A Florida pastor has wild ideas about the origin of the coronavirus epidemic.
Evangelical Christian pastor and conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles spoke about the deadly virus on his web show, TruNews with Rick Wiles.
The epidemic, which originated in China, has already claimed over a hundred lives.
The CDC describes coronaviruses as commonly occurring in animals, and that they rarely evolve and spread to and infect humans. The 2002 SARS outbreak is an example of another coronavirus.
This particular virus, dubbed 2019-nCoV by the CDC, is rapidly spreading in the Hubei and Wuhan provinces of China. Business Insider reported that it has spread across 17 countries, with five confirmed cases in the United States.
The virus manifests as a respiratory illness.
Wiles warned his viewers against "crazy, whacked-out theories" about the virus before dropping his own...crazy, whacked-out theories.
You can watch the segment below starting at the 1:03:37 mark, with the Wiles' most incendiary comments coming around the 1:18:00 mark.
The pastor suggested that the virus has the potential to could kill "hundreds of millions of people"... and that it's exactly what God has planned.
"Folks, the death angel may be moving across the planet right now."
Near the end of the segment, Wiles played a clip of Ren Zhengfei, the Chinese CEO of the electronics company Huawei, coughing during a conference in Davos, Switzerland. Wiles and his guests, Doc Burkhart and Edward Szall began to comment on the virus.
Decency and logic did not show up for the discussion.
Wiles had little hope for Zhengfei's health, and predicted that he would be the downfall of Davos.
"If [Zhengfei] is a coronavirus carrier...he just infected Davos! I have a feeling there won't be a Davos next year."
Ironically, the three men were not alarmed by their own coughing fits throughout the video.
He then played a disturbing video of a convulsing virus victim in a Chinese hospital.
Szall, with a straight face, heartlessly commented that the epidemic was great for the robotic industry, as sick and dying workers will need to be replaced. He urged business owners to begin employing robots.
Wiles didn't object to the disgusting remark, and instead played into the fear and paranoia of his viewers.
"This is worst case scenario...a year from now, you can see governments closing cities, locking people down inside, and then incinerating the city with the people in them...You're about to be shocked by what governments do for survival."
Wiles finally revealed his overarching theory about the coronavirus—that it was God's way of "purging" the world of sin by sending down the Angel of Death.
He blasted the sinners of the world, starting with the Chinese government:
"Look at China: A godless state, a godless government. Godless, communist government, that persecutes Christians, forced abortions...the Chinese communists are not virtuous people. They're godless."
He then attacked the people of the U.S.:
"Look at the United States, look at the spiritual rebellion that's in this country. The hatred of God, the hatred of the Bible, the hatred of righteousness, the hatred of innocence..."
Wiles then attacked transgender people and their families:
"There's vile, disgusting people in this country now, transgendering little children, perverting them."
All of his claims are obviously unfounded, and unsurprising.
TruNews was founded by Wiles in 1998, and is notorious for sharing anti-Semitic, homophobic, and racist conspiracy theories. He has a history of blaming natural disasters and tragedies on the LGBTQ community, including 2017's Hurricane Harvey and the 2017 Las Vegas concert mass shooting.
Things didn't get much better in the comments.
Some fans suspected that Bill Gates is the mastermind behind the coronavirus.
A few voices of reason managed to find their way into the comment thread, questioning where Wiles got his information.
Here are some facts about 2019-nCoV.
The CDC has determined that the coronavirus can be spread via air, by touching an infected person or contaminated object and rarely through fecal matter. The best way to avoid catching the virus is to wash your hands often and by avoiding people who are sick.
You can learn more about the epidemic here.