Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature). Thermal scanners cannot detect people who are infected with COVID-19. But you can undergo a COVID-19 test to confirm your status when you show symptoms of high fever.
Bishop Oyedepo’s claim that body temperature symptoms are classified as COVID-19 is FALSE, health experts confirmed that if you have abnormal body temperature, you need to see a health professional or undergo a test for proper diagnosis.
Anointing oils are more potent than COVID-19 vaccines
Bishop Oyedepo claimed that a bottle of his anointing oil was enough to take away any of the symptoms of COVID-19 more than any vaccine.
However, there is no available evidence provided by the pastor to show that the anointing oil has cured anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna have verifiable data that shows over 90% effectiveness against the COVID-19 virus.
Bishop Oyedepo’s claim that a bottle of his anointing oil was enough to take away any of the symptoms of COVID-19 more than any vaccine is UNPROVEN as he did not provide any verifiable data to back this claim.
The pastor’s suggestion that his anointing oil could cure COVID-19 is a contradiction of his earlier statement that Coronavirus is a lie from the pit of hell.
The claims made by Bishop David Oyedepo on COVID-19 during his sermon on the second day of 2020 Shiloh as fact-checked by N-VA showed that they were MOSTLY FALSE as available evidence from scientists, epidemiologists, public health professionals, and organizations that counters the pastor’s claims about the Coronavirus.