By Robin Gomes
“Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, called me this afternoon at about 2:00 p.m. to express his love, concern and closeness to all the people of New York, especially those who are sick, during the coronavirus outbreak,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, said in a press release on Tuesday, April 14.
Close to New Yorkers
“The Pope, who was calling from his residence in the Casa Santa Marta, said that New Yorkers were in his prayers in a special way at this time,” the cardinal said in the statement posted on the website of the archdiocese.
The cardinal wrote: “He asked me to relay his prayerful best wishes to the sick, the doctors, nurses, EMTs [emergency medical technicians], medical professionals and caregivers who are tending to them, our civic leaders, as well as our priests, religious and lay people.”
The Covid-19 path
The coronavirus first broke out in central China’s Wuhan city, shifting its epicentre later to Europe, with Italy the worst hit, followed by Spain and France. It then moved on to the United States, where it has outpaced every country in the number of infected and killed.
According to the Covid-19 tracker of Johns Hopkins University, out of more than 1.9 million confirmed cases worldwide, the US alone accounts for over 609,500. Spain and Italy come next.
Over 126,000 have died worldwide, with more than 26,000 alone in the US. Italy comes next with 21,067, followed by Spain with 18,579.
New York State is the worst hit among the country’s 50 states, with over 203,000 infections (+30% of the country’s cases) and close to 11,000 deaths (+40%).
New York City alone accounts for 110,465 infections and 7,905 deaths. The city’s Queens County has the heaviest load with 33,616 infections and 2,105 fatalities.
Closeness to people of Brooklyn, Queens
In his telephone call to Cardinal Dolan, Pope Francis “mentioned in a special way Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and the people of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens”, and the cardinal “happily shared the Holy Father’s words with Bishop DiMarzio immediately thereafter.”
The Archbishop of New York thanked Pope Francis for the “leadership he has displayed during this global pandemic, and assured him of the love and prayers of the people of New York for him and his ministry.”
With many governments ordering full or partial lockdown to maintain social distancing in order to fight the spread of the coronavirus, joblessness has soared across the world with the economy taking a heavy toll.
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday forecast that the global economy will contract by 3% this year as countries around the world shrink at the fastest pace in decades. It described the global decline as the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s, saying the pandemic had plunged the world into a "crisis like no other".