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April 04, 2020

New Jersey, Philadelphia mourn coronavirus victims and lead prayers as communities battle disease

Flags fly at half-staff in New Jersey and Philadelphia begins streaming "prayer pauses" via Facebook

Philadelphia has announced that it will begin streaming online "prayer pauses" for the community to participate in during the public health crisis caused by coronavirus.

Three times a week the Mayor's Office will stream "Prayer Pauses for Philadelphia," for residents to tune in and listen to prayers led by different members of the city's different faith communities. The streams will be shown each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 3 p.m. on Facebook Live.

A release from officials today said that the live streams are meant to "guide participants through a short prayer for health, peace, and wisdom during this destabilizing season." Reverend Naomi Washington-Leapheart, the City's Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs, will also lead prayers.

In nearby New Jersey, the state is mourning lives lost due to the virus by lowering all flags to half-staff. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy instructed on Friday that all flags will stay this way indefinitely to commemorate those who have died due to coronavirus complications. 

As of Saturday, there are more than 10,000 cases of coronavirus in Pennsylvania, 3,000 of which are in Philadelphia. There are around 25 recorded deaths in the city and 100 deaths in the state overall. 

In New Jersey, there are more than 650 recorded deaths resulting from coronavirus complications, and more than 34,000 positive cases of the illness. 

The global pandemic has drastically changed life in Philadelphia and New Jersey, putting unexpected pressures on residents. Calls to mental health and crisis hotlines are surging, as residents are forced indoors with new issues created by the crisis.

NAMI Philadelphia (The National Alliance on Mental Illness) has a list of resources for local and national crisis hotlines and their contact information listed here.

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