Flu outbreak: Boston suspends using the cup

New York’s governor has just declared that the flu this season has reached epidemic proportions

This flu season is nothing to sneeze at.

Gov. Cuomo declared a statewide public health emergency Saturday to combat what’s already been a severe flu season.

The declaration will make it easier for vaccinations to get to more children.

“We are experiencing the worst flu season since at least 2009, and influenza activity in New York State is widespread, with cases reported in all 57 counties and all five boroughs of New York City,” Cuomo said.

The story is the same in Boston, where the church has taken action: 

Because of the flu outbreak and the declaration of a health emergency in Boston, the Archdiocese of Boston Thursday afternoon instructed priests that they can suspend the distribution of wine during Communion from a common chalice out of “pastoral caution and prudence.”

Auxiliary Bishop Robert P. Deeley also notified priests that may encourage worshipers to exchange the “Sign of Peace” by bowing to nearby parishioners instead of shaking hands.

Archdiocese spokesman Terrence Donilon said in an e-mail that Communion hosts will continue to be given because “it is central to the celebration’ of Mass. But priests will “use extra caution if people receive (the host) on the tongue and are to use extra caution in washing their hands before and after Mass.”

There’s been no official word yet in my diocese, or in any neighboring dioceses.  I expect more will follow Boston’s lead.

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