Things That Matter

Costa Rica Is Warning Everyone To Stop Drinking Alcohol As 19 People Have Died Due To Tainted Alcohol

Costa Ricans are on edge after 19 people have been died because of tainted alcochol. According to authorities, each of the victims died after drinking alcohol with toxic levels of methanol.

So far 14 men and five women, in several cities across the country, have died.

As of now, there have been 19 deaths across Costa Rica related to tainted alcohol.

Credit: @ABC / Twitter

At least 19 people have died in Costa Rica after consuming alcohol contaminated with toxic levels of methanol, officials said.

The victims, who ranged from 32 to 72 in age, consumed the tainted alcohol in various cities across the country dating back to early last month, the country’s Ministry of Health revealed over the weekend.

They each died from what appeared to be methanol poisoning. The fatalities occurred in San José, Cartago, Limón, Guanacaste and Heredia.

“It is important to emphasize that this information is preliminary since the investigations continue,” the statement said. “The Ministry of Health continues to carry out operations throughout the national territory in order to reduce the exposure of consumers to adulterated products.”

The government is so concerned they’ve started confiscating huge amounts of alcohol from restaurants, bars, and clubs.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Government officials confiscated more than 30,000 bottles of alcohol suspected to be tainted, the ministry said in a statement on Friday, warning residents to avoid several brands that tested positive for contamination.

They’re also telling people to avoid consuming alcohol from a number of specific brands until they’re sure it’s safe.

Until authorities can figure out exactly what is going on and which brands or types of alcohol are affected, the government is urging all people in Costa Rica to hold off from consuming alcohol for now.

Though the government did release a list of suspected brands (which you should definitely avoid) and they include Molotov, Timbuka, and Aguardiente.

Alcohol poisoning, particularly from methanol, can make people feel really drunk really fast, not giving them time to realize something might be wrong.

Credit: @NYDailyNews / Twitter

Adulterated liquor often contains methanol, which can make people feel inebriated. Adding methanol to distilled spirits enables sellers to increase the amount of liquid and its potential potency, according to SafeProof, a group that lobbies against counterfeit alcohol.

Methanol poisoning can cause confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and the inability to coordinate muscle movements. Even small amounts can be toxic. According to the World Health Organization, outbreaks of methanol poisoning are usually linked to “adulterated counterfeit or informally-produced spirit drinks.”

Costa Rica isn’t alone Outbreaks have happened around the world.

Outbreaks have hit countries around the world in recent years, each ranging in size from 20 to over 800 victims, WHO reports. This year, at least 154 people died and more than 200 others were hospitalized after drinking tainted alcohol in India. The victims consumed unregulated moonshine, known as “country-made liquor” in the northeast state of Assam.

Twitter was quick to start jumping to conclusions.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Many on Twitter started linking the news out of Costa Rica to the recent string of suspicious deaths in the Dominican Republic. Although some victims families (of those who have died in the DR) have speculated that their deaths were caused by alcohol poisoning, authorities haven’t yet confirmed that. So it’s definitely too soon to connect the dots here.

So how do you stay safe when you’re traveling but want to enjoy that tasty tropical cocktail or the local specialty?

Credit: @MeriAssociates / Twitter

So how do you stay safe when you’re drinking abroad and living out that vacation fantasy? First, pay attention to what you’re buying. Look at the price (is it too cheap?) and packaging (is it sealed?) of the product. If it tastes bad, don’t drink it. Additionally, according to the U.S. Overseas Security Advisory Council, follow these guidelines:

  1. Don’t drink homemade or counterfeit “booze.”
  2. Don’t overdo it.
  3. Don’t compete with locals and their brew.
  4. Don’t let your drink out of sight.

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Flor Silvestre, Beloved Mexican Singer and Film Icon, Dies at 90

Entertainment

Flor Silvestre, Beloved Mexican Singer and Film Icon, Dies at 90

Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Flor Silvestre, the beloved Mexican singer-actress of stage and screen died at her home in Zacatecas, Mexico on Wednesday. She was 90. According to her family, her death was of natural causes.

Flor Silvestre was born Guillermina Jiménez Chabolla in 1930 in Guanajuato.

Her mother longed for a more urban life, so the entire family moved to Mexico City when Chabolla was 13. It was in Mexico City that Chabolla began to stretch her musical skills in concert halls and radio programs. She quickly caught the attention of producers and promoters who recognized both her talent and her beauty.

It was from one of these promoters that Guillermina Jiménez Chabolla received her stage name, Flor Silvestre, “wild flower” in Spanish. She was christened such due to her delicate–and at the time, gangly–appearance.

Throughout her 70 year career, Silvestre recorded over 300 songs and appeared in over seventy movies. She was a prominent figure in the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, appearing in famous films like “Ánimas Trujano” and “La cucaracha”. Her rich, melodious voice gave her the nicknames “La Sentimental” and “La Voz Que Acaricia”.

But Silvestre found both professional and personal fulfillment when she met her husband, singer-actor Antonio Aguilar, in 1950.

The two complemented each other and were able to use their relationship to rise to new professional heights.

Silvestre was the original triple threat–adding horse-riding into her song and dance act. Her famous traveling rodeo show that she performed in alongside her Aguilar and two sons attracted thousands of attendees across Mexico and the U.S., eventually selling out Madison Square Garden.

After the death of Aguilar in 2007, Silvestre largely retired from public life. Her children Pepe Aguilar and Antonio Jr. however, continued to make music and wow the public with their unending talent.

Pepe Aguilar took to Instagram to eulogize his late mother, a woman who, to so many Mexicans, was the sound of home. “She left the example of being a nuanced voice of the beauty of being a mother and wife,” he wrote. “She left the joy of bearing witness to beauty that thinks and speaks.”

Many fans of Silvestre’s took to Twitter to reminisce about the way La Sentimental touched their lives.

Flor Silvestre movies were a staple in many Mexican and Latin American households.

Some fans waxed nostalgic about the relationship their abuelos and abuelas had with the late star.

This man has memories of seeing the Aguilar family perform in one of their famous rodeo shows.

They brought joy to so many.

And finally, fans are celebrating the everlasting love that Antonio Aguilar and Flor Silvestre had together.

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The Number Of Latinos In The U.S Killed By Covid-19 Surpasses 44,500 With No Signs Of Slowing Down

Things That Matter

The Number Of Latinos In The U.S Killed By Covid-19 Surpasses 44,500 With No Signs Of Slowing Down

Wilfredo Lee / Getty Images

For months we have heard stories from our neighbors and our friends of people losing loved ones to Covid-19. It seems that with each passing day the degrees of separation from ourselves and the virus gets smaller and smaller.

Although this is true for all demographics, it’s particularly true for the Latino community. New data shows that although Latinos make up about 19% of the national population, we account for nearly a third of all deaths. These numbers are staggering and experts are warning that entire communities are being decimated by the pandemic.

More than 44,500 Latinos have died of Covid-19 in the United States.

It’s no secret that the Coronavirus has ravaged our community but now we have concrete numbers that show just how bad the pandemic has been among Latinos. According to new data from the COVID Tracking Project, over 44,500 of the nearly 211,000 people in the U.S. killed by the Coronavirus to date are Latino.

While Latinos are under 19 percent of the U.S. population, we make up almost one-third of Coronavirus deaths nationwide, according to CDC data analyzed by Salud America, a health research institute in San Antonio. Among some age groups, like those 35 to 44, the distribution of Latino Covid deaths is almost 50 percent; among Latinos ages 45-54, it’s almost 44 percent.

Experts say several factors account for higher COVID-19 death and infection rates among Latinos versus whites, including poverty, health care disparities, the prevalence of serious underlying medical conditions, and greater exposure to the virus at work because of the kinds of working-class, essential jobs many Latinos have.

Many Latinos who have been infected or died of the Coronavirus are front-line or essential workers.

Credit: Wilfredo Lee / Getty Images

So many of our family members and neighbors work jobs that are now considered “essential.” From building cleaning services, to restaurant workers, grocery store employees, nurses, and farm workers, our community is on the front lines more than any other community in this fight against the pandemic.

In fact, 41.2 percent of all front-line workers are Black, Hispanic or Asian-American/Pacific Islander, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, an economic policy think tank. Hispanics are especially overrepresented in building cleaning services (40.2 percent of workers).

Latinos also have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S., according to the Department of Health and Human Services. All of these factors add up to a dangerous and deadly combination that has resulted in the outsized number of deaths among Latinos.

Some are saying that the virus is causing the ‘historic decimation’ of Latinos.

Speaking at a virtual Congressional Hispanic Caucus meeting last week, a global health expert warned that the Coronavirus is causing “the historic decimation” of the Latino community, ravaging generations of loved ones in Hispanic families.

To illustrate his point, Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, read off descriptions of people who died on Aug. 13 in Houston alone.

“Hispanic male, Hispanic male, Hispanic male, black male, Hispanic male, black male, Hispanic male, Hispanic female, black female, black male, Hispanic, Hispanic, Hispanic, Hispanic, Hispanic, Hispanic” Hotez said, adding that many are people in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

“This virus is taking away a whole generation of mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters, you know, who are young kids, teenage kids. And it occurred to me that what we’re seeing really is the historic decimation among the Hispanic community by the virus,” he said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci – a popular figure in the fight against Coronavirus – has also raised the alarm.

The nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, gave a recent update on the impact on the Latino community. He pointed out that hospitalizations among Latinos 359 per 100,000 compared to 78 in whites. Deaths related to Covid-19 are 61 per 100,000 in the Latino population compared to 40 in whites, and Latinos represent 45 percent of deaths of people younger than 21, Fauci said.

Fauci said the country can begin to address this “extraordinary problem” now by making sure the community gets adequate testing and immediate access to care. But he said this is not a one-shot resolution.

“This must now reset and re-shine a light on this disparity related to social determinants of health that are experienced by the Latinx community — the fact that they have a higher incidence of co-morbidities, which put you at risk,” Fauci said.

Fauci also urged the Latino congressional members on the call to get their Latino constituents to consider enrolling in vaccination trials so they can be proven to be safe in everyone, including African Americans and Latinos.

“We need to get a diverse representation of the population in the clinical trials,” he said.

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