DC’s first coronavirus patient reflects during virtual Easter service

Timothy Cole, the leader of the historic Christ Church in Georgetown joins “CBS Evening News” to discuss being the first person who tested positive for coronavirus in Washington D.C. (CBS News)

The first person to get the novel coronavirus in D.C. used a virtual Easter service to reflect on what he went through, and what got him through several weeks in the hospital before he ultimately recovered.

Father Tim Cole, the rector at Christ Church Georgetown, said he was hopeful that his experience battling the virus will be indicative of how the nation will pull out of things.

“It’s been a long road for me,” Cole told congregants who gathered online to watch a service. “I think I was a bit sicker than I thought I was, but I am therefore that much more grateful for being home here with my family, and here with you.”

Father Tim Rector used a virtual Easter service to reflect on his recovery from coronavirus. (Courtesy Christ Church Georgetown)

Cole admitted that things remain scary right now, not just because of the continued spread of the disease but the impact it’s having on livelihoods. He empathized with those who are worried about losing everything: “All that people have planned for and hoped for, all of it seems like it could be just taken away from us in a moment.”

Cole said two things got him through his three weeks in the hospital: his faith in God, and the love and support he got from members of the congregation who reached out to him and his family.

“God has always seen me through, through all the difficult things in my life — every time, He has brought me safely to the beginning of a new day,” said Cole. “And when I was lying in hospital I always felt that He was going to do that for me.”

And even when he was stuck for weeks in isolation, staring at a window that he said provided a view of nothing that was alive, “There is no doubt it is hard to be afraid when you have so many people standing solidly beside you as you face whatever it is you have to face,” he added.

He concluded his brief sermon by saying that the many ways people have come together in recent weeks, rediscovering the humanity of people while staying connected through virtual tools, has him hopeful that the entire nation will also overcome the impact of the coronavirus — and be better for it.

“We are going to come out of this a stronger community,” said Cole. “And my prayer for all our churches and all our communities across the country itself, is that that will be true for those communities and this country too.”

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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