Coughing fits strike terror as Rome reels from killer plague
POPE FRANCIS’ shocking coughing fits during several prayer services have triggered terrors that the pontiff has been stricken by the killer coronavirus that’s swept like wildfire throughout Italy!
Alarm bells clanged when the pope was seen coughing on his Vatican balcony as he prayed for coronavirus victims at his March 1 Sunday blessing. He was also coughing and blowing his nose during a Feb. 26 Ash Wednesday Mass.
He further alarmed followers by canceling several appearances, including a scheduled weeklong country retreat — the first time he’s missed the spiritual getaway in his seven years as pope.
“Unfortunately a cold will force me not to take part this year,” he told followers at his Sunday blessing. “I will follow the meditation from here.”
Says a source in Rome: “His coughing at the service scarily fit in with what is happening all over Italy and the world.
“Many of the worshippers who had gathered were wearing medical masks, hoping to block breathing in the bug.”
Francis has tried to poohpooh his cough and cancellations as just due to “a cold,” and, a Vatican spokesman adds, “there is no evidence that would lead to diagnosing anything but a mild indisposition.”
But fear in Rome is running as rampant as the scary sickness itself!
The out-of-control disease causes coughing, fever and trouble breathing, and is especially dangerous for the elderly, whose immune systems aren’t as strong.
According to medical expert Dr. Gabe Mirkin, Pope Francis is at “great risk” of dying from the coronavirus — which can even live in holy water!
And 83-year-old Francis is especially vulnerable because he lost a lung to a respiratory illness in his youth.
Dr. Mirkin, who has not treated the pontiff, grimly reports the Holy Father is in danger because “people who die from the coronavirus are over 65 and have something that impairs their immunity.
“So, if he’s 83 years old, he’s at high risk for having serious complications!”
Mirkin confirms that Francis’ lung operation is another grim sign, saying: “You don’t die if you have one lung removed. You die because you had your lung removed for a disease that affects your immunity.”
The life span expert also notes that coronavirus “specifically affects the lungs. It doesn’t stay in the throat — it goes down into the lungs.
“Having one lung puts him at severe risk. They should be very concerned about the pope because he has two major risk factors.”
Alarmingly, Dr. Mirkin also notes that holy water used in Roman Catholic services can be a danger.
The germ can survive nine days on surfaces — desks, tabletops, money — and even longer in liquids!
“Water can prolong the virus’ survival because it doesn’t dry out,” Mirkin reveals.
Adds the Rome source: “He’s in terrible danger. The pope needs a miracle to survive.”
While the Vatican has tried to downplay the danger — including reports that Francis has tested negative for the virus — the pontiff also called
off two other important events set for the Apostolic Palace.
“Francis has never previously canceled so many official audiences or events in his papacy,” notes the source.
“It’s not silly that people are alarmed by his coughing. That’s a key symptom of the disease, which is easily spread and has no cure or vaccine at this time.
“Most people recover, but many have already died, most of them elderly.”
As GLOBE previously reported, coronavirus sprang up in Wuhan, China, and spread like lightning throughout the country, where more than 80,000 were infected and 2,000 died in less than two months.
As of March 1, the virus had infected 1,689 and killed 35 in Italy.
The outbreak is also causing havoc in Italy’s business community: The filming of Tom Cruise’s latest Mission: Impossible flick was shut down, and an Armani show and other fashion events were canceled.
Meanwhile, a terrorism expert told GLOBE a bizarre South Korean doomsday cult was purposely sending infected members around the world to spread the disease and bring about the “end of days.”
Now, Pope Francis is showing signs of the disease and is in danger.
“If he has the coronavirus, he is at great risk of dying,” confirms Dr. Mirkin