Thirteen nuns at a Roman Catholic convent in Livonia, Michigan have died of COVID-19 complications since the outbreak began, 22% of residents, said a spokeswoman for the Felician Sisters of North America. Seventeen nuns recovered, Suzanne Wilcox English said Tuesday.
The nuns — who ranged in age from 69 to 99 — included teachers, an author and a secretary in the Vatican Secretariat of State, according to the Global Sisters Report, an outlet of the National Catholic Reporter publishing company. The Global Sisters Report said the 13 deaths "may be the worst loss of life to a community of women religious since the 1918 influenza pandemic."
"I first heard two aides had contracted the virus," Sister Andrew told Global Sisters Report. "We don't know who they are, and we don't want to know. Then it hit sisters on the second floor, and it went through like wildfire."
The outlet reported that at least 19 other nuns have died of COVID-related complications in the U.S. as of July 16.
Michigan reported 573 new coronavirus cases and nine additional deaths Tuesday. Michigan ranks seventh for most COVID-related deaths among the states, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
"Hand washing, mask wearing, social distancing and regular disinfecting will remain staples of our routines," Sister Mary Christopher Moore, provincial minister in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, said on July 8.
First published on July 22, 2020 / 6:41 AM
© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.