Archbishop Paul S Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the US Bishops; Conference's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, has called on lawmakers in Congress and the White House to reach a deal on the next Covid relief package that meets the urgent needs of the nation.
In his statement, Archbishop Coakley recalls that earlier this year, the leaders of the US government agreed on a bipartisan deal to provide significant relief to persons affected by the health and economic crises the US continues to face.
"Many of the good relief measures in that previous package are running out," he notes. "Families and individuals are having trouble affording food, housing, and health care, and hunger-related crises grow internationally. Many non-public schools must choose between reopening and permanent closure and require additional assistance to safely reopen. Hospitals are bracing for a spike of cases in the Autumn and continue to experience fewer preventative and elective health visits. Cases are spiking in detention centres, prisons and jails. Many businesses and charities are suffering dire hardship again. States, cities, and towns face shortfalls providing essential services."
In light of this, Archbishop Coakley asks leaders in Washington to once again "set aside their differences in order to reach an agreement that prioritizes the poor and vulnerable".
He urges all those with the power to do so to work with "a heart that eagerly responds to the cry of the poor."
To date there have been more than 194,000 confirmed deaths from Covid-19 and 6.35 million cases of infection in the United States. With just four percent of the world's population, the US has half the world's Covid infections, and the highest death toll of any country.
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