4/3 Coronavirus Tracker: Sisters keep community, Trump sows uncertainty

Joshua J. McElwee

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Welcome to NCR's Coronavirus Tracker, where you can find the latest news about the coronavirus pandemic as it relates to the Catholic Church and other institutions. We hope you find it useful in navigating these complex times and welcome your suggestions for how we might improve it. We're currently updating the Tracker twice a day, early in the morning and late in the afternoon. To receive the Coronavirus Tracker by email each weekday afternoon, sign up here

The Tracker was last updated at 4:35 pm EDT.

With Passover, Easter and Ramadan looming, clergy scramble to create holidays at a distance

The Washington Post, April 3

The Rev. Richard Mosson Weinberg canceled the Boston ferns and the yellow daffodils for the Easter service ordered for his Episcopal church in Washington’s affluent Kalorama neighborhood. Rabbi Levi Shemtov scrapped plans for the 200-person Seder dinner for Passover in his Chabad synagogue nearby. And Imam Yahya Luqman called off the Ramadan dinners at his mosque down the street.

Video: Reporting from Lockdown

NCR Staff, April 3

Watch: NCR correspondents Heidi Schlumpf and Joshua J. McElwee explain how the coronavirus pandemic has changed their lives, their reporting and the Catholic Church.

State of the sacraments clarified in Chicago

Brian Roewe (NCR), April 3

The Chicago Archdiocese made clear that its guidelines did not pertain to emergency baptism: They did not supersede church law that permits any person to conduct the rite "in cases of urgent necessity, when only those things required for the validity of the sacrament must be observed."

The church after coronavirus: new understandings of social mission

NCR, April 3 

The coronavirus pandemic is fundamentally changing how we do and be church.

Over the past week, NCR surveyed two dozen theologians, social directors, non-profit leaders and pastors, asking them each to consider how our response to the pandemic may affect us in years to come. Part three: reflections on the church's social mission.

Catholics call COP 26 delay understandable but no excuse for less climate action

Brian Roewe (EarthBeat/NCR), April 2 

With the global attention geared to containing the coronavirus pandemic, Catholic organizations called the decision to postpone the upcoming United Nations climate summit understandable, but said it cannot become an excuse to delay critical action on climate change required this decade.

History warns us: Crises like COVID-19 can give rise to great evil

Michael Sean Winters (NCR), April 3 

"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Those were the words of Rahm Emanuel shortly after he had been named chief of staff to President-elect Barack Obama regarding the economic meltdown that was occurring at the time. "What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before." Not for nothing was Emanuel considered one of our time's most Machiavellian politicians.

Police break up New Jersey rabbi's funeeral, charge 15 men in another case of religion clashing with public health

The Washington Post, April 3

The funeral was one of several gatherings Lakewood police have broken up in recent weeks, shutting down at least four weddings and another party.

Keeping up community: what sisters are doing amid COVID-19 lockdowns

GSR, April 2 

The COVID-19 pandemic upended sisters' ministries, requiring strict policies to protect the most vulnerable, forcing cancellations of congregational and regional gatherings, and changing prayer practices, fellowship, dining and funeral services. Weeks into the crisis, the coronavirus poses another challenge: How do sisters keep a sense of community in a time of social distancing, stay-at-home orders and quarantines?

The religious retreat that sparked India's major coronavirus manhunt

Reuters, April 2

The search is part of a nationwide manhunt for thousands of people linked to an outbreak of coronavirus at the headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat group in a cramped corner of New Delhi, which is propelling a surge of cases in India, the world’s second most populous country after China.

What will our world look like after the coronavirus crisis? That is up to us.

America, April 2 

The great English poet John Milton was struck blind at the age of 44 in 1652, years before he would publish his epic poem, “Paradise Lost.” While grappling with his sudden loss of sight, he penned the last line of a sonnet that seems most relevant to a world in quarantine: “They also serve who only stand and wait."

Here's a look at what states are exempting religious gatherings from stay at home orders

CNN, April 2 

Officials from the health care and federal and state governments have promoted social distancing as a powerful tool in the fight against coronavirus. 

But of the 39 states that have implemented stay at home orders, 12 make exceptions for religious gatherings.

US asks for release of those jailed for religion

Associated Press, April 2 

The U.S. special envoy for religious freedom Sam Brownback said Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic had made the situation more urgent, particularly in authoritarian countries known for repression of religious minorities.

'You're all we've got': fear and hope on Spain's coronavirus frontline

The Guardian, April 3 

Carers, wildlife rangers and scientists are among the workers shocked to find themselves fighting to keep their country afloat.

The Virus Will Force Europe to Make a Decision About Italy

Bloomberg, April 3 

As the coronavirus rages across the continent, European Union officials are starting to draw up plans for the day after.

With the death toll still spiraling and no end in sight to the restrictions that have brought the EU economy shuddering to a halt, no one yet has any firm idea of quite how extensive the wreckage will be. But it’s going to be vast.

Farmers across Europe bank on improvised armies of pickers to save harvest

The Guardian, April 3 

Growers from Ireland to Spain says coronavirus lockdown has stopped migrant workers from arriving.

Coronavirus: Families wait for their dead in Ecuador as bodies pile up

Getaka, April 2 

Daniel Larrea died Monday after a week of high fever, struggling to breathe and steadily turning blue. Then a new nightmare began for his family. No one in their city on Ecuador’s Pacific coast would pick up his body.

Commander of confusion: Trump sows uncertainty and seeks to cast blame in coronavirus crisis

The Washington Post, April 2 

In the three weeks since declaring the novel coronavirus outbreak a national emergency, President Trump has delivered a dizzying array of rhetorical contortions, sowed confusion and repeatedly sought to cast blame on others.

N.Y.C. Death Toll Tops 1,500 as Cuomo Warns on Ventilators

The New York Times, April 2 

The governor said the state was using the machines for coronavirus patients at a rate that would exhaust its stockpile in just six days.

Navy Removes Captain of Aircraft Carrier Stricken by Coronavirus

The New York Times, April 2 

The Navy removed the captain of the stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt on Thursday, only days after he implored his superior officers for more help as a coronavirus outbreak spread aboard the ship.

The coronavirus pandemic is making Earth shake less

CNN, April 2 

Once-crowded city streets are now empty. Highway traffic has slowed to a minimum. And fewer and fewer people can be found milling about outside.

Global containment measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus have seemingly made the world much quieter. Scientists are noticing it, too.

Stop Trying to Be Productive

The New York Times, April 1 

The internet wants you to believe you aren’t doing enough with all that “extra time” you have now. But staying inside and attending to basic needs is plenty.

This story appears in the Coronavirus Tracker feature series. View the full series.

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