Arizona Megachurch That Hosted Trump Rally Backtracks False Claims on Preventing Coronavirus

Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer as he arrives to a group of young Republicans at Dream City Church, Tuesday, June 23, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

After receiving widespread criticism, Arizona megachurch Dream City Church and the maker of an air-filtration system the church both walked back claims about preventing the spread of COVID-19. Phoenix-based Dream City Church, which hosted a Students for Trump rally on Tuesday, had been plugging a system from Clean Air EXP, saying it can kill “99 percent of COVID within 10 minutes.”

In a video that went viral Sunday, senior pastor Luke Barnett said, “When you come into our auditorium, 99 percent of COVID is gone, killed, if it was there in the first place. So you can know when you come here, you’ll be safe and protected.” He added, “Thank God for great technology, and thank God for being proactive.” Church COO Brendan Zastro, who also appeared in the video, explained the purification system works through “ionization of the air.”

Dream City Church Tries to Clear the Air About Safety Claim

For many viewers, those claims seemed too good to be true, and experts soon confirmed they were. The company’s tests were conducted only on coronavirus “surrogates,” not specifically on COVID-19. Also, tests were done in a sealed laboratory, a much different setting from a public building.

In response to the uproar, Clean Air EXP released a statement about “recent confusion around the claims made by one of our customers.” It clarified that its product doesn’t “eliminate COVID-19 at this time” and that the company supports CDC guidelines “on hygiene habits to prevent the spread” of the novel coronavirus.

The church also posted a clarification, saying: “Our statement regarding the CleanAir EXP units used the word COVID when we should have said Coronavirus or COVID surrogates. We hope to alleviate any confusion we may have caused.” Dream City added that it is “committed to fostering the cleanest, safest environment for our church congregation and facility event rentals.”

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Source: Church Leaders