An Italian priest working in the Vatican and residing in the Santa Marta guesthouse where Pope Francis lives has tested positive for coronavirus and has been hospitalized, Italian media reported this evening, and America confirmed the story from Vatican sources.
The priest, identified as Msgr. Gianluca Pezzoli, 58, is head of the Italian section of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. He is a permanent resident in Santa Marta, as are some 10 other priests working in Vatican offices. Persons who have been in close contact with Monsignor Pezzoli have now been tested for the virus, a source told America. It is presumed that they are in isolation, though the Vatican has not confirmed this. In fact, the Vatican has not issued any comment on this case so far.
The news naturally raised concerns for the pope’s health, but sources told America that Monsignor Pezzoli has not been in contact with Pope Francis. Like many other persons who reside and eat in Santa Marta, Monsignor Pezzoli does not meet the pope except for a specific reason.
The concern for the pope also arose from the fact that as a young man of 21, before joining the Jesuits, Francis underwent surgery to remove one or more cysts from the upper lobe of his right lung. But he fully recovered from that operation and has not had such problems since. It should be emphasized that he has not lost one lung as some media continue to report.