As coronavirus cases rise worldwide, the deaths of COVID-19 of two senior Orthodox clergymen – one who died weeks after the other’s funeral presidency – raise questions about whether some religious institutions are doing enough to slow the virus’s spread.
There are also reports of people attending religious services and becoming infected with the virus – some after parishioners seem to ignore requests from church and health officials to wear masks, practice social distancing and other steps to combat the virus that killed nearly 1.4 million people worldwide.
In Belgrade, many mourners paying tribute to Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej on Saturday ignored precautions and some kissed the glass shield covering the patriarch̵
The scene came three weeks after Irenaeus, 90, prayed at Bishop Amfilohije’s funeral in nearby Montenegro, an event attended by thousands, where many kissed the bishop’s remains in an open coffin.
Highly publicized episodes occurred when Serbia reported thousands of newly confirmed infections daily in the 7 million-strong country, and as the government tightened measures to stop the virus in recent days. As the country’s health system seeks to treat more and more people with the virus, some patients in Belgrade’s hospitals with fewer serious illnesses are being transferred to hospitals elsewhere.
The same kinds of difficult decisions and terrible difficulties are being played out everywhere in the United States.
California had to impose a curfew beginning Saturday night in an attempt to keep people away from parties, social mixing and drinking – the types of activities blamed for causing an increase in infections. The curfew will run from 10 pm to 5 pm Evening time for most residents of the state and will last at least until December 21.
“A lot of people get together, forgetting control – no masks, no social distancing, often indoors – a lot of these things actually happen at night,” said Dr. Mark Cullen, an infectious disease expert who recently retired from Stanford. university.
President Donald Trump tweeted that his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was doing “very well” in quarantine after being infected with the virus. Trump Jr. is among more than 12 million infected Americans – and that amount also includes the president himself, his wife and his youngest son.
In Texas, overcrowded carcasses prompted the National Guard to send a team of 36 to El Paso to help morgue workers deal with the growing number of COVID-19 deaths.
“The Texas military will provide us with critical staff to implement our death management plan, and we are very grateful for their continued support,” El Paso Mayor Di Margo said late Friday.
An observer told Charlotte in North Carolina that three other people who attended major events at the United House of Prayer for All People in Charlotte last month died – increasing the total number of deaths related to church events to 12.
Public health investigators and other officials linked more than 200 cases of COVID-19 to church events, including those who attended the events and those who came in contact with them, the newspaper said.
And in Michigan, 61 pastors in churches in the Grand Rapids area decided to stop holding personal services, weddings and other large gatherings, largely in response to requests from state health workers who were crushed by the wave of new cases.
In Illinois, as the state tightens restrictions to combat an alarming jump in cases, the Chicago Archdiocese has announced that clergy and suffering ministers will not be required to attend graves if they worry more than 10 people may appear. .
In Delaware, President-elect Joe Biden said all Americans should be able to attend religious services during a pandemic – as long as they do so safely.
Biden, the second Catholic president of the United States, made a statement in response to a reporter’s question when he left the church on Saturday night.
Biden was asked if all Americans should be able to attend religious services during a pandemic, and said, “Yes, safe.”
He did not answer a subsequent question on whether domestic services should be allowed.
Anxious events related to church gatherings came as U.S. officials in the cities prepared for an event synonymous with large gatherings: Thanksgiving.
Health officials are asking people not to travel for Thanksgiving and asking families to resist inviting someone into the house who no longer lives there.
“Don’t mislead your bodyguards, even around close friends and relatives who aren’t members of your household,” the Arizona health department said on Twitter.
In other developments for coronavirus:
– The University of Arizona harshly subjected students who had not received mandatory testing for COVID-19 by excluding them from online classes, a move that most prompted compliance. University of Northern Arizona spokeswoman Kimberly Ot said about 25 students were notified earlier last week that they would not have continued access to the online learning system because they did not receive tests or did not request release even after three notifications. by email and phone call reported Arizona Daily Sun.
– Vermont, which has among the lowest levels of infection in the United States, but is experiencing a jump, announced that it will add more tracers for contract and testing capacity. “The contract tracking team was stressed, as you can imagine at the moment,” said Republican Gov. Phil Scott.
– Iran has closed business and restricted travel between its major cities, including the capital Tehran, as it fights the worst coronavirus epidemic in the Middle East. Iran’s health ministry said on Saturday that the death toll from the virus had risen to more than 44,000. The new restrictions include Iran’s major cities and will last two weeks, but may be automatically extended.
– Turkey registered its highest daily number of coronavirus patients on Saturday, according to the health ministry, as the country entered its first curfew in June after the weekend. The ministry said 5,532 new patients were diagnosed with symptoms, about 400 more than on the previous record day in April.