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Pope says pandemic worsening social inequalities

Pope Francis said disparities show up in the workplace, schools and government programs to address the economic impact of the pandemic.
Credit: AP
FILE: Pope Francis speaks at the Vatican, in the San Damaso courtyard, on Saturday, June 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

ROME, Italy — Pope Francis says that the pandemic has both "exposed and aggravated" social inequalities.

Francis said during his weekly audience Wednesday that disparities show up in the workplace, schools and government programs to address the economic impact of the pandemic.

He underlined that not everyone can work from home; school has been "abruptly interrupted” for some children, but continues for others; and while "some powerful nations can issue money to deal with the crisis," that would mean "mortgaging the future for others.’’

The pope said, “these symptoms of inequality reveal a social illness; it is a virus that comes from a sick economy. It is the fruit of unequal economic growth that disregards fundamental human values.”

“In today's world, very few rich people possess more than the rest of humanity," Pope Francis said. "It is an injustice that cries out to heaven.”

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For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

The United States has more than 5.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University.

Just after 5 a.m. EDT Wednesday, the U.S. had more than 178,000 deaths from the virus. Worldwide, there are more than 23 million confirmed cases with more than 819,000 deaths.

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Credit: AP
FILE: Pope Francis speaks at the Vatican, in the San Damaso courtyard, on Saturday, June 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)