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Coronavirus in Italy: 50 priests have died

BERGAMO ITALY CORONAVIRUS
Piero Cruciatti | AFP
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The ages of fallen priests ranges from 45 to 104.

The number of priests who have died as a result of the coronavirus infection sweeping Italy has reached 50, the Italian newspaper Avvenire reported on Sunday.  

The newspaper has received updates from Catholic diocese, parishes family members and parishioners. On Thursday, eights priests died of complications due to COVID-19, and ten more died between Friday and Saturday, it was reported.

The town of Bergamo, in northern Italy has been hit the hardest with at least 20 fallen priests. Seventeen more have been taken to the hospital there, and two are in intensive care, according to the report. 

The priests who have died range in age from 45 to 104 years old, and many were in their fifties and sixties, according to an account in Corriere Della Sera. 

While public Masses have been suspended, priests in Italy continue to accompany the faithful, as the pandemic ravages the country. 

“It is painful to see the priests fall sick,” Enrico Salmi, the bishop of Parma, told the Avvenire.

“Sometimes it happens (to them) out of pastoral zeal. They enter the intensive care unit where, naturally, no one is supposed to go.”

While the clergy in Italy are among the most disproportionally affected — even more than doctors, according to one report — the number of fallen priests reflects the surging number of deaths in the country as a whole. The Italian health ministry reported on March 22 that at least 5,476 people have died due to COVID-109. On Saturday, 793 deaths were reported.

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