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Mask shows respect

By now we know the facts: COVID-19 is being diagnosed in Hispanic patients at a disproportionately higher rate. Hispanics often lack health insurance and experience difficulties getting proper care. Many of us are at greater risk for COVID-19 because we are essential workers or are not in a career allowing us to work safely from home. We often live with multiple family members and care for them, too.

So why is it that I am constantly witnessing Latino men overwhelmingly seem to care the least about properly wearing a mask in public?

To the tradesman at the sandwich shop who had his nose uncovered while standing next to fellow customers, to the chiropractic client who only put a mask on once he walked into the waiting room, to my home maintenance team ready to enter my home without any facial coverings, to my friends in the construction industry who assure me they’ll be fine without a mask – to all of you, I ask, “Why?”

We know from leading medical experts that a COVID-19 carrier without a proper mask can put a healthy person wearing a mask at a moderate risk of catching this deadly virus.

We’ve got to take corrective action. This is an anecdotal observation. There is no precise data to show which gender, age group, or race may fit into an “anti-masker” category more than others. However, it is too concerning to ignore a weekend’s worth of errands and conversations, during which I found only Latino adult males either refusing to wear a mask or wearing one incorrectly.

You say the mask isn’t macho? You say the mask is uncomfortable? Maybe. But would you rather a few minutes of discomfort or the pain and potentially life-altering effects of this disease (and that’s if it doesn’t prove fatal)?

Perhaps it is the societal discomfort that is most difficult for some of us to grasp. Every single one of us now holds an incredible amount of responsibility in public to care not just for ourselves – but to care for others.

You may not blink in the face of this virus, but are you willing to risk the lives of your neighbors? Your kids? Your parents? You may be healthy, but not everyone around you is as fortunate. And wearing a mask in public is also currently the law.

The CDC recommends a proper face mask snugly covers your nose and mouth, and wraps around your chin. Wearing a mask is not a symbol of weakness nor does it display any lack of masculinity.

Properly wearing a mask shows consideration and respect for your fellow man. It’s basic manners. It’s human decency. It’s something our parents and abuelas taught us growing up. I have seen too many of my friends and acquaintances get seriously ill from this virus.

Your gesture of properly wearing a face covering in public can help slow the spread of coronavirus. These strenuous times will be made easier if we are in this fight together.

Joseph Lopez


Stay informed

The new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic threatens to exacerbate mortality in our most vulnerable populations. Patients who fall into this vulnerable category include the elderly (age 65 and greater), those with co-existing medical illnesses including diabetes, hypertension, or cancer and minorities—Black and Latino men and women. COVID-19 brings an unprecedented threat to these individuals not only due to their underrepresented status but often because the most vulnerable have the least access to the information, resources and care they need to stay healthy. As a physician and cancer researcher in New York City, I have seen the direct effect that COVID-19 has had on these marginalized populations. For instance, we know that minority race alone increases your risk of COVID-19 related hospitalization and death by two to three times.

Geriatric medicine is not my field, nor is it Uvalde Health Authority official Dr. Jared Reading’s, but the study he quotes is from 2010 (Kelly, A. Journal of American Geriatrics Society, 2010). I hope we would not draw conclusions and make decisions regarding our elderly population in nursing homes based on data from a decade ago. We know that medical care evolves at a rapid pace, and likely these numbers and the correlations that Dr. Reading has drawn are nowhere near accurate.

I would implore residents of Uvalde to stay well informed. That means not only following the advice of the COVID task force of Uvalde but researching these facts yourself. The way to protect ourselves and those most at risk are supported by the CDC, WHO and several medical journals. These interventions include: social distancing, mask wearing and frequent hand washing. Suggesting that we abandon these practices at the expense of the elderly is simply uninformed.

In short if you are Latino greater than 65 years of age with diabetes, hypertension, or cancer you are at greatest risk of coronavirus. Following social distancing guidelines, wearing a mask, and washing your hands will prevent you from infection.

Suplicaría a los residentes de Uvalde que se mantengan bien informados. Eso significa no solo seguir los consejos del grupo de trabajo de COVID de Uvalde sino también investigar estos hechos ustedes mismos. El CDC, la Organización Mundial de la Salud y varias revistas médicas respaldan la forma de protegernos a nosotros mismos y a los que están en mayor riesgo. Estas intervenciones incluyen: distanciamiento social, el uso de máscaras y lavado frecuente de manos. El sugerir que abandonemos estas prácticas a expensas de los ancianos simplemente es no estár informado.

En resumen, si usted es latino, mayor de 65 años con diabetes, hipertensión o cáncer, tiene mayor riesgo de contraer coronavirus. Seguir las pautas de distanciamiento social, usar una máscara y lavarse las manos evitará una infección.

Olivia Lara, MD. MS

New York City, formerly of Uvalde

Modern day slavery

Few if anyone could imagine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought upon our local community, state, nation and world so far. In fact, this pandemic could be referred to as an existential threat to humanity at large. With the onslaught of this global spread of Covid-19, there couldn’t be a worse time to stoke the fires of racial division and the airing of grievances.

While we are witnessing a severe spike in new Covid-19 cases, groups like Antifa and lawless mobs continue to riot and cause mayhem throughout the United States and even other countries.

This is what many well-intentioned people don’t realize: While the angry and offended call the sins of others unforgivable by other races and society, these enraged voices and groups, they have no stated goals or pathways leading to forgiveness and reconciliation.

Instead their goals are fueled by vengeance and forcing the so-called privileged groups (race being the primary identifier) to drink deep from the cup of shame which is a type of soul killing poison. Those who capitulate and offer palm branches of appeasement only further stoke the anger and hostility of the violent and vengeful.

Do people have a right to be angry? Yes! That said, God has even more right to be angry with each one of us, save from the unimaginable cost that Jesus paid on the cross for our sins, that we might live and not die, which is our only hope.

While the race wars continue, certain self appointed elite are laughing and laughing at all of us as our world burns and careens headlong into a dystopian abyss.

While Black Lives Matter and others revisit the historic wrongs of slavery which were undeniably wrong, slavery in the form of human trafficking is alive and well today in our United States and throughout our world, and women, children and even men are imprisoned and forced to do unspeakable and degrading sexual acts so their handlers can make money. Modem day slavery is pervasive and is often hiding in plan sight in our communities and throughout the world.

Human trafficking is a well-organized illegal industry with men and women prospecting for new children, women and even men to capture. It could easily be your daughter, son, wife or mother that could suddenly vanish without a trace at the hands of these soulless and demonically evil people.

The world is now seeing a glimpse of this industry as the truth is coming out about Jeffery Epstien and Ghislaine Maxwell and others allegedly involved in a massive sex trafficking operation which was allowed to continue for decades.

What if instead of fighting and screaming obscenities at one another over real and imagined grievances of the past and present, we commit ourselves to unite together and fight together against a common enemy, modern day human trafficking and modern day slavery?

Michael Robinson


Health care threat

Excerpts from an article by Jim Hightower in the Aug. 1, 2020, issue of The Progressive Populist Journal, subtitled “The GOP’s Grotesque Plan to Cope with COVID-19.”

Consider Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, “First… he followed Trump’s level of do-nothingism, pretending the whole thing would just drift away. As a result, droves of Texans were dying, so he rushed out to express astonishment and concern.

Yet he cravenly refused to offend his corporate and far-right backers by implementing such life-saving measures as business closures, masks required in public and stay-at-home orders….

“Bizarrely, Abbott declared he was focused not on preventing infections, but making sure there were enough hospital beds for those who get infected. He might as well have bragged that providing an adequate number of graves was his priority. For sure, thousands more Texans were soon dying because of his incompetence.

“Finally, the relentless death toll forced Abbott… to enact a stay-at-home mandate… but he bungled that by declaring it was not a stay-at-home order. Instead, he calls its provisions “Essential Services and Activities Protocols.”

“Then he got really strange. After banning local officials from requiring mask wearing in public, he playfully hinted that he’d hidden a trick door in that executive order allowing locals to take action – if they could divine the riddle. The trick was that while mayors and others could not require face masks in public, they could require stores, bars, offices, factories and other businesses to require masks.

“…So, gosh, what to do now? Of course! Let’s take away the health care coverage of some 23 million Americans.

“Backed by Trump & Co., that’s the brilliant health care priority being pushed by top Republican officials in 18 states. Led by… Abbott, these GOP-controlled states have chosen in our time of national health crisis to file Texas v. United States, pleading with the Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. If they get their way, insurance giants (which are major campaign donors to Abbott and other GOP officials who’re pushing the court action) would again be able to gouge customers, boot young people from their parents’ coverage and refuse to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

“It’s perverse that any other governor would follow Abbott’s lead, for he presides over a health care disaster. Texas has the highest number of uninsured people (including a record number of them protect children), and his government allows insurance monopolists to engage in such rip-offs as charging higher premiums to women and selling policies that don’t cover such basics as childbirth. Plus, it would not be there for some three million other Texans expected to lose their job-based insurance policies during the growing pandemic recession.

“…there was no trumpeting of the legal filing by the White House to strip Obamacare. Instead, it was tiptoed over to the court at 10 on a Thursday night – with the hopes that you and I wouldn’t notice.”

Pat V. Powers


God’s gamble

The thought of that girl entered my mind far back in time that I can not bring back from my thoughts when she got into my thoughts. I do remember when I “fell in love” with a girl in the fourth grade, I put her on a pedestal and all I thought about was her! The type of relationship was not one of sexual desires because I was still too young to think of situations that were sexually oriented.

Sixty-eight years later, I was startled out of my sleep, that this girl was imaginary and put in my mind for reasons I would not understand until much, much later in my life. That specific morning, I awoke with the understanding this girl was placed in my thoughts for purposes that were far beyond my understanding until now. I sat down and started writing about the incident and for the very first thought I considered the actions of Satan’s beginning his career of my destruction.

I began to let my mind dwell on this thought until I realized if I accepted the fact, that Satan was involved in this line of thinking, I may be thinking this is the only explanation there was and I would be giving the Devil this “due” and refuse the actions of the Holy Spirit which would lead to blasphemy and no forgiveness from God.

It is now in my thought that God’s Holy Spirit placed that thought in my head for reasons no one but him will explain. Even if I could write him explanation down, it would be several volumes accumulated in 68 years just in my life. Today, I now realize that the girl in my life is a “krises” event that separates as a process through warnings continually through my lifetime. God, in his infinite wisdom, has allowed me to be tempted beyond my endurance and today, when I woke up, he allowed me to see the evil of this test and how it has affected my life.

When I started to think how this affected my life, I began to realize the tremendous gamble God is dealing with. When I think about the gamble that was given me was like that God the father gave his only son. Perhaps, because of our sinful make-up we don’t recognize how the whole world, billions of people daily, are touched by his holy spirit and God gambling with each and every one of us.

“Krises” the Greek word used as a verb, translated as a “separation”

Lodovico Freier


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