VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis has appointed a "lockdown debunker" as his personal physician following the January death of 78-year-old Dr. Fabrizio Soccorsi, who was being treated for "oncological pathology."
Distinguished gerontologist Dr. Roberto Bernabei, whose appointment the Vatican announced Thursday, has expressed views contrary to the mainstream narrative of COVID-19 alarmism — promoted by governments, big media, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the pontiff himself.
In a passionate Nov. 6 discussion on Italian television channel La7, Bernabei called COVID-19 a "normal disease" and emphasized that Wuhan virus–related deaths are "almost always" among the elderly suffering from at least three pre-existing conditions.
"Practically only and exclusively old people die [from COVID-19]," Bernabei observed. "The average age" of the victims of the Wuhan virus "exceeds 80 years, and they have at least three pathologies."
The professor of internal medicine and geriatrics and director of the School of Specialization in Geriatrics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome thundered against the policy of locking down the elderly, insisting that "staying at home is harmful, as is the virus."
"Staying at home atrophies your muscles, the lean mass. It's called 'dinginess syndrome,' a syndrome of not moving; it's lethal because being old means being without muscles, if you take them away from the elderly," argued Bernabei.
"We must continue to keep the elderly outside, out of their homes, and not in the hospital; the entire challenge is inside the home," he noted.
The pontiff's new physician, a specialist in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease, stressed that "only 0.2% of those under 40 die; there are only 14 cases that we haven't been able to explain. All the others had neoplasm, morbid obesity, grave psychiatric conditions, so, there too [among the young], comorbidity is an important factor."
"If this disease targets old people it is a very serious thing, of course. But it is, how to say, a normal disease. ... Infectious diseases, unfortunately, attack the most vulnerable," Bernabei remarked.
The former president of the Italian Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics slammed the media for its relentless fearmongering.
"All the newspapers and all the TV news [reports] make me laugh," Bernabei said, scornfully imitating the media narrative: "Yesterday, 220 people died, today 227 — the deaths have gone up."
The gerontologist noted that COVID sensationalism "doesn't work," and the media use overblown and dramatic headlines only to get attention.
"No one cares about good news, let alone the rantings of the television hosts. But here we are screwing up the country," Bernabei excoriated.
"The emergency rooms are full because of the false alarm. Maybe the doctors should follow their gut to get over the obstacle," the doctor added.
Bernabei's views are in sharp contrast to the pontiff's COVID alarmism and pro-lockdown zealotry.
In November, Church Militant reported Francis' launch of a vituperative assault on "personal freedom," condemning "some exceptions" of "some governments" who did not impose draconian lockdowns and who "shrugged off the painful evidence of mounting deaths, with inevitable, grievous consequences."
Eminent Italian epidemiologist Dr. Paolo Gulisano told Church Militant that "from a medical point of view, it isn't clear why the bishop of Rome should endorse choices that led to the lockdown when, instead, there is scientific evidence that says that the virus can be faced and can be treated without the suffocating constraints."
"The lockdown is not the only solution; on the contrary, it appears to be the worst solution," Gulisano emphasized, asking if the pontiff had taken into account the disabled and elderly in retirement homes who are increasingly victims of "isolation" and "therapeutic abandonment" as a result of lockdowns.
Bernabei is currently director of the Department of Aging, Neurological, Orthopedic, and Head and Neck Sciences at the Agostino Gemelli IRCCS University Hospital, Rome.
The Vatican has not confirmed if Dr. Bernabei will be accompanying Pope Francis during the pontifical visit to Iraq in March.
(Reporting with input from Aaron Lowry in Milan.)