When the novel coronavirus COVID-19 started to spread in the U.S., hand sanitizer became a hot commodity. Stores sold out of the product needed to clean your hands while on the go to prevent catching and spreading the virus. But, did you know that a Latina nursing student in the 1960s created hand sanitizer?
Lupe Hernandez, a nursing student in California in 1966, is the woman behind hand sanitizer.
Hernandez was in nursing school in Bakersfield, California when she thought about a gel form of rubbing alcohol. Hernandez realized that a gel form of alcohol would make it possible for people to clean their hands while on the go with no access to water and soap.
Hernandez knew she was on to something so she reached out to an invention hotline and submitted a patent.
While washing your hands is the best way to avoid contracting COVID-19, hand sanitizer is an important tool for those that still have to work. It is also a good option for people who are still healthy but have to go to the pharmacy, grocery store, or bank.
Hand sanitizer was just an industry product until the H1N1 viral outbreak in 2009.
The 2009 outbreak of H1N1 drove up the demand for hand sanitizer among the public and it was soon packaged for consumers. According to The Guardian, the value of the hand sanitizer market has grown exponentially since the time before and after the H1N1 scare.
In 2018, the global hand sanitizer market value was $2.6 billion. The Guardian reports that the U.S. market value of hand sanitizer was $28 million in 2002 and $80 million in 2006.
Viral outbreaks like H1N1 make hand sanitizer a highly-prized commodity and some people try to profit off that fear.
Matt Colvin faced severe backlash after he and his brother bought out thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer in Tennessee and Kentucky after the first COVID-19 death in the U.S. The two covered 1,300 miles driving through Tennessee and Kentucky buying all of the hand sanitizers they could find in various dollar stores.
The brothers then started selling the hand sanitizer on Amazon for as much as $70 a bottle. Amazon shut them down and the attorney general of Tennessee launched an investigation into them for price gouging. They pledged to donate the product and Tennessee officials are making sure they follow through with the promise.
So the United States is still in the midst of a pandemic with at least 18 states still seeing an increase in daily cases of Coronavirus. In fact, just on Friday, the country as a whole saw a single-day increase of more than 24,000 new cases. In one day.
Yet it seems that many Americans aren’t paying attention to the news or they simply just don’t care – as crowds packed beaches, lakes, parks, and pools across the country.
To many party-goers, they say it’s their right to do what they want and to celebrate how they want. To millions of responsible Americans, it’s more about responsibility and caring for your community by adhering to the social distancing requirements until the pandemic is under control – which could still be months away.
Many Americans have flocked to parks, restaurants and beaches to celebrate Memorial Day weekend.
Governments across the country had announced that Memorial Day weekend would serve as a sort of test on whether or not they’d be able to really start relaxing stay-at-home orders. It all depended on how the public reacted and if they adhered to social distancing measures.
However, one quick look at social media showing pool parties and crowded beaches from Florida to California, show that much of the country truly failed at protecting themselves and their communities.
Commissioner for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Stephen Hahn, told Americans that “with the country starting to open up this holiday weekend, I again remind everyone that the coronavirus is not yet contained.” It’s important reminder that millions of Americans seem to have forgotten.
He added “It is up to every individual to protect themselves and their community. Social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks protect us all.”
From Florida to California, millions of people totally ignored the ongoing crisis so they could party instead.
Crowds packed beaches in Florida, Maryland, Georgia, Virginia and Indiana. Many people ventured out without masks and others failed to keep their distance even as officials highlighted the continued importance of both in order to prevent another surge of infections. But it seems like many people just didn’t care.
One party-goer told WGHP, “We’re tired of being stuck in the house. I’m not afraid of this virus one bit. People have the right to choose where they go and what they do.”
And in Missiouri’s Lakes of the Ozarks, hundreds attended pool parties despite an ongoing rise in cases in the area. And those party-goers, now pose a new threat to the region.
Lyda Krewson, the mayor of St Louis, Missouri, said: “It’s irresponsible and dangerous to engage in such high risk behaviour just to have some fun over the extended holiday weekend. Now, these folks will be going home to St. Louis and counties across Missouri and the Midwest, raising concerns about the potential of more positive cases, hospitalisations, and tragically, deaths. Deeply disturbing.”
Meanwhile, in California, people packed the beaches in Orange County and few were using masks.
Health officials Had said that Memorial Day weekend would serve as a test of whether California can actually ease stay-at-home orders. So how did the state do?
Well, from San Diego to Venice, beaches were packed with varying degrees of social distancing. New POrt Beach was packed with beach-goers flouting rules about hanging out in groups of more than 10.
While in Venice, the boardwalk was heaving with crowds and not everyone was wearing a face mask. Despite the digital billboard saying “wear face covering,” only some people wore face masks as they enjoyed a stroll on the Venice Beach boardwalk on Saturday.
And a popular hiking spot outside LA had to be shut down by authorities because it became so overcrowded it was impossible to follow social distancing guidelines.
Just because you can go to the beach or bars doesn’t mean it’s time to let your guard down.
In fact, some states are seeing new spikes in coronavirus cases. Both North Carolina and Arkansas are seeing major spikes in new cases. In North Carolina, they reported the highest single-day increase just a day after they entered the second phase of reopening. And in Arkansas, the governor said his state is experiencing a “second peak.”
There have also been reports of increased cases emerging in Virginia, Maryland, D.C., Nebraska and Illinois.
Yet so many seem to think they have a right not to wear a mask. However, even one of the White House’s leading Coronavirus experts, Dr. Birx, has reminded the country that using a mask is extremely important.
“Out of respect for each other, as Americans that care for each other, we need to be wearing masks in public when we cannot social distance, she said in an interview with ABC News.
Experts warn the U.S. is nowhere near out of the woods with coronavirus.
As of Memorial Day, more than 1.7 million Americans have been infected and more than 99,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
“Look at the numbers. You’ll see that on Thursday, more than 20,000 Americans were infected,” said Dr. Seema Yasmin, a former disease detective at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in an interview with CNN. On Friday, “that number went up, and there were more than 24,000 Americans newly diagnosed with Covid-19.”
Yes, you’re reading those numbers correctly. There were 24,000 new cases in just one day!
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For months, migrant and refugee rights organizations have implored the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – the agency that oversees ICE – to release all people in their custody to avoid mass contagion. The fear has been that keeping thousands of people in close quarters and without proper access to medical care could result in the deaths of countless people.
ICE has refused to acknowledge the risk and instead has been shifting migrants around in a strategy of ‘mitigating’ risk. The results have been mixed as reports of low testing capacity and lack of medical care have called the organization’s strategy into question.
News broke on May 6 of the first migrant in ICE custody to die of Covid-19, now it’s been confirmed that a second detainee has died of the virus. And now many are wondering who’s next and how bad will it get?
A Guatemalan man has become the second confirmed death related to Covid-19 while in ICE custody.
Santiago Baten-Oxlag, a 34-year-old from Guatemala, died of complications from Covid-19 on Sunday. He becomes the second confirmed victim of the virus while in ICE custody after a man from El Salvador died in early May.
Baten-Oxlag has been transferred to a hospital from ICE’s Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. He’d been in the hospital since April 17, according to CBS News, while waiting to voluntarily return to Guatemala.
The 34-year-old had been in ICE custody since March 2, when he was arrested at a probation office in Marietta, Georgia, following a conviction for driving under the influence, ICE told Buzzfeed News. He agreed to voluntarily leave the US on March 26.
A 57-year-old man was the first confirmed Covid-19 related death in ICE custody.
A 57-year-old man, Carlos Ernesto Escobar Mejia, from El Salvador who had tested positive for COVID-19 died in ICE custody in Southern California on Wednesday.
Mejia had been in ICE custody at the Otay Mesa Detention Center near the California border with Mexico since January and tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, on April 24.
Reports of the man’s death drew swift condemnation from immigrant rights organizations, who’ve been pushing for weeks for ICE to release more detainees from its facilities and arguing coronavirus poses a deadly threat to immigrants behind bars.
“The heartbreaking tragedy at Otay Mesa could have been prevented had US immigration officials heeded the recommendations of medical experts and acted in time,” said Dr. Ranit Mishori, a senior medical adviser for Physicians for Human Rights, in a statement.
For months, several major organizations have called for an orderly, coordinated release of detainees in ICE and CBP detention facilities.
Court challenges in multiple states seek to compel ICE to release detainees in order to reduce the spread of the virus. The Otay Mesa center southeast of San Diego is the subject of such a lawsuit filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The San Diego facility has 132 COVID-19 cases, the most patients by far of the 41 detention centers where the virus has been reported. There have also been 10 employees at the facility who have contracted the virus, according to ICE.
The facility has also been the target of protesters who, on April 11, drove up in vehicles and honked to bring attention to the health conditions.
“Despite unwavering calls to prevent this, Trump’s immigration system took another life,” Paola Luisi, co-director of the immigrant advocacy group Families Belong Together said in a statement Wednesday.
“You cannot cage a virus, and it is impossible to safely physically distance behind bars,” she said. “We fear this tragic death will be the first.”
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