In a private letter to an Argentine judge, Pope Francis is reported to have warned that government decisions to prioritize the economy over people could result in a “viral genocide.”

“The governments that face the crisis in this way show the priority of their decisions: the people first. … It would be sad if they opted for the opposite, which would lead to the death of very many people, something like a viral genocide,” Pope Francis wrote in a letter sent March 28, according to America Magazine, which reported it had obtained the letter.

The pope sent a handwritten note in response to a letter from Judge Roberto Andres Gallardo, the president of the Pan-American Committee of Judges for Social Rights, Argentine news agency Telam reported March 29.

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