Things That Matter

Umm… Human Body Parts Washed Up At Brazil’s Olympic Beach Volleyball Site

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are set to start August 5, and with all eyes falling on Brazil, there seem to be more and more problems bubbling to the surface. Perhaps it’s the increased international coverage on the city of more than 6 million people, or maybe things are just getting bad enough for the world to notice. Either way, the country is going through a very tumultuous time, and as they ready for the games, the world hopes that things will go OK as tourists, athletes and media converge in Rio.

Just a few days ago, human body parts washed up on the shore of Copacabana Beach.

Credit: @andresenior / Twitter

The human remains, which have yet to be identified, washed up on the same shore that will be holding the Beach Volleyball competition. The mangled body parts have so far been identified as belonging to a young adult, possibly a woman.

Yeah. Some random human remains are just washing up near future Olympic venues.

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Credit: The Monkees / NBC / allreactions / Tumblr

But that isn’t the only thing that has happened on Copacabana Beach before the Olympic Games.

Last month, the organization Rio da Paz staged a protest against Brazil’s growing and violent rape culture on the same beach.

Credit: @womenadvocates / Twitter

Protesters scattered 420 pairs of women’s underwear along the iconic Copacabana Beach and installed photos of women with red hands over their mouths. The protest was bringing attention to the silence associated with rape culture in Brazil. Every year, there are average 50,000 sexual assault incidents against women in Brazil that go vastly unreported.

The water in Rio de Janeiro is still questionable.

Credit: @rodmaia / Twitter

There have been conflicting reports on the viability of water sports taking place in the waters around Rio, but who wants to risk it? Clearly not the U.S. team, which has created special suits for the athletes competing in sailing, rowing and canoeing. The unisuits have been treated with an antimicrobial that will limit the exposure to bacteria in the water. The suits are really all that stand between the U.S. teams and some pretty gnarly illnesses.

Some police officers and firefighters say they don’t have resources to do their jobs.

Credit: @JoeVOrgill / Twitter

Recently, the above photo, which was taken at Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport, went viral. The sign is being held up by police officers and firefighters who are protesting the working conditions and pay rate of emergency service professionals. Some police stations don’t even have toilet paper or fuel for their cars, not to mention stations without running water.

And it isn’t just the police and firefighters. Locals are warning tourists about the lack of medical care available.

Credit: @Cecillia / Tiago Bla / Twitter

Someone left this warning on a highway ramp, which reads, “Welcome, we don’t have hospitals!” They actually do have hospitals, but not all of them are safe. Recently, armed men stormed Souza Aguiar Hospital, one of the five Rio hospitals designated to treat tourists at the Olympics, to free a drug lord.

The Zika virus is still around, and there’s fear of a global crisis.

Credit: @greg_folkers / Twitter

Dr. Amir Attaran, faculty of medicine and faculty of law at the University of Ottawa, wrote a report calling for the Olympics to either be cancelled or postponed over fear that the disease could become a global crisis. The argument he laid out is that Rio de Janeiro, once thought to be minimally impacted by Zika, is actually one of the hardest hit states in Brazil. With an estimated 500,000 people descending onto the city from all over the world, Attaran believes the chances of a global outbreak increase significantly.

“Putting sentimentality aside, clearly the Rio 2016 Games must not proceed.” Dr. Attaran wrote.

Even some of Brazil’s top and most admired athletes are telling people to stay home.

Credit: @rivaldooficial / Instagram

Like Brazilian soccer legend Rivaldo Ferreira, who posted to social media to warn of the violence against women and children that is gripping Rio de Janeiro. In the post above, Rivaldo shares the story of a 17-year-old girl that was murdered in Rio de Janeiro by a group of men. Again, the violence against women in Brazil is seldom talked about.

And, not to mention, even the Olympic flame has seen the contempt of Brazilians. Like this man.

Credit: @MailOnline / Twitter

That’s right. If they aren’t killing a chained jaguar for trying to attack a soldier during a torch lighting ceremony, someone is trying to douse the flame with water. Seriously.


READ: Video Of Teen’s Gang Rape Uploaded To Social Media Sparks Outrage In Brazil

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Rio’s Christ The Redeemer Lights Up To Honor Healthcare Workers Around The World

Things That Matter

Rio’s Christ The Redeemer Lights Up To Honor Healthcare Workers Around The World

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Healthcare workers need all the support they can get during this crisis. They’re literally on the front lines of a battle against an invisible enemy and in many places, they’re not being given the recognition they need and deserve.

However, some communities have come together to show their support. From giant mariachi bands in Mexico City to the Effie Tower’s message of hope – and now Rio’s Christ statue – we hope these brave healthcare workers are feeling all the love.

Rio’s archdioceses held Easter services at the base of the famed statue and paid tribute to healthcare workers.

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With churches and other houses of worship closed to maintain social distancing measures, Brazilian archbishop Orani Tempesta conducted an Easter service at the feet of the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro—and projected a special message onto the 125-foot-tall statue.

For the second time since the coronavirus escalated to a global pandemic, the statue appeared illuminated with images of the flags of countries hardest hit by the virus, including the United States, China, Spain, Italy, and Brazil, and the words “hope,” “thanks,” and “stay home” written in various languages.

Projected images of doctors and nurses also intermittently appeared on the figure, putting individual faces to that vital workforce.

The statue, depicting Christ with outstretched arms, was also dressed up in a doctor’s scrubs, lab coat, and stethoscope as a tribute to the healthcare workers on the front line of the pandemic.

The images that lit up the sky on Easter Sunday provided a different message than the one that Brazilian president Jair Bolsanaro has been sharing.

Brazil has so far recorded more than 22,000 Covid-19 cases and 1,230 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. However, President Jair Bolsonaro remains one of the few world leaders playing down the threat of the disease.

The populist leader has continued to push back on social-distancing policies in recent weeks, dismissing the coronavirus as a “little flu” and saying Brazil will suffer more if the economy collapses.

In fact, over the weekend he scoffed at social distancing measures, telling local media outlets “No one will hinder my right to come and go.”

Rio’s famed statue has been closed by the pandemic since mid-March – along with much of the country’s top attractions.

The famed statue has withstood the worst of what the elements could throw its way for nearly nine decades. Now it, too, is succumbing to the outbreak of the new coronavirus. 

The 125-foot-tall statue, which last year saw almost 2 million visitors, closed on March 17 and won’t reopen for at least a month. To contain the virus’ spread, Brazil’s Chico Mendes Institute on Tuesday ordered the closure of all national parks it oversees, including the one that’s home to the Christ statue.

Rio seems less marvelous by the day with the creep of the new virus. Firemen began blaring recordings that urge beachgoers to stay home, one day before Rio’s Gov. Wilson Witzel decreed a state of emergency.

Among other things, Witzel’s decree recommended that restaurants and bars limit themselves to 30% capacity for 15 days, that boats and buses halve their passenger loads, that shopping malls close and people avoid beaches and public pools. The decree also suspended classes and all other activities and events that entail gatherings.

Trump Administration Restricts Travel To Brazil Citing Growing Covid Infections Rates As US Nears 100,000 Deaths

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Trump Administration Restricts Travel To Brazil Citing Growing Covid Infections Rates As US Nears 100,000 Deaths

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The world has been fixated on the coronavirus as it has spread from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China to every continent, except Antarctica. More than 348,000 people have died of the disease that has infected more than 5,549,000 people across six continents. So far, more than 2,269,000 people have recovered from the illness. Now, the disease is in Latin America and we are going to keep you updated on its spread.

Update May 26, 2020, 12:31 p.m. PST: The Trump administration is imposing an entry ban on all people who have been in Brazil in the past 14 days.

According to a proclamation from the White House, the U.S. government is imposing a travel ban from Brazil into the U.S. The Trump administration, which has been heavily criticized for their disastrous response to Covid-19, is limiting the travel of people into the U.S. from Brazil. Brazil is currently grappling with an increasing infection and death rate from Covid-19 following weeks of anti-lockdown protests encouraged and attended by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

“Today’s action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Sunday, according to CNN. “These new restrictions do not apply to the flow of commerce between the United States and Brazil.”

The Trump administration claims that the travel restrictions are being implemented to control the spread of Covid-19.

The U.S. government has been criticized by the global community because of its slow response to the health crisis. At the beginning of the outbreak in the U.S., President Trump downplayed the virus and claimed that it would go away on its own. This rhetoric eventually evolved into President Trump asking scientists to look into the effectiveness of injecting disinfectant into patients to kill Covid-19. The lack of a national response to Covid-19 has led the U.S. to have the most infections and deaths than anywhere else in the world.

“The potential for undetected transmission of the virus by infected individuals seeking to enter the United States from the Federative Republic of Brazil threatens the security of our transportation system and infrastructure and the national security,” reads the proclamation. “I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. The free flow of commerce between the United States and the Federative Republic of Brazil remains an economic priority for the United States, and I remain committed to facilitating trade between our nations.

Update May 19, 2020, 11:46 a.m. PST: Brazil is grappling with a sudden spike in cases threatening to collapse hospitals.

Brazil was the epicenter of the anti-lockdown protests in Latin America. The protests mirrored the same science-denying protests in communities across the U.S. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro both participated in some of these protests and encouraged people to take to the street to fight against the lockdown orders.

Countries across the world implemented lockdown measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, a new virus that was killing people across age groups and races. The lockdown measures have worked as countries have seen their case and hospitalization numbers decline. Data shows that COVID-19 infection numbers have continued to climb in countries and communities where lockdown measures were ignored, or not implemented. Brazil is the largest cautionary tale in Latin America.

Major cities in Brazil are reporting a damaging surge that could cause hospitals to collapse.

The crisis in Brazil is showing. The country is quickly becoming the country with the second-highest number of cases of COVID-19 infections. Concerned health experts have blamed Pres. Bolsonaro’s actions at the beginning of the crisis and led to an avoidable increase of risk to public health.

Pres. Bolsonaro sided with anti-lockdown protesters calling on the government to end the social isolation. Pres. Bolsonaro made an enemy out of health experts who were trying to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the South American country. Two health ministers have resigned since the pandemic hit Brazil.

Update May 12, 2020, 11:26 a.m. PST: Fear of COVID-19 destroying indigenous communities has prompted strong reactions from indigenous communities.

Indigenous communities have feared the latest pandemic to bring the world to a standstill. The communities have asked federal governments to help protect them from a virus that the world had never seen before. There is no known immunity to the virus right now and indigenous communities are more likely to be decimated by COVID-19.

“No specific attention has been given to indigenous communities,” Gregorio Díaz Mirabal, chief coordinator of the Indigenous Organisations of the Amazon Basin, told The New Humanitarian. “The pandemic has exposed that there are no doctors and no health infrastructure in these communities. There is no education, no phone connections, no computers, no internet.”

In response, some tribes are enforcing strict self-quarantine measures to protect their elders. Many of these communities keep their cultures and histories alive through oral storytelling. The loss of the elders, who are seen as the guardians of the cultures, would create a loss in the world’s collective history and experience.

The fear of the virus was realized last month when a teenager in an isolated Amazonian tribe contracted COVID-19. The 15-year-old boy died of the virus stoking fears and solidifying the need for COVID-19 assistance to protect these communities.

Avianca Airlines has had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of the pandemic.

Airlines claim to be struggling following the outbreak of COVID-19. Travel has been restricted around the world to protect global health and give governments a chance to get a handle on the pandemic. For Avianca, the airline has had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy joining companies like J. Crew and Neiman Marcus. The airline is using bankruptcy to reorganize their company to survive the impacts of a health pandemic that is claiming lives every day.

Update April 21, 2020: 11:06 a.m. PST: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro celebrated anti-lockdown protesters, following President Trump’s lead.

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– QG do @exercito_oficial (DF): – Dia do Exército!

A post shared by Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairmessiasbolsonaro) on

The coronavirus pandemic is still raging as some country start easing stay at home measures throughout Asia and Europe. Those continents were the first two to experience large numbers of cases and implemented lockdown measures before the U.S. As the virus continues to spread, global health experts are calling for some countries to continue their safer at home measures. However, far-right President Bolsonaro is fighting the science and supporting anti-lockdown protesters.

“The era of roguery is over. Now it’s the people who are in power,” Bolsonaro told the crowd. “Everyone in Brazil must understand that they must yield to the will of the Brazilian people.”

President Bolsonaro has been slammed for participating in a “pro-dictatorship” rally.

Protesters are calling for an end to the lockdown to return to the military dictatorship of Brazil. The protesters want the Brazilian Supreme Court and Congress to be suspended putting all of the power in Bolsonaro’s hands. Bolsonaro, who was coughing throughout his appearance at the protest, defending his willingness to fight against the Brazilian government.

“I respect the Supreme Court, I respect the Congress — but I am entitled to my opinions and some people can’t just interpret anything I say as an act of aggression,” Bolsonaro said at the protest. “Usually, when people are conspiring against someone it’s to reach a position of power. I’m already in power. I’m already the president.”

Update April 14, 2020: 11:31 a.m. PST: A 97-year-old woman is the oldest person in Brazil to survive COVID-19.

Gina Dal Colleto was admitted to the hospital on April 1 with symptoms associated with COVID-19. The great-grandmother was immediately placed on oxygen. After two weeks in the hospital, the woman was discharged and sent home with applause from the healthcare workers who helped her battle the virus.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is being criticized for pushing a dangerous narrative about a “cure” to COVID-19.

Bolsonaro is following President Trump’s lead and pushing an unfounded claim that hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, is a cure for COVID-19. There have already been some reported deaths to people self-medicating with hydroxychloroquine. Health experts across the globe are also warning people that the drug is not known to cure COVID-19. President Trump has refused to let Dr. Fauci, the scientist leading the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from answering any questions about President Trump’s claim that hydroxychloroquine is a COVID-19 cure.

Update: April 6, 2020, 9:22 a.m. PST: Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez announced that she was seeking a refund of a deposit for COVID-19 testing kits.

According to Miami Herald, the governor of Puerto Rico announced that she was seeking a full refund of the $19 million deposit on 1 million COVID-19 testing kits. El Nuevo Dia, the first outlet to report the news, cited the danger this could have on the island’s overall response to the virus. Five hundred seventy-three people have contracted COVID-19 in Puerto Rico and 23 people have died from the virus. Two companies, Apex General Contractors and 313 LLC, won bids to provide the tests to the federal government.

Also in Puerto Rico, unused medical equipment in good condition was recently discovered.

The news is a double-edged sword. The discovery of the much-needed medical supplies shows the mismanagement by the Puerto Rican government during its Hurricane Maria response. However, now that the equipment has been found in good condition, it is being sent to healthcare workers who really need it at this time to combat the virus.

Update March 31, 10:46 a.m. PST: Indigenous tribes in South America are blockading their villages to protect themselves from COVID-19.

Indigenous communities around the world are preparing to ride out the COVID-19 health pandemic the best way they can. Some indigenous leaders are asking for help to protect their communities from COVID-19. Many indigenous tribes are voluntarily isolated from the rest of the world leaving them particularly vulnerable to diseases. This is because their isolation has left them with no immunity or protection from most diseases.

“We call on governments to intensify surveillance and protection of indigenous territories, many of which are invaded by miners, drug traffickers, loggers, land-grabbers and tourists,” Claudette Labonte, a member of the Kamuyeneh community in French Guiana and a member of the Congress of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), told AFP.

Labonte continued to argue that government help is needed because of the illegal miners and others who are using the pandemic as a way to encroach on the protected indigenous lands. These moments could lead to the indigenous people being infected by sick loggers and miners.

Update March 24, 11:06 a.m. PST: Global economists and health experts warn that Mexico is not prepared for the outbreak.

Most of the world’s governments are grappling with how to better handle the COVID-19 outbreak. However, Mexico seems to be dragging their feet when it comes to responding to the health pandemic that has shut down one-third of the United States. In stark contrast to most major international cities, Mexico City remains open and bustling as the Mexican president calls for calm from citizens.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has led his country into a “business as usual” mentality. According to reports, President López Obrador doesn’t want to impose major lockdowns and restrictions until absolutely necessary. This kind of attitude, economist and health experts warn, would lead to an outbreak worse than what the world saw in Italy.

The country’s stock market has already started to strain under the pressure of COVID-19. Economists warn that the outlook for Mexico’s stock market is grim but the president, through action, could ease the full impact.

Update March 17 – 11:22 a.m. PST: The number of cases in Latin America continues to climb as El Salvador implemented nationwide quarantine.

“I know this will be criticized, but let’s put ourselves in Italy’s shoes. Italy wishes they could’ve done this before,” Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele said in a national address. “Our health system is not at Italy’s level. It’s not at South Korea’s level.”

President Bukele’s national quarantine means that schools are closed for three weeks, gatherings of more than 500 people are banned, foreign travelers from high-risk countries are barred from entering the country, and all Salvadorans returning from trips abroad will be quarantined for 30 days.

Puerto Rico has implemented an island-wide curfew to combat the spread of the virus.

Puerto Rican Governor Wanda Vázquez reprimanded Puerto Ricans for not obeying guidance to self-isolate and practice social distancing. In response, Gov. Vázquez instituted a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. and shut most businesses on the island until March 30. The only people exempt are supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, medical equipment stores, gas stations, restaurants offering take out and delivery, and their suppliers. Violators face a $5,000 fine or six months in jail for breaking the executive order.

Update March 13 – 1:24 p.m.: The novel coronavirus has been reported in Venezuela.

To cases have been confirmed in Venezuela. The South American country is in a yearslong battle over their government that has left them with no medicine, little food, and a devastated economy. Doctors in Venezuela fear that the coronavirus could pose a major threat to hospitals that might be overwhelmed with patients that cannot be treated.

The virus has also entered Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro recently contradicted earlier reports that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Update: President Trump has backpedaled on his plan to close the southern border in response to the coronavirus concern.

Credit: @SenJeffMerkley / Twitter

President Trump originally announced that he was considering closing the southern border with Mexico because of concerns about the coronavirus. At the time, Mexico had 5 confirmed cases of the virus while the U.S. had more than 80. On March 3, Trump changed his messaging and said they aren’t invested in the decision due to a lack of evidence.

Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic have all reported cases of COVID-19.

Ecuador is currently grappling with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America. Seven people have tested positive after a woman in her 70s tested positive for coronavirus in February after visiting Madrid. The woman is in critical condition. In Mexico, where there are 5 confirmed cases, first detected the virus in two men who had recently traveled to northern Italy. The Dominican Republic has reported one case who is an Italian national visiting the island. Brazil diagnosed a second case, who is a 32-year-old patient in São Paulo. A 32-year-old man was diagnosed as the first coronavirus patient in Argentina after a trip to northern Italy. Chile reported a patient who had recently spent time in Singapore.

The first case of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has been reported in Brazil.

Credit: @yehudafruchter / Twitter

The first case in Latin America was confirmed in Brazil. The patient, a 61-year-old man who was in northern Italy for business, tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to São Paulo. The man checked himself into a hospital when he began to show signs of a fever, sore throat, and a cough.

Brazil’s Carnival celebrations have begun and the possibility of an outbreak is weighing heavily on some Brazilians.

Credit: @Richierlich / Twitter

According to The New York Times, Brazil Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta is optimistic that they will be able to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, former Health Minister José Gomes Temporão notes that the Brazilian government has been hit with spending cuts in recent years.

“We are cutting resources to public health, and we will need additional resources now,” Temporão told The New York Times.

Brazil has reportedly been working in preparing for the coronavirus for weeks leading up to Carnival.

Credit: @BombergerDanny / Twitter

Despite the work, many fear that Brazil’s under budget and overstressed public health system might not be able to handle an outbreak. However, health officials told The New York Times that it appears that the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital in São Paulo acted quickly using best practices to admit and quarantine the sick man.

The coronavirus has shown up in 38 countries on six continents around the world, including the U.S.

Credit: @Farenthold / Twitter

There are currently more than 50 cases of the coronavirus that have been reported in the U.S. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is warning Americans of the possibility of a more aggressive plan to limit the spread of the virus. The virus is spreading quickly across the world since it was first detected and reported in Wuhan, China at the end of December 2019.

President Donald Trump has come under fire from health officials for not understanding the true magnitude of the virus.

Credit: @realDonaldTrump / Twitter

The CDC issued a troubling warning of the virus the same day President Trump claimed that the coronavirus won’t have a large impact on the U.S. population. According to the CDC, they expect the virus to spread widely enough in the U.S. to cause a “disruption to everyday life.”

In a statement on the website, the CDC calls COVID-19 “a serious public health risk.” While it is not currently recognized as spreading in the U.S., the CDC does have a plan ready in case the virus begins to spread in U.S. communities.

“Community-level nonpharmaceutical intervention might include school dismissals and social distancing in other settings (e.g., postponement or cancellation of mass gatherings and telework and remote-meeting options in workplaces),” reads the CDC website. “These measures can be disruptive and might have societal and economic impact on individual persons and communities. However, studies have shown that early layered implementation of these interventions can reduce the community spread and impact of infectious pathogens such as pandemic influenza, even when specific pharmaceutical treatments and vaccines are not available. These measures might be critical to avert widespread COVID-19 transmission in U.S. communities.”

An earlier video from the CDC claims the risk of infection is low but for people to use tactics used to prevent the spread of the flu.

The CDC warns that people need to be vigilant about staying home from work, school, social gatherings, and other social activities if they are sick. The coronavirus symptoms are similar to the flu with a fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. The CDC is asking for people to remain vigilant as we are in the time of year where other illnesses with similar symptoms, like the flu and common cold, are spreading in the U.S.

If you would like to learn more about COVID-19 and what to do if you think you have contracted the virus, click here and read what the CDC recommends.

READ: Four Year Old Left Blind After She Caught A Severe Case Of The Flu—Her Parents Have A Message: Get Your Child Vaccinated