3/25 Coronavirus Tracker: Avoiding Putinism, UK Parliament shutting down

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

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 4:15 pm EDT.

NCR readers share acts of kindness amid coronavirus pandemic

NCR Staff, March 25

With their spring break trip canceled, high school students in Memphis volunteer at a local food bank to help low-income families and seniors.

Italian doctors: Staff overwhelmed during pandemic; model must change

Catholic News Service, March 25

Doctors working in the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy have launched an appeal in a major medical journal warning the outbreak in their province is out of control.

Pope pays tribute to women religious caring for the sick

Global Sisters Report, March 25

Early in the morning, in the chapel of his residence, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the feast of the Annunciation and paid tribute to women religious, especially those caring for the sick during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Houses of worship, forced to close due to COVID-19, get inventive to stay connected with their congregations

Chicago Tribune, March 25

Houses of worship are adapting and working to keep their faithful connected during social distancing directives. Their primary tools? A camera, the internet and messages of positivity.

Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre Closes Amid Coronavirus Fears

U.S. News & World Report, March 25

The closure, initially for a week, followed a meeting between Israeli police and church leaders.

Pope, Christian leaders around the globe join in prayer for pandemic's end

Catholic News Service, March 25

Joined by Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant church leaders and faithful from around the world, Pope Francis led the recitation of the Lord's Prayer, imploring God's mercy on humanity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Aid group says Mideast lockdowns hinder humanitarian efforts

The Associated Press, March 25

An international aid group said March 25 that closures aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic are preventing it from reaching 300,000 people in conflict zones across the Middle East, as the coronavirus arrived in war-torn Libya and three more cases were detected in Syria.

Tell us: What spiritual resources or prayers are you finding helpful?

Brittany Wilmes (NCR), March 25

We're working to help our readers stay spiritually grounded as the coronavirus affects our lives and daily routines. We need your help.

One small step for economic recovery, avoiding one giant leap toward Putinism

Michael Sean Winters (NCR), March 25 

Good morning. By the time you read this, America will have narrowly avoided taking one giant leap toward Putinism.

What do we learn from this place where we don't want to be?

John Gehring (NCR), March 25 

Before everyone woke up to a pandemic inconveniently knocking at our doors, Christians went about the routine business of entering a liturgical season defined by suffering and sacrifice. We contemplated death with ashy foreheads. Read about Jesus social distancing in a desert. Grumpily girded ourselves for small acts of self-denial.

Virus forces Catholic agencies to scale back services for the homeless

Sarah Salvadore (NCR), March 25 

In a new world of social distancing and self-quarantine, people who are homeless are finding themselves in a vulnerable position.

Praying in a pandemic: Communal worship hard to resist for some

Al Jazeera English, March 24 

As nations across the world implement social distancing measures, ban large gatherings and close all non-essential businesses and places to slow the spread of the COVID-19 disease, millions of worshippers can no longer visit religious sites or participate in communal prayer.

Coronavirus Is Advancing. All Americans Need to Shelter in Place.

The New York Times Editorial Board, March 24 

President Trump needs to call for a two-week shelter-in-place order, now, as part of a coherent national strategy for the coronavirus to protect Americans and their livelihoods.

UK parliament to close early for Easter amid coronavirus fears

The Guardian, March 25 

Parliament is to close for Easter a week early amid fears that coronavirus has been spreading fast through Westminster.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House of Commons, laid a motion saying parliament will adjourn on Wednesday night for a month until 21 April.

Coronavirus in N.Y.: ‘Astronomical’ Surge Leads to Quarantine Warning

The New York Times, March 24 

White House officials expressed growing alarm on Tuesday about the coronavirus outbreak in New York City, advising people who have passed through or left the city to place themselves in a 14-day quarantine.


In calls with faith leaders, White House focuses on virus as well as election

Religion News Service, March 24

The White House held calls with religious leaders last week to encourage their support of its guidelines for addressing the coronavirus, gathering more than a thousand people on three phone calls.

Grocery Stores Are the Coronavirus Tipping Point

The Atlantic, March 24 

For a couple of weeks now, grocery stores have been one of the only respites from cabin fever. Despite all the lockdowns and social-distancing measures across America, people still need food. In the most restrictive states, the grocery store has become about the last place you can go where life is lived more or less as it previously was.

Except now, not even grocery stores can keep up the facade of normalcy.

Slow Response to the Coronavirus Measured in Lost Opportunity

The New York Times, March 24 

When Ford’s chief executive, Jim Hackett, announced on Tuesday that the carmaker would team up with General Electric to build ventilators, he tempered the good news with a note of caution: “We’re talking about early June.”

That was just one of several examples that underscored the price of the Trump administration’s slow response to evidence as early as January that the coronavirus was headed to the United States.

Pandemic sparks new front in abortion wars

Politico, March 24 

The coronavirus pandemic is deepening the divide on abortion access between blue and red states by sparking a debate over whether the procedure is medically essential.

I probably have a ‘mild to moderate’ case of covid-19. I don’t think I could survive worse.

The Washington Post, March 24 

What I want to convey is that the virus we’ve been bracing for is now here. We jawboned about it for a month while it grew by 100,000 cases — mine included. Now the disease is racing at close to 10,000 cases per day. Those of us on the frontier with our mild to moderate symptoms want to tell you this is nothing to trifle with. This is no time to step off the gas.

FDA now allows treatment of life-threatening COVID-19 cases using blood from patients who have recovered

Tech Crunch, March 24 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has updated its rules around use of experimental treatments for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to include use of “convalescent plasma,” in cases where the patient’s life is seriously or immediately threatened.

DHS wound down pandemic models before coronavirus struck

Politico, March 24 

The Department of Homeland Security stopped updating its annual models of the havoc that pandemics would wreak on America’s critical infrastructure in 2017, according to current and former DHS officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Trump hasn’t yet released disaster unemployment funds

Politico, March 24 

The three states that President Donald Trump has formally declared coronavirus disaster areas have not received the disaster unemployment assistance that they expected to follow that designation.

Modi Orders 3-Week Total Lockdown for All 1.3 Billion Indians

The New York Times, March 24 

With four hours’ notice, India’s prime minister announced that no one could leave home for 21 days — the most severe step taken anywhere in the war against the coronavirus.

This Is Not a Recession. It’s an Ice Age.

The Atlantic, March 20 

We can’t say we’re in a recession yet, at least not formally. A committee decides these things—no, really. The government generally adopts the view that a contraction is not a recession unless economic activity has declined over two quarters. But we’re in a recession and everyone knows it. And what we’re experiencing is so much more than that: a black swan, a financial war, a plague.

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