Pope Francis has been sick as Italy deals with a major coronavirus outbreak. That’s caused concern about the Pope’s well-being, with people wondering what’s affecting his health.
To be clear, there’s no sign the Pope has coronavirus. However, according to the New York Post, the exact nature of the Pope’s illness is not clear. The site dubbed it a “mysterious illness” that the Pope had been suffering from for three days as of February 29, 2020.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Pope Coughed & Blew His Nose at Mass
On February 27, 2020, Inside Edition posted the above video that showed the Pope coughing and blowing his nose during Mass on Ash Wednesday. He cancelled an event the following day “to rest,” the site reported. His spokesperson told the media the Pope was dealing with a “slight indisposition.”
According to Time Magazine, on March 1, the Pope told followers that he was cancelling his involvement in “a week-long spiritual retreat in the Roman countryside because of a cold.” He’s never before missed that event as Pope, the site reported. Time noted that the pontiff, who is 83 years old, “lost part of a lung to a respiratory illness as a young man.”
The Times of Israel reported that Francis “canceled his official audiences Friday.” The site noted that the Pope has generally enjoyed good health previously. The Associated Press via Los Angeles Times reported that the elderly pontiff took this action after “apparently coming down with a cold.” He was keeping a private meeting schedule, the newspaper reported, adding that the Vatican hasn’t specified the Pope’s illness.
Italy Is Dealing With a Major Coronavirus Outbreak
That’s up from 150 on February 23, when the majority were in the Province of Lodi, according to the U.S. Embassy.
According to Al-Jazeera, as of February 29, there were 1,128 coronavirus cases confirmed in Italy, rising from 888 the day before. The Italian death toll from coronavirus now stands at 29.
Concerns about the deadly virus continue to escalate throughout the globe. The New York Times described the Italy coronavirus outbreak as Europe’s “first major outbreak of the coronavirus.” The prime minister of Italy announced that “extraordinary measures” would be taken to stop the virus.
As of February 29, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection was advising:
“CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Italy.
There is a widespread, ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness (COVID-19) caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that can be spread from person to person.
Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease.”
The number of cases in Italy grew suddenly from five known cases before Thursday to at least 150 by Sunday, February 23, 2020, according to The Times, which added that the virus has infected more than 78,000 people worldwide, killing more than 2,400 people, most of them in China. According to the newspaper, Europe’s principle of “open borders” could be tested by coronavirus outbreaks.
The February 28, 2020 advisory for Italy stated, “A novel coronavirus is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness (COVID-19) in Italy. Illness with this virus has ranged from mild to severe. Signs and symptoms of infection include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Sore throat also has been reported in some patients. Some patients also have reported diarrhea without other symptoms. This new coronavirus has caused severe disease and death in patients who developed pneumonia. Risk factors for severe illness are not yet clear, although older adults and those with chronic medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe illness.”
The Overseas Security Advisory Council, Bureau of Diplomatic Security for the U.S. Department of State, wrote that, on February 21, the Italian Ministry of Health “announced 14 confirmed case of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the town of Codogno in the Lombardy region and two cases in Vo’ Euganeo near Padua.”
The locations affected were described as “Region of Lombardy, Codogno and surrounding towns of Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo, and San Fiorano.” Location 2 was given as “Vo’Euganeo in the Veneto region.”
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