Pope Francis, 86, In Hospital With Respiratory Infection, but not COVID
The Vatican reports that Pope Francis has a respiratory infection and will be hospitalized in Rome for a few days.
Citing a statement, that the 86-year-old has had difficulty breathing in recent days but does not have COVID.
It stated that he would require “a few days of hospital-based medical treatment.”
The statement continued, “Pope Francis is moved by the many messages he has received and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayers.”
His closest staff members, including security, are expected to spend the night at Gemelli Hospital.
This is Pope Francis’ busiest time of year, with numerous events and services scheduled prior to Easter weekend.
This weekend is Palm Sunday Mass, and next week will be Holy Week and Easter celebrations.
In addition, he is scheduled to travel to Hungary at the end of April.
He presided over his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday morning. As he was assisted into his vehicle, he was observed grimacing despite his apparent good spirits.
In recent months, the pontiff has used a wheelchair due to knee-related mobility problems.
In 2021, he also underwent surgery to treat a colon issue. He stated that the condition had returned in January.
Despite his illnesses, the Pope has remained active and travelled internationally. In February, he travelled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.
In January, the Pope presided over the funeral of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, the first pope in centuries to voluntarily resign. He attributed this to his poor health.
Pope Francis has previously indicated that, if his health deteriorates, he may wish to follow in Benedict’s footsteps.
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