China, Oregon Sending over 1,100 Ventilators to New York

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that China is facilitating the shipment of 1,000 ventilators to his state, as he continues to shop for more of the lifesaving devices ahead of a growing number of coronavirus patients who will need them.

The number of people infected in the U.S. has exceeded a quarter-million, with the death toll climbing past 7,000; more than 3,500 of those deaths are in New York state. Cuomo said the ventilators from China were expected to arrive Saturday.

“This is a big deal and it’s going to make a significant difference for us,” Cuomo said, adding that the state of Oregon is also sending 140 ventilators to New York. Cuomo is also looking for ventilators closer to home, and has issued an order that forces even private hospitals in the state to redistribute ventilators to the hospitals most in need.

“I want this all to be over,” Cuomo said. “It’s only gone on for 30 days since our first case. It feels like an entire lifetime.”

As the number of people infected has grown to more than 1.1 million worldwide, health care systems are straining under the surge of patients. In China, air raid sirens sounded across the country and flags flew at half staff in tribute Saturday to victims of the coronavirus pandemic, including the health care “martyrs” who have died fighting to save others.

With the highest number of infections in Europe and their hospitals overwhelmed, Spain and Italy struggled to protect medical staff on the front lines of the outbreak, while 17 medics in Egypt’s main cancer hospital tested positive for the virus.

Italy and Spain, with combined deaths of more than 25,000 and nearly a quarter-million infections, have reported a high percentage of infections among health care workers.

Carlo Palermo, head of Italy’s hospital doctors’ union, fought tears as he told reporters in Rome of the physical risks and psychological trauma the outbreak is causing, noting reports that two nurses had committed suicide.

“It’s a indescribable condition of stress. Unbearable,” he said. “I can understand those who look death in the eye every day, who are on the front lines, who work with someone who maybe is infected, then a few days later you see him in the ICU or die.”

U.S. President Donald Trump announced late Friday he would prevent the export of N95 protective masks and surgical gloves to ensure they are available in the U.S. — prompting neighboring Canada’s prime minister to respond that cross-border aid goes well beyond supplies.

“I think of the thousands of nurses who cross the bridge in Windsor to work in the Detroit medical system every day,” Justin Trudeau said. “These are things Americans rely on.”

The number of people infected in the U.S. has now exceeded a quarter-million, with the death toll climbing past 7,000. New York state alone accounts for more than 2,900 dead, an increase of over 560 in just one day. Most of the dead are in New York City, where hospitals are swamped with patients.

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned African leaders of an “imminent surge” in coronavirus cases on the continent, urging them to open humanitarian corridors to allow the delivery of badly needed medical supplies.

More than half of Africa’s 54 countries have closed air, land and sea borders to prevent the virus’ spread but that has delayed aid shipments. Virus cases in Africa are now over 7,700, and the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned some nations will have more than 10,000 cases by the end of April.

Eleven Russian military planes carrying disinfection experts landed in Serbia on Saturday, which Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said shows “that we are not alone.”

The transport followed last month’s deployment of a similar Russian coronavirus task force to Italy and the delivery of medical supplies to the United States.

Russia has reported a relatively few 4,700 cases and 43 deaths, and its southern neighbor Georgia said Saturday it has registered its first death from the virus, among 156 confirmed cases of infection.

In China, where the coronavirus was first detected in December, authorities have cautiously lifted restrictions amid dropping numbers of infections. On Saturday it reported just one new confirmed case in the epicenter of Wuhan and 18 others among people arriving from abroad. There were four new deaths for an official total of 3,326.

In the nationwide tribute to the victims, the government singled out the more than 3,000 health care workers who contracted COVID-19 and the 14 reported to have died from the disease. Among them was doctor Li Wenliang, who was threatened with punishment by police after publicizing news of the outbreak but has since been listed among the national “martyrs.”

As the outbreak spreads in Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, the news that 17 health care worker tested positive for the virus at the National Cancer Institute raised fears of what the virus might do to the country’s hospital system.

Maggie Mousa, an anesthesiologist at the institute, tweeted that one of her close friends was infected. She accused top officials of negligence for not imposing restrictions after the first case was detected more than a week ago.

“They refused to take any measures to protect her and isolate the institute,” she said.

Spain’s Health Ministry reported 18,324 infected health workers as of Saturday, representing 15% of the total number of infections in the country. To help boost its ranks of health workers, Spain’s government said that it had hired 356 foreign health workers living in Spain. It has also hired medical and nursing students to help.

After seeing commercial shipping lines break down, the government has started flying in medical supplies from China on military cargo planes. Meanwhile, local industry is shifting to producing masks, protective suits, and breathing machines.

As the country completes its third week in a state of emergency, there were signs the number of new infections were slowing, but they were still high with 7,026 new cases reported overnight Saturday and 809 deaths.

In Italy, more than 11,000 medical personnel have been infected — just under 10% of the official total — and some 73 doctors have died, according to the National Institutes of Health and the association of doctors.

Significantly, not all the doctors were working in hospitals. Many were general practitioners or dentists, who were believed to have been exposed via respiratory droplets.

Palermo, the doctors’ union head, said a key reason for the high rate among general practitioners was that flu was raging at the same time in the early part of the year.

“The epidemic was superimposed on top of the normal course of influenza, which didn’t allow us to discriminate between the two,” he said. “A patient with a fever or cough or unspecific symptoms would go to his doctor … and that’s where the contagion happened.”

Worldwide, confirmed infections rose past 1.1 million and deaths exceeded 60,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Experts say both greatly under-count the true number of victims because of lack of testing, mild cases that were missed and governments that are underplaying the crisis.

At the same time, more than 233,000 people have recovered from the virus, which causes mild to moderate symptoms in most patients, who recover within a few weeks.

Tsipras Stresses Need for Bold Measures to Support Greek Tourism

ATHENS – SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras held a video conference on Saturday with representatives of the tourism sector.

Tsipras said that tourism, which accounts for more than 20 pct of GDP, has been significantly affected, with the best-case scenario showing a gradual recovery in the second half of the year. He estimated that losses for the March-May quarter will be over 2.17 billion euros, while more than 38,000 jobs will be lost.

The leader of the main opposition stressed that bold measures are needed to support tourism businesses.

Coronavirus Cases in Greece Reach 1,673; 68 Dead – Lockdown to Be Extended till April 27

ATHENS – Sixty new coronavirus cases were diagnosed on Saturday, infectious diseases professor and coronavirus-related spokesman Sotiris Tsiodras announced.

In his daily briefing, Tsiodras said that Greece now has 1,673 confirmed coronavirus-infected people. Of these, 92 are hospitalized.

A total of 68 people have died from the coronavirus so far.

Measure of temporary circulation ban to be extended until April 27

The measure of the temporary circulation ban will be extended until April 27, Deputy Civil Protection and Crisis Management Minister, Nikos Hardalias, said on Saturday during the daily briefing on the coronavirus.

The unity, determination and discipline that the Greek society has shown overwhelmingly to date has allowed us to follow a different course from most other countries, Hardalias noted. However, this result, he said, can be reversed in a few hours and days and stressed the need to continue to observe the measures with the same perseverance and patience.

A Gentler Gotham? New Yorkers Anxiously Wait out Coronavirus

NEW YORK — To a casting director, he might have seemed the perfect impatient New Yorker — broad, bald and with a booming voice, tattoos on his neck and hands visible under his construction jacket. Justin Hunter stood in line outside the Park Slope Food Coop, one of several dozen shoppers spaced 6 feet apart in a queue that stretched around the corner.

Hunter’s attitude, though, was all wrong for the part. No griping about store management, no shoving ahead toward entrance — not even a hint of annoyance.

“That’s your normal, is people being on top of you,” Hunter said about New York. “Now that people are not on top of you, it’s become, ‘Well this is what we’re doing now.'”

Forget the old New Yorker’s refrain of “I’m walking here!” Big Apple citizens are taking a more tentative tack since the city became a hot zone for the novel coronavirus pandemic that has sickened at least 480,000 and killed 21,000 worldwide.

A solitary subway customer stands on an empty platform in the morning hours as COVID-19 concerns drives down public gatherings, Thursday, March 19, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

No pushing forward in lines. No irritably dodging slow-walking pedestrians. No swearing at yellow cabs for cutting into crosswalks. Moms with strollers are leaving wide berths for texting teens and slow-moving seniors. Supermarket shoppers are anxiously and awkwardly sidestepping each other, trying their best to keep six feet away.

Under threat amid a global outbreak, New Yorkers have become downright polite. Invading someone else’s personal space? Fuggedaboutit.

“Our closeness makes us vulnerable,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday. “But it’s true that your greatest weakness is also your greatest strength. And our closeness is what makes us who we are. That is what New York is.”

New York City’s 8.6 million inhabitants have largely been ordered to stay home, with most of the state’s 30,000 cases and nearly 300 deaths coming from NYC. A makeshift morgue has been setup outside Bellevue Hospital, and authorities are hunting down beds, medical equipment, doctors and nurses for fear the number of sick people will explode in the coming weeks, overwhelming hospitals the way the virus did in Italy and Spain.

While public health officials grapple with the growing emergency, most New Yorkers have been left in an uncertain limbo — unable to help in any way but to stay at home.

Exceptions have been made for essential employees — health care workers, grocery clerks, restaurant chefs preparing gourmet for GrubHub. But most are working from home and going out only for essentials, giving the city that never sleeps a most glum feel.

The front of a New York City bus is cordoned off to keep passengers and the driver separated, Monday, March 23, 2020. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered most New Yorkers to stay home from work to slow the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

In Times Square, a custodian idled Wednesday morning with a broom and dustpan, waiting for messes unlikely to appear with no tourists wandering under the bright billboards. Playgrounds and ball fields in Central Park were left empty, as were the stairs in front of the shuttered Metropolitan Museum of Art. Shops along 5th Ave — from Bergdorf Goodman down to Saks and Louis Vuitton — remained locked and unvisited, and sidewalks around Manhattan were mostly uninhabited except for a few construction workers and deliverymen from local grocers.

Rush-hour subways are running with two or three riders per car, and bus riders are being kept socially distant from the driver by yellow chains draped across the front seats. Many grocers have placed tape marking six feet of space for checkout lines, and clerks are wearing gloves, masks and riot gear-like helmets to quell the spread.

Lines at the Park Slope Coop, Hunter’s regular market, have routinely swept around the block. When first faced with the prospect of an hour-long grocery ordeal, Hunter decided to drive to New Jersey. He found the lines there shorter but the crowds unnerving.

“There was less social distancing and less safety with knowledge of like, people use gloves but then they also touch everything and touch their face,” he said. “There’s less awareness.

“New Yorkers generally have a good understanding of what’s happening in this world, rather than people who are outside.”

A traveler stands at the information desk at Grand Central Terminal, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The coronavirus pandemic has crippled economies and forced restrictions on the movement of millions of people in an effort to stop the virus from spreading further and overwhelming health care systems.

For most people, COVID-19 causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

In Prospect Park a few days ago, Jayse Lee and Makiko Goldstein sat six feet apart on separate blankets with hand sanitizer at the ready. Stuck at home for the past week — Lee celebrated her 39th birthday solo last weekend in her studio apartment — they jumped at the chance to spend an hour in the sun.

“I miss hanging out,” Lee said. “Living in New York, you just don’t realize how much you go out and socialize and do things. It’s hard.”

Might even make someone miss all those crowded subways, gawking tourists and self-important businessmen.

“Yes and no,” Lee said with a laugh. Goldstein interjected.

“I miss that a lot,” she said sadly. “I really miss human contact.”

Subway riders wear protective masks and gloves on a sparsely populated car during morning hours due to COVID-19 concerns that are driving down ridership, Thursday, March 19, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Kikilias: April Is a Critical Month for the Spread of the Coronavirus in Greece

ATHENS – “April is a critical month for the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Greece,” Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said on Saturday in an interview with “Parapolitika” newspaper, noting that as long as we comply with social and individual measures to protect ourselves against the pandemic, we can be optimistic about our future.

The minister also referred to the actions that preceded the recent import of five tons of chloroquine in Greece by India, saying that “our reflexes were immediate. In cooperation with companies that had expressed the intention to produce chloroquine and with the coordinated actions of the National Organisation for Medicines and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we managed to transfer 5 tons of chloroquine from India.”

Rebuffing the main opposition’s criticism, he said that about 5,000 hirings of doctors and nurses have been approved while 2,000 of them have already started working including 112 nurses and 14 doctors in “Sotiria” hospital.

Fake Coronavirus News: False Claims and Phony Remedies

NEW YORK – A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the facts:

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CLAIM: Eating alkaline foods will stave off the novel coronavirus, which has a pH level of 5.5 to 8.5.

THE FACTS: A false post circulating on social media claims that COVID-19 has a pH level between 5.5 to 8.5, and in order to fend off the virus people must consume alkaline foods. Both points are false. First, a virus does not have a pH level. Second, the body’s pH levels cannot be changed through diet. “A virus itself does not have a pH,” said Sarah Stanley, associate professor of infectious diseases and vaccinology at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. Stanley explained in an email that “pH is something that applies to a water based solution, which a virus is not.” In addition, she said, it’s not possible for diet to change the pH of blood, cells or tissues. The body regulates pH levels; it’s not something a person would want to change. “Eating a healthy and balanced diet supports immunity and can be helpful for fighting off infections. However, there is no evidence that consuming alkaline foods specifically is beneficial,” she said. The post cites the “Journal of Virology & Antiviral Research” and states: “This is to inform us all that the pH for corona virus varies from 5.5 to 8.5. All we need to do, to beat coronavirus, we need to take more of an alkaline foods that are above the pH level of the virus.” It lists a number of foods to fight off the novel coronavirus, including lemons, limes and pineapples, but the pH levels provided for them are incorrect. For example, it gives a pH level of 9 for lemons and a level of 9.2 for limes, when both have a pH of about 2, a food science specialist noted. “These pH values for these foods are completely wrong,” Donald Schaffner, extension specialist in food science at Rutgers University, told the AP. “The human body is designed to be really good at maintaining its pH.” Schaffner said people should eat those foods if they want, but “the best way to keep from getting a virus is to stay away from people.”

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CLAIM: Drinking alcoholic beverages can prevent coronavirus.

THE FACTS: A Facebook post with the caption “Time to disinfect our insides” featured a fabricated memo made to appear like a recommendation from a Kansas City hospital that drinking alcoholic beverages would reduce the risk of coronavirus. The manufactured memo attributed to St. Luke’s Hospital said, “After extensive research, our findings show that consuming alcoholic beverages may help reduce the risk of infection by the novel coronavirus; COVID-19. Vodka is the most recommended for drinking, cleaning, and sanitizing.” Saint Luke’s Health System, a hospital network that includes the hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, issued a statement in response on March 11, stating: “False reports are circulating that say drinking alcohol can reduce the risk of COVID-19. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Saint Luke’s follows CDC guidance.” The hospital suggests practicing good hand hygiene, washing hands for at least 20 seconds, and when soap and water is not available, using a hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol. Dr. Robert Legare Atmar, an infectious disease specialist at Baylor College, said consuming alcohol will not protect against infectious diseases like COVID-19. “Alcohol consumption has long been touted as a means to prevent infection with a variety of pathogens, but there is no evidence that such alcohol consumption protects against any infection,” Dr. Atmar told the AP in an email. “In fact, the evidence is often the opposite –- that alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk of infection.”

FILE – This Aug. 2, 2010 file photo shows a martini glass and shaker at a bar in San Francisco. On Friday, April 3, 2020, (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

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CLAIM: Put a small pea-sized amount of antibiotic ointment like mupirocin inside your nostrils. The ointment will kill any infectious germs when you breathe and should kill the coronavirus before it gets to your lungs.

THE FACTS: The antibiotic ointment will not protect you from the coronavirus. Antibacterial medications like mupirocin will only help fight off bacteria like staphylococcus and streptococcus, not COVID-19, which is a virus, said Dr. Daniela Kroshinsky, director of inpatient dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital. “The most important steps to prevent infection with COVID are physical distancing, good hand washing, and avoiding touching your face,” she said in an email. The false posts circulating online, which included a photo of mupirocin, recommended that people protect themselves and others by putting a “small pea-sized amount on the tip of a Q-tip” and swabbing the inside of their nostrils. Dr. Carrie Kovarik, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, said mupirocin can be used in the nose of patients who have bacterial infections like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA. “It’s an antibiotic not an antiviral and does not have activity against viruses,” she said. “People are just sort of grasping at straws.”

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CLAIM: Israel has had no deaths from coronavirus because people in the country have been cured by drinking hot water with lemon and bicarbonate of soda at night.

THE FACTS: The drink is not a cure for the coronavirus, and there have been deaths attributed to the coronavirus in Israel. As of Friday, Israel had confirmed more than 7,030 cases of the virus and 39 deaths. Posts predominantly shared on Facebook and WhatsApps falsely state that “the action of the lemon with hotter baking soda immediately kills the virus, completely eliminates it from the body.” Dr. Shira Doron, an infectious disease physician and hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center, told The Associated Press that nothing should be presumed to prevent or treat the virus unless it has gone through clinical trials. “There are no herbal remedies I would recommend for COVID-19,” she said. Medical experts have said that developing a vaccine for the virus could take at least 12 to 18 months. Dr. Doron recommends that people keep a well-rounded healthy diet, get sleep and minimize their stress, because those factors affect the immune system.

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CLAIM: The proper way to wear a medical mask is with the colored side on the outside if you are sick and don’t want to spread your germs and with the white side out if you’re not sick and want to stop germs from getting in.

THE FACTS: Medical officials say the colored side of the mask should be worn on the outside, away from your face, regardless of whether you are sick or healthy. Social media users have been sharing the false claim since January, but it recently gained prominence in the U.S. as more Americans consider wearing face masks in an effort to protect themselves from the new coronavirus. Dr. Seto Wing Hong, co-director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control, said in January that the correct way to wear a mask is with the blue side on the outside and the white side on your face. “You see it has the blue color on the outside because it is waterproof and then you have white on the inside because it is absorbent,” he said. “So, if I cough, it absorbs it.” Surgical face masks like the one shown with the false claim online typically have a blue side and a white side. One post on Twitter with the false claim had 80,000 likes. The post shows a document from someone who says they went to a doctor’s office and a nurse taught them how to properly wear a medical mask depending if they are sick or healthy. The document includes two photos of women wearing masks. “Colored side out if you are sick and do not want to spread your germs around. White side out (this is the filter part) for when you’re not sick and you want to stop germs from getting in,” the document reads. Experts stressed it is best to follow the instructions from the mask supplier.

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CLAIM: Just three days after Attorney General William Barr announced the Department of Justice will prosecute hoarders of personal protective equipment needed to combat the coronavirus, a California union suddenly located a stockpile of 39 million N95 masks.

THE FACTS: That’s not what happened. The United Health Care Workers West chapter of the Service Employees International Union simply connected state governments and hospitals to a vendor. The union did not have a stockpile of masks. Social media posts that the California union was hoarding crucial medical supplies followed President Donald Trump’s March 23 signing of an order making it a crime to stockpile personal protective equipment needed by medical workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Barr also announced his agency was investigating people who were hoarding or price gouging medical supplies. Three days after the signing, the Services Employees International Union chapter announced it was connecting several counties in California, the state, and hospital networks with a vendor that could provide 39 million N95 masks. Fringe news sites and social media posts falsely suggested the union had been hoarding the masks all along, only handing them over once the federal government had threatened to prosecute such activity. “Hmm … SEIU Union in California Suddenly Finds Mysterious Stash of 39 Million Face Masks — 3 Days After AG Bill Barr Announces They’re Going After Hoarders,” one headline stated. The union didn’t stock or sell the masks, Steve Trossman, a spokesman for the union chapter, confirmed to The Associated Press. It searched for leads and potential suppliers for the masks. “We had nothing to do with the transactions,” Trossman said. “We found suppliers, we had hospitals and health systems that needed supplies and connected them.” Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for the California governor’s emergency services office, also confirmed to the AP that the state bought them from a vendor.

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CLAIM: If you are in Las Vegas and you get a knock on your door from Nevada Power, 2020 Census or COVID-19 testers do NOT open your door! They are robbing people at gunpoint.

THE FACTS: No verified reports of such criminal activity have occurred in the city, the Las Vegas Police Department confirmed to The Associated Press. Facebook posts are spreading an old hoax that homeowners shouldn’t answer the door if they get a knock from people claiming to represent certain government agencies. The U.S. Census Bureau has seen false reports of criminals posing as census workers hoping to rob anyone who answers the door since last year. A new twist on the unsubstantiated report circulating in recent days on Facebook warned Las Vegas residents not to answer the door for someone offering to swab for the coronavirus, or claiming to be from the U.S. Census Bureau or Nevada’s public utility. “There are no verified reports of this going on in the Las Vegas valley,” a spokesman for the Las Vegas Police Department said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press. The Census Bureau, which has repeatedly knocked down online hoaxes that people are impersonating census workers and robbing homes, has delayed dispatching census workers to collect answers to the once-every-decade survey until April 29 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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By BEATRICE DUPUY, ARIJETA LAJKA and AMANDA SEITZ Associated Press

Office of Supplication upon the Threat of Plague Composed by Metropolitan Cyril of Rhodes

NEW YORK – An original translation by the Very Reverend Archimandrite Spencer T. Kezios:

PRIEST: Blessed is our God, now and always and unto ages of ages.

CHOIR: Amen.

PSALM 142

O Lord, hear my prayer; in your truthfulness give heed to my plea, and in your righteousness answer me; and enter not into judgment with your servant, since of all the living, none is just in your sight. The enemy has hunted me down; he has crushed my life into the ground; he has forced me to live in darkness like those long dead. My spirit faints with grief, and within me, my heart is in despair.

I recalled the days of old, I meditated on all your deeds, I pondered the works of your hands. I stretched out my hand to you; like a parched land, my soul thirsts for you.

Make haste to answer me, O Lord: my spirit has failed me. Turn not your face away from me, lest I be like those in the pit; grant that I may hear your steadfast love at dawn, for I have put my hope in you.

O Lord, teach me the way I should go, for I have lifted up my soul to you. O Lord, deliver me from my enemies: it is to you I have fled. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your good Spirit lead me on a straight path. For the sake of your compassion, O Lord, you will keep me alive; in your righteousness you will deliver me from affliction. And in your loving kindness you will destroy my enemies, and bring to naught all those who oppress me, for I am your servant.

Fourth tone

God is Lord and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.

Verse: Give thanks to the Lord and call upon His Holy name.

God is Lord and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.

Verse: All the Gentiles surrounded me, but I fought them back in the Lord’s name.

God is Lord and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.

Verse: This came about through the Lord and it is wonderful in our eyes.

God is Lord and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.

Fourth tone

Physician of those grievously ill and help to those who hope, O Lord who desire the salvation of all mortals, look down upon us from Your throne of glory. Hear our cry from the bottom of our depths. Deliver us from the threat of this plague as compassionate God.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and unto ages of ages. Amen

Never, Theotokos, will we cease to proclaim your mighty deeds; for had you not been our champion, interceding for us, who could have delivered us from so many hazards; Who could have preserved us free this day? We will not forsake you, our Lady, for you safeguard your servants from all manner of danger.

PSALM 50

Have mercy on me, O God, in the greatness of your love; in the abundance of your tender mercies, wipe out my offense. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin, for I am well aware of my iniquity, and my sin is before me always. It is you alone I have offended; I have done what is evil in your sight; wherefore you are justified in your charges and triumphant in your judgment. Behold, I was born in iniquities, and in sins my mother conceived me. But you are the lover of truth: you have shown me the hidden depths of your wisdom. Sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be pure; cleanse me, and I shall be whiter than snow; let me hear sounds of joy and feasting: the bones that were afflicted shall rejoice. Turn your face away from my offenses, and wipe off all my sins.

A spotless heart create in me, O God! Renew a steadfast spirit in my breast. Cast me not away from your face; take not your blessed Spirit out of me; restore to me the joy of your salvation, and let your guiding Spirit dwell in me. I will teach your ways to the sinner, and the wicked shall return to you. Deliver me from blood-guilt, O God, my saving God, and my tongue will joyfully sing your justice. O Lord, you will open my lips and my mouth shall declare your praise. Had you desired sacrifice, I would have offered it, but you will not be satisfied with whole-burnt offerings. Sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit, a crushed and humble heart God will not spurn. In your kindness, O Lord, be bountiful to Sion; may the walls of Jerusalem be restored. Then will you delight in proper oblation, in sacrifice and whole-burnt offerings. Then shall they offer calves upon your altar.

First Ode. Eighth tone.

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

O Holy Trinity, the One God, show Your compassion upon us lowly ones, and halt this death-bearing plague, this most painful scourge descending upon us.

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

O Compassionate One, restrain the advance of this present plague from all our hearts. Hasten and save Your people who only hope in You, O Lord.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Through the prayers of the Apostles and Prophets, the Martyrs, the Venerable and the God-bearing hierarchs have mercy upon Your people and deliver them from the plague and danger.

Now and always and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Lady, Virgin Mother of God, sweet refuge of the desperate, in the plight of this present plague, grant our plea.

Third Ode.

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

Hear the heart’s sighing from within those who beseech You and quickly obliterate the danger of the illness of plague from Your children.

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

O Most Holy Trinity, O Pure Lord, we who kneel in faith fervently beseech You: come, have mercy upon Your creatures, O Compassionate One, and deliver us from plague, defilement and sorrow.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Look upon the lowliness of those who entreat You, O Master. We beseech You: forgive our many sins and deliver humanity from this present need, O most compassionate Master.

Theotokion

Now and always and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O praiseworthy Maiden, birth-giver of God, who care for the sickness and ills of mortals, keep the faithful who entreat you invulnerable from the plague by your providence.

O Holy Trinity, Lord of mercy, safeguard from plague and sorrow those who in Your benevolence You desire to save.

Have regard, in your kindness, praiseworthy Theotokos, for the grievous affliction of my ailing body, and heal the pain of my suffering spirit.

Petition

PRIEST: Have mercy on us, O God, in Your great goodness; we pray You, hear us and have mercy.

CHOIR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

PRIEST: Again, we pray for our Archbishop (N.), and all our brotherhood in Christ.

CHOIR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

PRIEST: Again, we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, safekeeping, protection, pardon and remission of sins of the servants of God, (names) all suffering from the illness of plague, for their health and healing and for the forgiveness of their sins and offenses both voluntary and involuntary.

CHOIR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

PRIEST: For You are a merciful and loving God, and to You we give glory: Father Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and unto ages of ages.

CHOIR: Amen.

Kathisma. Second tone.

O Holy Trinity, One God and Lord, deliver Your people from this invasive man-ravaging affliction. Grant them all health; for the earth is full of Your mercy and You do we worship, O Almighty.

Fourth Ode

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

O Lord, You are an infinite sea of mercy and compassion. Do not allow humanity to be destroyed by the plague.

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

Tearfully we call upon You, O Savior, have pity upon Your people and transform the gloom of illness to complete joy.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Be lovingly compassionate; hear our voice, O Master, and being merciful deliver us from the distress that has befallen us.

Theotokion

Now and always and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Grant all who turn to your shelter in this hour of need, O Ever-virgin Maiden Theotokos, healing and strength.

Fifth Ode

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

We have no other God and Lord. We beseech You, as most merciful, quickly let vanish this illness cast upon us.

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

Almighty, protect us under the shelter of Your wings and by the multitude of Your mercies maintain us in health.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

You are just and Your judgment is just. But come Loving One, and keep us from this murderous illness.

Theotokion

Now and always and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Look kindly upon us, O Pure Virgin, and keep our lives beyond the advancing threat of this plague.

Sixth Ode

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

O loving One, who by Your ineffable love bore our continuous unsupportable illness, rid us of this difficult despair as Good, overlooking our offenses.

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

O Compassionate One who created innumerable marvels and wonders, quickly calm the oncoming tempest of dire illness and anchor our health in a peaceful harbor.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

O loving One, confronted with the threat of death from this disastrous plague we turn to You with upraised hands in supplication and tearfully, cry out, “Now in ruin, help us, O Compassionate Overseer.”

Theotokion

Now and always and unto ages of ages. Amen.

To your people piously glorifying Him, inexplicably born of you, by your motherly affection and love, O birth-giver of God, bring propitiation that those for whom He became incarnate may be delivered from the plague.

Deliver from need and sorrow, from the plague, O holy Trinity, Lord of mercy, the people You lovingly care to save.

Undefiled, who by word bore the Word ineffably in those latter days, will you implore Him as the one with the boldness of a mother.

PRIEST: Have mercy on us, O God, in Your great goodness; we pray You, hear us and have mercy.

CHOIR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

PRIEST: Again, we pray for our Archbishop (N.) and all our brotherhood in Christ.

CHOIR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

PRIEST: Again, we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, safekeeping, protection, pardon and remission of sins of the servants of God, (names) all suffering from the illness of plague, for their health and healing and for the forgiveness of their sins and offenses both voluntary and involuntary.

CHOIR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

PRIEST: For You are a merciful and loving God, and to You we give glory: Father Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and unto ages of ages.

CHOIR: Amen.

Kathisma. Second tone.

Greatly cast Your love upon the abyss, Almighty Lord. Have mercy, salvation, compassion; and free Your people from this plague who implore You in hymn.

Prokeimenon. Fourth tone.

O God, save me through Your name, and vindicate me by Your might.

Verse: O God, listen to my prayer, hear the words of my mouth.

The Gospel Reading

PRIEST: That we may be found worthy to hear the Holy Gospel, let us entreat the Lord our God.

CHOIR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

PRIEST: Wisdom! Arise. Let us hear the Holy Gospel.

PRIEST: Peace be to all.

CHOIR: And to your spirit.

PRIEST: The Reading is taken from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew. (8:1-4)

PRIEST: Let us be attentive.

CHOIR: Glory to You, O Lord, glory to You.

PRIEST: At that time, when he had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And behold, a leper came and worshipped him saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out his hand and touched him saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

CHOIR: Glory to You, O Lord, glory to You.

In the Second Tone

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Father Word and Spirit, Trinity in oneness, wash away the multitude of my offenses.

Now and always and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Through the prayers, O Merciful, of the Theotokos, wash away the multitude of my offenses.

Verse: Have mercy on me, O God, in the greatness of Your love; in the abundance of Your tender mercies, wipe out my offense.

Prosomion. Sixth tone.

Loving Master, who desire all to be saved, who do not desire death and grants the fullness of life; we the suffering may pester but You and You alone do we worship. In You do we hope; without You we have no protection wherefore to You do we turn and in repentance cry out: have mercy on us in our sins, O loving One, and deliver us from this storm.

PRIEST: God, save Your people and bless Your inheritance; regard Your world with mercy and compassion; raise up the strength of Orthodox Christians, and send down upon us Your bountiful mercies: through the intercessions of our most pure Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary; the power of the precious and lifegiving Cross; the protection of the honorable bodiless powers of heaven; the prayers of the venerable and glorious Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist; of the holy, glorious and praiseworthy Apostles; the holy, glorious and victorious Martyrs; our holy God-bearing Fathers; of our Fathers among the Saints the great Hierarchs and Ecumenical Teachers, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom; of our Fathers among the Saints Athanasius and Cyril and John the Almsgiver, Patriarchs of Alexandria; of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in Lycia, and St. Spyridon of Trimythus, the wonderworkers; of the holy, glorious Great Martyrs George the Victorious, Demetrios the Exhaler of Myrrh, Theodore of Tyre and Theodore the General; of the holy, glorious Priest-Martyrs Haralambos and Eleftherios and of all the righteous Martyrs; of Saint (N. to whom the Church is dedicated); of the holy and righteous ancestors of the Lord Joachim and Anna; of Saint (N.) whose memory we keep this day, and of all Your Saints, we beseech You the only all-merciful Lord, hear us sinners as we pray to You, and have mercy on us.

CHOIR: Lord, have mercy. (twelvefold)

PRIEST: Through the mercy, compassion and love of Your only-begotten Son, with whom You are blessed, together with Your all-holy, good and lifegiving Spirit, now and always and unto ages of ages.

CHOIR: Amen.

Seventh Ode

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

It is in You we hope, the Lord, giver of life. In Your mercy save us from this plague as we cry out, “Blessed are You, O God of our Fathers.”

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

He has wrought greatness and wonders for mankind. O Loving One, rid us of the scourge of this present plague as we chant, “Blessed are You, O God of our Fathers.”

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

In great travail we, threatened by severe plague, cry out: have mercy and save Your people as we exclaim, “Blessed are You, O God of our Fathers.”

Theotokion

Now and always and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Pure Virgin who ineffably bore the Redeemer of mankind, hold back the plague violently advancing upon the world, and by the grace of your motherhood grant us serenity.

Eighth Ode

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

We the hopeful beseech You, the only Compassionate One, and we entreat You, deliver us, O Savior, from the harm of the plague.

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

Arise, save humanity from this present need, for You are the only hope of those severely suffering in sickness, O Savior.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Forgive our sins, O Giver of Life; take pity on our wretchedness and grant Your people assurance of health.

Theotokion

Now and always and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Mother of God, grant by the grace of your divine intercessions a calm anchorage in the tempest of this illness which greatly fallen upon us.

Ninth Ode

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

Hearken unto the entreaty of those who in sorrow cry out to You, O Savior, and take us from the danger of plague.

Holy Trinity, God, have mercy on Your servants.

In Your love reveal the depths and magnify Your mercy, O Savior, ridding us from the sickness of the plague.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

By the intercessions of Haralambos the Priest-martyr, free us from the sickness of plague that we may glorify Your holy might.

Now and always and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Most Holy Mary, full of grace, the ready help of mankind, grant the ailing complete recovery.

It is truly fitting to call you blessed, O Theotokos, for you are ever-blessed, utterly pure, and the Mother of our God. Held in higher honor than Cherubim, far surpassing in glory even the Seraphim; remaining inviolate you gave birth to the Logos. Truly, O Theotokos, we magnify you.

Magnificat

Compassionate Master, physician of our souls and bodies. We fervently beseech You: remit, and forgive our sins, O Savior, and spare Your servants from the wrath of the plague.

Fear of this present illness has gripped the hearts of all mortals. O Compassionate Lord, come, we implore You, and save us by Your great mercy.

Even in the multitude of our sins we are all sheep in Your flock, O savior. Do not disregard our plea but quell the upheaval of this illness.

Truly, O Good One, your mercy has been with us from ages to ages. In that plentitude deliver the multitude from the plague suddenly upon us, O Loving One.

Do not forsake us, wretched as we are now facing the threat of painful illness, bewildered and in difficult distress, but swiftly free us from our sorrow.

All of you Angels in serried ranks, the Lord’s Forerunner and Apostles, you chosen twelve, all you Saints most honored, join the Theotokos, in making intercession, that we may be saved.

The Trisagion

CHOIR: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (3)

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and unto ages of ages. Amen.

All-holy Trinity have mercy on us. Lord, be gracious to us in our sins. Master, forgive our transgressions. Holy One, consider our weaknesses and heal them, for Your name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

PRIEST: For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory: Father Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and unto ages of ages.

CHOIR: Amen.

Troparia in the Sixth Tone

Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us; at a loss how to defend ourselves, we sinners offer You, as Master, this entreaty: Have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Lord, have mercy on us, for it is in You we have put our trust; do not be sorely provoked with us, nor remember all our iniquities. But even Now regard us out of compassion, and ransom us from our enemies. For You are our God, and we Your people, all of us shaped by Your hands, and it is Your name we invoke.

Now and always and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Open to us, blessed Theotokos, the gateway to your tender heart. Setting our hope on you, may we not be disappointed; through you may we be spared all adversities; for you are the salvation of a Christian people.

PRIEST: Have mercy on us, O God, in Your great goodness; we pray You, hear us and have mercy.

CHOIR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

PRIEST: Again we pray for our Archbishop (N.) and all our brotherhood in Christ.

CHOIR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

PRIEST: Again we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, safekeeping, protection, pardon and remission of sins of the servants of God, all the devout and Orthodox Christians who dwell or sojourn in this city, the parishioners, parish council, contributors and benefactors of this holy church.

CHOIR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

PRIEST: Again we pray for the servants of God (here the priest commemorates those for whom the Paraclesis is sung).

CHOIR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

PRIEST: Further we pray that this holy church and this city, and every city and land, will be kept safe against violence and pestilence, famine and earthquake, flood and fire, against the sword and enemy invasion, civil strife and sudden death; that our good and loving God will be merciful and gracious and open to our entreaties, to turn back all violence and evil aroused against us, deliver us from His impending righteous chastisement and be merciful to us.

CHOIR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

PRIEST: Again we pray that the Lord God will hear the sound of the prayer of us sinners and will have mercy on us.

CHOIR: Lord, have mercy. (3)

PRIEST: Hear us, O God, our Redeemer, the hope of all, at the ends of the earth or far away at sea, and show mercy, show mercy, O Master, toward our sins and have mercy on us.

For You are a merciful and loving God, and to You we give glory: Father Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and unto ages of ages.

CHOIR: Amen.

PRIEST: Glory to You, O God, our hope, glory to You.

May Christ our true God, through the intercessions of His most pure and holy Mother; of the holy, glorious and praiseworthy Apostles; of the praiseworthy and victorious Martyrs; of the Priest-martyr Haralambos the Wonderworker; of Saint (of the parish); of the holy and righteous ancestors of the Lord Joachim and Anna; of Saint (N.) whose memory we keep this day, and of all Your Saints, and have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and loves mankind.

CHOIR: Amen.

As merciful, remove fear of the threatening plague from us the afflicted, according to Your great mercy; come and cause to be acceptable the prayerful voice of Your servants, O Loving One. Accept by the richness of Your compassion to aid Your people who trust in You in faith.

All of my hopes in you I repose; Mother of God, beneath your shelter safeguard me.

Lady, hear with favor the prayers of your servants, and liberate us all from wont and affliction.

PRAYER FOR THIS PRESENT ILLNESS

Forbearing and merciful, loving and compassionate, Almighty Lord, who brought our nature into being and having fallen once again raised us. Who sent Your only-begotten Son, Savior and Redeemer, and Benefactor healing the passions of body and soul. Do You, forbearing Master, look down upon us and hearken to our entreaty in our day of sorrow. Safeguard us from the coming upon all the earth of the plague-bearing threat. Lord, take away affliction and fear. The darkness of death surrounds us. Remember Your innumerable acts of compassion; reveal to us the depths of Your mercy; do not let us be destroyed because of the multitude of our sins. Hearken unto the voice of our prayer from deep within us as it cries out to You. Do not turn Your face away from us nor turn away from your creatures in wrath. Be our aid and deliverer. O our God and Savior, do not reject or abandon us but come and redeem us. Draw near in Your customary kindness. Crush the power of the illness-bearing plague; disgrace its violence, pain and dejection, transforming it to joy. Preside over calm for humanity. By Your power greatly aid those serving in the field of health.

Raise us from our bed of pain and from our bedding of affliction. Grant health to those who have contracted the illness. Give rest in the tentings of the Saints to those who have surrendered their lives to the virus. Grant consolation to their families. For You are the physician of our souls and bodies and to You we offer glory, Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Source: goarch.org

Greek Education Min: University Entrance Exams (Panellinies) may Be Held in July

ATHENS – “Nationwide university entrance examinations may be held even in July,” Education Minister Niki Kerameus said on Saturday in an interview with Parapolitika newspaper.

The main target of the education ministry is for nationwide university entrance examinations to be held as close as possible to the originally scheduled dates in June or July, she stated.

Regarding universities, she said that the semester will not be lost and expressed her confidence in the Greek universities and their capabilities.

Coronavirus Forcing “Greek Freak” to Work out with What’s on Hand

MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo is spending much of his time during the coronavirus-imposed hiatus working out, helping care for his newborn son and playing occasional video games.

What the reigning MVP isn’t doing very often is shooting baskets since the NBA has closed team practice facilities.

“I don’t have access to a hoop,” the Milwaukee Bucks forward said Friday during a conference call. “A lot of NBA players might have a court in their house or something, I don’t know, but now I just get my home workouts, (go) on the bike, treadmill, lift weights, stay sharp that way.”

The hiatus is forcing thousands of athletes, pro and otherwise, to work out from home as they try to keep in shape. Equipment varies from player to player, too.

“It all comes down to what they have and what they’re capable of doing,” Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “We can do a lot of body weight stuff. That’s how they stay ready. That’s the most I can offer as a coach for them to stay ready. I can’t say ‘Hey, can you find access to a gym?’ That would be bad management on my part.”

For instance, Pierce said Hawks guard Kevin Huerter has access to a gym in New York and guard Jeff Teague owns a gym in Indiana.

Other players face different situations.

“I’ve seen LeBron’s Instagram,” Pierce said of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James. “LeBron has a house with a full weight room and he has an outdoor court. He’s got a different reality right now that gives him a little more access to continue the normal. (Hawks rookie) Cam Reddish lives in an apartment and it’s probably a two-bedroom apartment. He can’t go in the apartment weight room because it’s a public facility. So he’s limited in all things.”

Bucks coach Mike Budenhlolzer said he wanted his players to focus on keeping their bodies in shape and conceded that logistics surrounding the pandemic would make it tougher for them to do any basketball-specific activities.

The Bucks are still finding ways to stay sharp.

Bucks players said team officials have made sure they all have the necessary exercise equipment. Antetokounmpo noted the Bucks also had a catering company bring food to make sure they maintain a proper diet. Center Brook Lopez said workout plans have been sent to them via a phone app.

“They’ve done a really good job of getting everything taken care of and still having tailored workouts for each individual player despite the situation,” Lopez said.

But it’s difficult for them to work on their shooting without access to a court.

“Since the practice facility is closed down, I don’t have any access to a basketball goal unless I go to one of my neighbors’ houses and shoot outside,” Bucks forward Khris Middleton said. “There’s really no basketball for me. It’s basically like Giannis said. Treadmill, jump rope, some weights and that’s it. I have a couple of basketballs I can dribble in my house or outside, but no actual goal to shoot on.”

Pierce noted that Huerter recently asked him when players would be able to get back into the Hawks’ practice facility.

“I told him, ‘I’ll tell you when we won’t,’ ” Pierce said. “We won’t in April.”