pcloudy.png
Wednesday June 23rd, 2021 4:15PM

'We're working on it:' Pope's COVID advisers and the mask

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis’ decision to forgo wearing a mask has been noticed, with some concern, by the commission of Vatican experts he appointed to help chart the Catholic Church’s path through the coronavirus pandemic and the aftermath.

The Rev. Augusto Zampini, one of the key members of the pope’s COVID-19 commission, acknowledged Tuesday that at age 83 and with part of his lung removed after an illness in his youth, Francis would be at high risk for complications if he were to become infected with COVID-19.

“He has started to use the mask now,” Zampini said in response to reporters' questions. “And I hope he will use it in the general audiences, when he is close to the people. If you’re in an open space, we know that it’s different. But well, we are working on that."

Francis has courted some criticism for declining to wear a mask when indoors, even though Vatican regulations call for masks indoors and out when social distancing cannot be guaranteed. While Francis’ lung condition could help explain his decision to forgo the mask, he donned one for more than two hours last week when he presided over an indoor and outdoor interreligious prayer service in downtown Rome.

Yet the following day, Francis went maskless during his indoor general audience in the Vatican auditorium, including when he shook hands with a handful of similarly maskless bishops and leaned in to speak privately to each one. On Saturday, he met with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who arrived wearing a mask only to take it off for the audience in the pope's library.

Photos of the maskless leaders caused a mild stir in Spain over the weekend, but the prime minister’s office dismissed it by saying the delegation was following Vatican protocol rules. Spain last week became the first country in Western Europe with more than 1 million confirmed virus cases.

The Vatican has declined to respond to questions about Francis and masks.

Zampini said the recent rise in infections in the tiny city state have commission members and the Vatican as a whole concerned. Thirteen Swiss Guards and a resident of the hotel where Francis lives have recently tested positive.

“We are very worried,” Zampini said, noting that the Vatican has strong regulations about keeping social distancing and washing hands within the territory. “We have all protocols in place, but still we have cases.”

He acknowledged, though, that the contagion within the Vatican has merely driven home the danger of the virus so that the Vatican itself can be witness to what the rest of the world is experiencing and help be part of the solution.

The commission is working to address the current needs of the church around the world with concrete acts of assistance, while also developing policy recommendations for how governments and institutions can re-think global economic, environmental, social, health care and other structures to be more equitable and sustainable.

Commission members recently met with pharmaceutical companies that are developing COVID-19 vaccines, part of Francis' appeal to make a vaccine universally available for even the poorest countries.

Asked if the Vatican had raised concerns that some vaccines were being made with cell lines derived from aborted fetuses, or have had early laboratory testing using a test made with fetal cell lines, Zampini said the ethical concerns were more than just biological.

“The ethical discussion, let's be crystal clear on this, it's not just the ingredients," Zampini said. “How is it manufactured? How is it funded? How is it distributed? Because this is also about ethics."

___

AP reporters Aritz Parra in Madrid and Lauran Neergaard in Washington contributed.

___

Follow all of AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Barrett sworn in at court as issues important to Trump await
Amy Coney Barrett has been formally sworn in as the Supreme Court’s ninth justice
11:02AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Stop the music! Chorus of artists tell Trump to turn it down
The presidential campaign season has brought an unprecedented onslaught of angry musicians who say President Donald Trump can't always get what he wants
10:51AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Column: So perfect for 2020: game-losing touchdown run
On a weekend that the Big Ten Conference kicked off its season, the NFL joined its college football brethren in celebrating the game-losing touchdown
10:51AM ( 37 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
After high court ruling, DOJ wants census challenges stopped
Now that the Supreme Court has allowed the Trump administration to end the 2020 census count, Department of Justice attorneys say the courts shouldn’t interfere with efforts to meet a year-end deadline for turning in numbers used for divvying up congressional seats by state
9:33AM ( 1 hour ago )
Bomb at seminary in Pakistan kills 8 students, wounds 136
A powerful bomb blast has ripped through an Islamic seminary on the outskirts of the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar, killing at least eight students and wounding 136 others
9:03AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Spain doctors stage walkout over health system
Spanish doctors are staging their first national walkout in 25 years to protest what they say are poor working conditions and the weakened state of the national public health system
8:44AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
The Latest: Canary Islands tourists will need negative tests
Spain’s Canary Islands aim to pass a law this week demanding a negative COVID-19 test result from tourists wanting to visit the archipelago off northwest Africa
6:43AM ( 4 hours ago )
Police shoot and kill man after yelling at him to drop knife
Authorities say police shot and killed a 27-year-old Black man on a Philadelphia street after yelling at him to drop his knife
5:47AM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: German area goes into de-facto virus lockdown
A second German district has gone into a de-facto lockdown as new coronavirus infections surge in the country and across Europe
5:46AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Hurricane Zeta closes in on resort zone of Mexico's Yucatan
Hurricane Zeta is closing in on the Caribbean coast of the eastern Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, whipping the resorts around Tulum with rain and wind before an expected landfall in the middle of the night
12:10AM ( 11 hours ago )
Barrett confirmed by Senate for Supreme Court, takes oath
Amy Coney Barrett is headed to the Supreme Court
11:34PM ( 11 hours ago )
Winds and rain whip Yucatan resorts as Hurricane Zeta nears
Hurricane Zeta is lashing Mexico’s Caribbean coast resorts around Tulum with high winds and rain as it heads toward the Yucatan Peninsula for landfall in the middle of the night, before moving on to a potential hit on the central U.S. Gulf Coast at midweek
11:26PM ( 12 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
"We're working on it:" Pope's COVID advisers and the mask
Pope Francis’ decision to forego wearing a mask has been noticed, with some concern, by the commission of Vatican experts he appointed to help chart the Catholic Church’s path through the coronavirus pandemic and the aftermath
10:29AM ( 59 minutes ago )
"We're working on it:" Pope's COVID advisors and the mask
Pope Francis’ decision to forego wearing a mask has been noticed, with some concern, by the commission of Vatican experts he appointed to help chart the Catholic Church’s path through the coronavirus pandemic and the aftermath
10:26AM ( 1 hour ago )
Belgium's ex-King Albert finally receives daughter Delphine
The long-running royal scandal that has riveted Belgium and damaged those involved reached a new milestone when former King Albert II reunited with the daughter he fathered out of wedlock over half a century ago
10:25AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Barrett sworn in at court as issues important to Trump await
Amy Coney Barrett has been formally sworn in as the Supreme Court’s ninth justice
11:02AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Stop the music! Chorus of artists tell Trump to turn it down
The presidential campaign season has brought an unprecedented onslaught of angry musicians who say President Donald Trump can't always get what he wants
10:51AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Column: So perfect for 2020: game-losing touchdown run
On a weekend that the Big Ten Conference kicked off its season, the NFL joined its college football brethren in celebrating the game-losing touchdown
10:51AM ( 37 minutes ago )
Hurricane warning for New Orleans as Zeta swirls over Mexico
A hurricane warning has been issued for the U.S. Gulf Coast including New Orleans
10:50AM ( 38 minutes ago )
New protests loom as Europeans tire of virus restrictions
Italy is bracing for another day of protests in cities nationwide against virus-fighting measures that have closed restaurants and bars early and shut down gyms and swimming pools
10:47AM ( 40 minutes ago )