.- Pope Francis has entrusted the Office of Papal Charities with 30 ventilators to be distributed to 30 hospitals in need during the coronavirus pandemic, the Vatican announced Thursday.
Because coronavirus is a respiratory illness, ventilators have become one of the top necessities in hospitals around the world, including in Italy’s overwhelmed hospital system.
Which hospitals will receive the ventilators from the Vatican has not yet been determined.
Italy has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the coronavirus outbreak outside of China, with a death toll now surpassing 8,000, and with daily death counts totaling more than 600 or 700 in the past several days.
The country’s northern region of Lombardy has been hit the hardest, in part because of its larger population of elderly people.
While Masses have been canceled in Italy, as well as many places throughout the world, for several weeks now, papal charity has continued. Besides the ventilators, papal almoner Cardinal Konrad Krajewski has continued the pope’s charity of giving food to the homeless at least twice a week.
This week, Krajewski also coordinated the delivery of 200 liters of fresh yogurt and milk to a religious community that distributes food to the poor and homeless.