Sean CallahanFebruary 15, 2021

The shutdowns in the United States—of businesses, restaurants, schools, churches—began one year ago this March. We asked 14 experts to reflect on the biggest lessons from the past year in the hope that they might help us find a better way forward. You can read the rest of the series here.

A few months into the Covid-19 pandemic in Cameroon,Marie began to worry. As an H.I.V.-positive woman, Marie depends on regular testing and medications to control her illness. She wondered if, as a pregnant mother, she could access such services during the pandemic. Marie was right to worry.

The coronavirus’s rapid and unpredictable spread has disrupted global health systems. It has also threatened to reverse decades of progress we have made on fighting illnesses like H.I.V. and malaria. According to a recent World Health Organization study, 14 African countries have seen a decline of more than 50 percent in critical health services. Children have missed out on vaccinations. Mothers have missed their pre- and postnatal care. And there has been a sharp decline in families’ access to healthy and nutritious food.

The good news is that, against all odds, our church and community partners have maintained their local health systems. Meanwhile, aid organizations like Catholic Relief Services have adapted to the Covid-19 context. In some cases, we are conducting our programs online. In others, we are modifying our activities to adhere to new health and safety protocols. For women like Marie, such adaptations are the difference between life and death. These adaptations are also vital to long-term control of diseases like malaria and tuberculosis.

While we are encouraged by the efficacy of the approved Covid-19 vaccines, our global leaders need to make sure equity is at the center of the vaccine distribution process. We must also push for more U.S. funding to address the virus’s impacts overseas.

In his latest encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti,” Pope Francis touched on the theme of global interconnectedness, stating, “We need to develop the awareness that nowadays we are either all saved together or no one is saved.” To put it another way, we cannot end this pandemic anywhere if we do not end it everywhere.

Catholic Colleges and Universities
Mental Health
The American Family
Inequality
Technology
Catholic Schools
The American Work Force
Parish Life
Children’s Health
Economy
Catholic Hospitals
Globalization
Spiritual well-being

The latest from america

All of us like to associate ourselves with the faith and courage of the abolitionists and civil rights activists. But white Catholics, like most white Americans, generally opposed the abolition of slavery and desegregation efforts.
Gloria PurvisJune 15, 2021
“No one is safe from their attacks. Anyone they are suspicious of, anyone they think are against them, they will arrest, they will torture and some of them are even shot to death.”
Kevin ClarkeJune 15, 2021
Building a worker-friendly economy is a slow and difficult job. Stoking the rage and resentment of disaffected voters is much easier. Are pro-labor conservatives up to the task?
Rachel LuJune 15, 2021
Anti-government protesters hide behind makeshift shields during clashes with the police in Bogota, Colombia, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. The protests have been triggered by proposed tax increases on public services, fuel, wages and pensions. (AP Photo/Ivan Valencia)
What began on April 28 as a public reaction to a tax reform proposal from President Iván Duque has expanded into a massive mobilization of broad discontent.
Filipe DominguesJune 15, 2021