Since the middle of March, just a couple of weeks after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the state, a New York pastor tells CNN his devastating tally of 44 parishioners who have died of coronavirus.
Showing dozens of his parishioners names on it and warning that he fears there will be more added, Rev. Fabian Arias, of Saint Peter’s Church in Manhattan, shared the list with the outlet. Rev. Arias is also presiding over their funerals, with some being hosted in family members’ living rooms due to the influx at funeral homes.
Of the 44 deaths in his parish, which were a mix of regular goers and sporadic, holy day attendees, nearly ninety percent of them are Latino, and many are undocumented immigrants. He adds, “The virus installs itself more in the most vulnerable places, and so it infects the most vulnerable people. This is the problem. The virus does not discriminate. We are the ones who as a society are discriminating.”
Another church leader, Bishop Paul Egensteiner, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, tells Americans who don’t believe in the severity of the pandemic, “You have to be in a very privileged place to be able to say that. You either have blinders on, or it’s an acute lack of awareness of how this virus is devastating communities.”