What a bizarre week for COVID-19 contractions. First, the President of the United States and then seemingly the bulk of the West Wing announced they had contracted the disease. Now, mere days removed from a wonderful General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Church has announced that Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as well as his wife, Susan, have tested positive for COVID-19.
Elder Gong notably was not present during the General Conference proceedings over the weekend, as the First Presidency announced he had been exposed to COVID and was self-quarantining in order to be safe. He delivered his remarks in advance and they were broadcast prerecorded as part of the conference. You can watch the remarks below.
The Gong’s diagnosis marks the first time senior leadership of the Church has tested positive for COVID-19.
Church spokesman Eric Hawkins stated, per Deseret News, “As shared in General Conference this weekend, Elder Gerrit W. Gong was recently exposed to COVID-19 and did not participate in conference in person…. He and Sister Gong have now tested positive for the virus. Their condition is mild, but they are being cautious and their health is being carefully monitored by doctors.”
Many Latter-day Saints might wonder what this means for the rest of the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency. Hawkins cautioned that the Church is taking appropriate steps to protect senior leaders:
“The church will follow all appropriate health protocols for contact tracing and will continue to follow health guidelines for this virus to protect church leaders, including self-isolation, as appropriate.”
Buckle up and wear those masks, folks. We’re not out of the woods yet. We pray for the Gongs to have a mild case and a speedy recovery.