According to recent data by Aleteia, at least 18 cardinals have been infected by COVID-19 since last year. While it may look like a relatively small number, 18 out of 122 cardinal electors–those who are tasked to elect the next pope during a conclave–already accounts for nearly 15% of all cardinals under 80 years old. At least two other cardinals over 80 have also been infected.
And if we’re looking at the entire College of Cardinals, which has 219 members, the 20 infected cardinals already make up 9% of their population. (Read: Cardinal Advincula Tests Positive For COVID-19)
The most recent one to be infected with the novel coronavirus is Bishop Jose Advincula, Manila’s archbishop. He tested positive on September 17, and is considered as a mild case. However, not all cardinals were as lucky as Bishop Advincula.
More serious COVID-19 cases
A handful of cardinals have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 over the last year. Cardinal Jorge Urosa, archbishop emeritus of Caracas, Venezuela, had been hospitalized since August 27–the day before he turned 79. According to reports, he has received at least the first dose of the Sputnik V vaccine of Russia.
Two other cardinals, American Cardinal Raymond Burke and Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, archbishop of Managua, Nicaragua, were also both hospitalized back in August, but are now recovering at home. (Read: Pope Francis Appoints Cardinal Tagle as Member of Eastern Churches Congregation)
Lastly, Cardinal Celestino Aós, archbishop of Santiago, Chile, tested positive for COVID-19 back in April and had himself admitted to the hospital for preventive measures.
Cardinals that succumbed to COVID-19
On January 13 this year, Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid of Brazil succumbed to the disease. He was 88 at the time of his death.
And just recently, Cardinal Urosa of Caracas and Cardinal José Freire Falcao of Brasilia passed away due to the novel coronavirus on September 23 and September 26, respectively.