At least nine Catholic bishops have died worldwide after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Catholic News Agency reported that between Jan. 8 and Jan. 15, bishops across three continents died as a result of the new coronavirus disease. The deceased bishops ranged in age from 53 years old to 91.
Four bishops died on the same day on Jan. 13: Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, 70; Bishop Moses Hamungole of Monze, Zambia, 53; Bishop Mario Cecchini of Fano, Italy, 87; and Cardinal Eusébio Oscar Scheid of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 88.
Bishop Luis Adriano Piedrahita Sandoval, 74, of Colombia died on Jan. 11 of complications from COVID-19.
Bishop Cástor Oswaldo Azuaje of Trujillo, 69, became the first bishop from Venezuela to die after contracting the virus on Jan. 8.
Bishop Florentin Crihalmeanu, 61, of the Greek-Catholic Eparchy of Cluj-Gherla in Romania, died on Jan. 12.
Polish Bishop Adam Dyczkowski, emeritus of Zielona Góra-Gorzów, died on Jan. 10 at the age of 88, and Italian Archbishop Oscar Rizzato died at the age of 91 on Jan. 11.
The worldwide coronavirus death toll surpassed two million on Jan. 15, according to a Reuters tally.
It took nine months for the world to record the first one million deaths from the new coronavirus but only three months to go from 1 million to 2 million deaths, illustrating an accelerating rate of fatalities, said the report.
So far in 2021, deaths have averaged over 11,900 per day or one life lost every eight seconds, according to the Reuters tally.
“Our world has reached a heart-wrenching milestone,” said Antonio Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations, in a video statement.
Given how fast the virus is spreading due to more infectious variants, the World Health Organization warned the worst could be ahead.
“We are going into a second year of this. It could even be tougher given the transmission dynamics and some of the issues that we are seeing,” said Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies official.
The United States has the highest total number of deaths at over 386,000 and accounts for one in every four deaths reported worldwide each day.
The next worst-affected countries are Brazil, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Combined, the five countries contribute to almost 50 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the world but represent only 27 percent of the global population.
Europe, the worst-affected region in the world, has reported over 615,000 deaths so far and accounts for nearly 31 percent of all COVID-related deaths globally.