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The National Catholic Bioethics Center
COVID-19 Public Policy Report
March 2020
© 2020 by The National Catholic Bioethics Center

COVID-19 Public Policy Report
March 25, 2020

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 COVID-19 Public Policy Report 

March 25, 2020 


  • For up-to-date information on the pandemic, see This website is jointly maintained by the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 
  • No national lockdown, yet: “Not at this time” was the response Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf when asked on Sunday if President Trump was contemplating a national shutdown in response to Coronavirus. Thus, there are no immediate plans for a nation-wide lockdown even though state officials in New York, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington are taking very aggressive measures to try to slow the spread of the disease. Wolf added, however, that the federal government is “constantly reviewing” its assessment of the situation. 
  • Therapeutic options for COVID-19? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that while there currently are no Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications to treat COVID-19, various drugs approved for other clinical applications, as well as several investigational drugs, are being studied in clinical trials across the globe. The CDC provides information on its website concerning three of the drugs currently in clinical trial: Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine, and Remdesivir. For further information on Chloroquine trials, click here. 
  • Catholic prayers and other resources related to coronavirus 

Information on Coronavirus from select Catholic health care systems and organizations:



  • Sixty priests succumb to coronavirus in Italy: The Italian Bishops Conference reports that at least Italian sixty priests have died in the last month due to coronavirus. Fifty-one were diocesan priests and nine belonged to religious communities. A majority were over age seventy years. The youngest was Fr. Paolo Camminati who died on March 21st, he was fifty-three. 
  • Pope leads worldwide Our Father: Pope Francis led Christians around the world in saying the Lord’s Prayer in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The simultaneous prayer took place on March 25th, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, at noon in Rome. The Church is also offering a plenary indulgence to those with coronavirus and those who pray for them. In addition, Pope Francis announced that he will preside over Eucharistic Adoration in an empty St. Peter’s Square on Friday, March 27 at 6:00PM (Rome time) and he will give the Urbi et Orbi blessing which is normally is reserved for Christmas and Easter. 


Words of Wisdom 

  • Excerpt from “Coronavirus and Human Brotherhood,” Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life“There is one thing we must all keep in mind: The other person is my ally. Otherwise, community evaporates and I myself am lost. The other person is that person who stays one meter away as we are walking or when we greet each other. He does it to protect both me and himself … we are making this sacrifice for ourselves and for others. The challenge we are experiencing is crucial: we are at a crossroads in the history of humanity and we must know how, even in our culture, to use our resilience to create epoch-making opportunities that will convince us, once and for all, that we need to abandon what is individualistic, inhospitable and affectionless in our relationships, whether those relationships be affective, economic, political, or institutional … The quality of coexistence is an indivisible good—to benefit everyone, coexistence must be shared responsibly. 
  • Excerpt from “The Coronavirus Cross: Bringing Faith, Home, and Love to A Hurting World” from the editors of the National Catholic Register: “Our Christian hope always rests in God —yet as we recall throughout Holy Week, this hope did not arise in the context of comfort and security. It arose from Jesus Christ’s victory over sin and death, purchased for us through the excruciating sufferings of his passion and death on the cross at Golgotha, abandoned and almost entirely alone. But out of that seeming disaster was born the resurrection of Easter, the reason for our hope both here and in the hereafter. This hope can never be shaken by any physical disease, not even one so serious as the coronavirus. And as believers, it’s our particular responsibility to manifest this hope to the many others in our secularized contemporary society who, lacking faith, might be drawn toward despair by the advance of the coronavirus.” 
  • Bishop Antonio Napolioni of Cremona, Italy: “It is an absurd Lent. But in a certain sense perfect. Jesus is in the desert for forty days, fighting with the devil. Lent is not about the beauty of custom, but the profound mystery of the evil, death and despair that exist. But also of the Lord who is there. We must recognize His presence.” Note: Bishop Napolioni was hospitalized for 10 days after contracting coronavirus, he is now at home. 


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The National Catholic Bioethics Center webpage, available at, is a significant resource for bioethics information. NCBC bioethicists are also on-call for consultation twenty-four hours a day, seven days per week, at 215-877-2660.