Cardinal urges prayer as UK reaches 100,000 COVID deaths

Cardinal urges prayer as UK reaches 100,000 COVID deaths

In this May 5, 2020 file photo a member of medical staff cares for a patient with coronavirus in the intensive care unit at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, England. More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus. That's according to government figures released Tuesday Jan. 26, 2021. Britain is the fifth country in the world to pass that mark, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and by far the smallest. The U.S. has recorded more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, the world's highest total, but its population of about 330 million is about five times Britain's. (Credit: Neil Hall/Pool via AP.)

Tuesday was a “day of great sadness” after the UK government officially recorded 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

LEICESTER, United Kingdom – Tuesday was a “day of great sadness” after the UK government officially recorded 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

In a televised address, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government “truly did everything we could,” adding that he was “deeply sorry for every life lost.”

The country had hit 50,000 deaths on Nov. 11, over 6 months after the country imposed a lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, said he was praying “for each and every one, those who have died, those who mourn, those who serve.”

“So many people, families, communities, remembering those who have died in these terrible months of the pandemic. Each one is mourned. Each one is to be prayed for,” the cardinal said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

“This is our instinct, our faith, our practice. Our prayer is rooted in the faith that, in death, life is changed, not ended, for the promise of eternal life opens the door of hope even in our darkest moments,” he added.

That stark rise of deaths over the past two months comes as the UK is ramping up its vaccination campaign. Over 6.8 million people in the UK have had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, with the government hoping to have inoculated 15 million of the most vulnerable population by mid-February.

This puts the UK well ahead of other European countries in vaccinating its population, although it has the highest number of deaths on the continent.

Follow Charles Collins on Twitter: @CharlesinRome

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