Things That Matter

Desperate For Work, Immigrant Workers Are Collecting The Bodies Of Covid-19 Victims

Countries across Latin America are struggling to combat the Coronavirus pandemic. In fact, Latin America is now considered the epicenter of the global outbreak, as countries in the region are ravaged by the virus. From Brazil to Mexico, government responses have varied widely and adherence to social distancing guidelines has been difficult for communities with little in the way of a financial safety net.

Meanwhile, Latin America is still experiencing a refugee crisis as Venezuelans flee their country for better opportunities in Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and even Mexico. This has led to many migrants being forced to take less than ideal jobs as ordinary work opportunity have dried up as the economies have been hit hard by the pandemic.

In Peru, migrants are collecting bodies of those who have died from Covid-19 in order to make a living.

Despite Peru’s early action to contain the pandemic, the coronavirus has spread like wildfire through the country. More than 390,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus so far. Meanwhile, the country is a destination for Venezuelan refugees, with at least 870,000 who have ended up in Peru, working low-wage jobs to make ends meet or to send funds home to impoverished loved ones.

One of the jobs these migrants are working is to collect the bodies of those who have died from Covid-19. It’s a grim job but they earn $500 a month for their efforts, nearly double the minimum wage in Peru. They work up to 19 hours a day, seven days a week.

Most of the bodies they collect are from poor neighborhoods, from homes where people can’t afford to hire a funeral director to handle the burial. There have been more than 13,000 deaths from Covid-19, and the public health system is collapsing under the weight of the grim toll. What’s left for the poor is a death with little dignity.

At the city’s El Angel Cemetery crematorium, many of the staff handling bodies also are Venezuelans.

“The Peruvians don’t do it. It’s tough,” said Orlando Arteaga, who works seven days a week, earning the money he needs to support three children in Venezuela and a 2-year-old daughter in Lima. He told CNN he never imagined he would see so much death, but that “somebody has to do it — and we need work.”

Peru has been hit hard by the outbreak and its death toll continues to rise.

As of July 28, Peru has seen more than 390,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and there have been 18,418 deaths related to the virus. These numbers have skyrocketed in recent weeks. In fact, at the beginning of the crisis, Peru appeared as a model for other countries in the region.

Peru was praised early on in the pandemic for its swift and decisive response, buffered by an enviable fiscal cushion. But four months later, the government’s disjointed execution of its strategy has made the country a cautionary tale for how not to fight Covid-19. Early on, Peru’s government imposed a strict lockdown that is only now being eased. A few days later, a fiscal package of more than 10% of GDP was announced, including cash transfers to the poorest third of the population, credit support for businesses and, most importantly, expanded funding to the health sector.

And yet, Peru’s record on dealing with the pandemic has not only been disappointing – it is among the worst in the world.

Venezuelan refugees have been pouring out of the country looking for better opportunities and ways to support their families.

Although Venezuela hasn’t been hit hard by the Coronavirus, compared to other countries – although this is beginning to change. However, it’s experiencing an economic catastrophe that has left millions in extreme poverty.

The country has recorded almost 16,000 cases of Covid-19 and less than 150 deaths. But the country is being ravaged by fuel and electricity shortages, a near worthless currency, and political strife that has rendered much of the government useless.

Countries in the region are being dramatically affected by the fallout. Neighboring Colombia, for instance, has absorbed some 1.6 million Venezuelan refugees to date in a migration wave that is severely straining government resources and adversely impacting the national economy. Peru has experienced much the same dynamic, as — to a lesser extent — have countries like Ecuador, Brazil and Chile. That’s because eight out of ten Venezuelan refugees have remained in Latin America and the Caribbean, so local governments have been forced to bear the brunt of Venezuela’s unfolding collapse.

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Have A Virtual Hot Date? Here’s How To Make Sure It Doesn’t Suck

Culture

Have A Virtual Hot Date? Here’s How To Make Sure It Doesn’t Suck

MixMedia / Getty Images

For the single introverts among us, lockdown might seem like the perfect opportunity to re-charge our social batteries and have some much needed alone-time. But no, thanks to the wonders of technology and just how damn adaptable human beings are, virtual dating has totally become a thing. 

For better or for worse, people are dating just as much as ever – albeit through a screen. So if you’re using dating apps during lockdown, arranging video dates and looking for virtual date ideas, here’s a handy guide on how to stay safe and how to ace virtual dating.

Make a damn effort

Act as if the date was in person and get ready accordingly. Shower if you haven’t already that day — it’ll make you feel a lot better — and put on your favorite outfit. Even if it’s not seasonally appropriate, who cares? Wear the sundress pushed all the way back in your closet. Put on makeup if that’s your thing, and do your hair. 

It makes all the difference not only in how you present yourself but by how you perceive yourself. You’ll feel better on the date, more like your “usual” self. 

Figure out your camera setup beforehand

Pro-tip: Do all this the day before, or at least an hour before, the date starts. That way you’re not scrambling and worrying about your angles. Decide if you’re going to use your phone or computer. Put it at eye-level, if possible. If you’re using a laptop, you can place it on a stack of books, but you can also DIY it by leaning your phone against your laptop screen (which can have its own book stack setup) or anything else you can find. 

And…lighting…lighting….lighting! Set yourself up with some good, flattering lighting before you start the call. Find a place that’s the most flattering in your house. Be sure you’re not backlit by a window which can wash out your face.

Simulate real date ideas

Credit: Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

Although you obviously can’t “grab a drink” together, you can simulate that. Text before the date and decide if you’ll be drinking wine, coffee, or eating dinner “together.” You can even do a twist on “Netflix and chill,” simultaneously using Netflix’s “party” function; if you go that route, choose something campy or that you’ve both seen before so you can chat easily during it.

Trust your instincts

“A nip slip may not be appropriate for a date with a new person,” Moraya DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist, joked to Refinery 29. “It’s modern times, so I think there will be the temptation for people to be really bold and ask about FaceTime sex. People are horny and trapped in their houses. On one hand, that’s okay, but on the other, you’re risking someone taking screenshots,” she cautions. “Listen to your intuition and don’t do something you don’t feel comfortable with.”

She adds that you shouldn’t take the call from bed, because “you’re immediately sending all these other signals unintentionally.” Generally, she says you should conduct the date as you would in person.

Expect awkwardness to happen, because it will happen

Credit: Peter Dazely / Getty Images

Awkwardness isn’t necessarily a bad thing and, when dating is involved, it’s inevitable. First dates in real life have their own clumsy moments, so don’t beat yourself up if your camera freezes for a moment, or if you talk over the other person. It’s going to happen! Just laugh about it and move on.

Stay safe and comfortable

Although it may seem like common sense, being cooped up inside for so long has left many of us lacking some of the most basic people skills. Remember to not give out any of your personal details – think home address and bank details – and watch out for any suspicious links that might come through in the chat.

Before the date, it’s also a good idea to do some recon on your date’s social media to make sure they are who they say they are. Also, don’t show your face on camera if they’re not showing theirs, that’s a serious red flag.

And lastly, know that you can end the date whenever you want to. You don’t owe anybody anything and it’s totally fine if you’re feeling uncomfortable or in danger to just end the call. But remember, basic dating etiquete also still remains so don’t just close your computer screen without saying goodbye because you’re just not feeling the vibe.

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Music’s Biggest Night Is Officially Postponed As COVID-19 Wreaks Havoc On California

Entertainment

Music’s Biggest Night Is Officially Postponed As COVID-19 Wreaks Havoc On California

Kevin Winter / Getty

The 2021 Grammys won’t be taking place as expected at the end of the month. According to Rolling Stone, the Grammys have been postponed indefinitely thanks to the extreme surge of COVID-19 cases in the Los Angeles area – which is where the Grammys take place year after year.

The shocking surge in cases of COVID-19 have forced the Grammys to postpone the award show.

It was announced just this week that Los Angeles County – which is currently experiencing one the worst outbreaks in the world – is seeing someone die of COVID-19 every 15 minutes. Meanwhile, a reported 7,600 people in LA are hospitalized with COVID symptoms.

As many Angelenos – and Americans across the country – remain under strict stay-at-home orders, it would definitely not seem right to move forward with a glitzy award show that would risk making the outbreak worse.

As a result, the Grammys are planning a limited production event to take place in March, according to The Fader. In other words, no live audience and only performers and presenters on-site. Nominees and winners would likely accept their awards remotely like many of last year’s award ceremonies during the first wave of the pandemic.

This year’s Grammys were expected to feature big moments for the Latin music industry.

Bad Bunny was expected to pick up awards and was rumored as a performer. Other Latino nominees included J Balvin, Camilo, Arca and Lido Pimienta. Meanwhile, Selena was also scheduled to receive a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award that her family was planning to accept on her behalf.

Original Story Posted November 10, 2020:

Seriously, it was just last year that some of the world’s most popular artists – reggaetoneros and trap artists like Bad Bunny and J Balvin – were completely ignored. I mean it was so serious there was even a hashtag: “Sin Reggaetón, No Hay Grammy.”

At the 2019 Latin Grammy Awards, the top award categories very conspicuously left out these very artists. However, this year they’re dominating all the categories and bringing in a record number of nominations.

The 2020 Latin Grammy nominations are in and they definitely do a better job at representing the community than last year’s.

In 2019, the Latin Grammy’s went viral but really for all the wrong reasons. social media exploded as Latin artists posted images of the Grammy logo with a large red “X″ across it, with words on the image reading in Spanish: “Without reggaeton, there’s no Latin Grammys.” Balvin even skipped the live show and Bad Bunny, who won best urban music album during the telecast, told the audience: “With all due respect, reggaeton is part of the Latin culture.”

This definitely forced the Grammy’s to reconsider this year’s awards.

“Over the last year, we continued engaging in discussions with our members to improve the awards process and actively encouraged diverse Latin music creators to join and participate,” Latin Academy President and CEO Gabriel Abaroa Jr. said in a statement, calling this year’s nominees “a group that reflects the constant evolution of Latin music.”

To honor Latin rap and reggaeton performers, the Latin Grammys added new categories this year, including best reggaeton performance and best rap/hip-hop song.

J Balvin leads the pack with an astonishing 13 Grammy nominations.

In announcing this year’s nominees, J Balvin is in the lead with 13 total nods, including two nominations Album of the year, thanks to his own album Colores and his collab with Bad Bunny, OASIS.

The Colombian reggaetonero has a chance to win his first album of the year prize — a category with 10 contenders – and his chances look pretty good. However, even if he doesn’t pick up that, he’s in the running for several other awards.

Bad Bunny is close behind with nine nominations for what was a record-breaking year for the artist.

Bad Bunny is included in the Album of the Year category for his album YHLQMDLG (which was this year’s best-selling Latin album), however, his surprise album, LAS QUE NO IBAN A SALIR, wasn’t recognized in any category.

In the Best Urban album category, Bad Bunny’s YHLQMDLG is up against Anuel AA’s Emmanuel, Benito’s Oasis with J Balvin, Balvin’s Colores, Feid’s Ferxxo: Vol. 1 M.O.R., Ozuna’s Nibiru, Sech’s 1 of 1, and rising Puerto Rican rapper Myke Towers’Easy Money Baby.

Meanwhile, the Album of the Year category could get pretty interesting with this caliber of nominees.

This year’s Album of the Year category prove what an incredible year 2020 was for Latin music. We were blessed with hit after hit which was all the more important considering what a traumatic year it’s been.

Bad Bunny and J Balvin are both competing for the award. San Benito’s YHLQMDLG faces off against Balvin’s Colores and their joint album OASIS. Meanwhile, albums from Camilo (Por Primera Vez), Ricky Martin (PAUSA EP), and Kany García (Mesa Para Dos), are all up for the same award. What’s extra special about this category this year is that it’s also featuring three nominees from the LGBTQ community.

This year’s top-selling record, “Tusa”, is also up for a Grammy.

Colombian reggaetonera Karol G along with Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj are nominated for this hit song that has just blown up the airwaves this entire year.

“Tusa” is the sole Latin trap nominee in the song of the year category, where 11 tracks are in contention. It’s a departure for Karol G, who didn’t receive a single nomination last year and was part of the group of uber-successful Latin trap and reggaeton artists who were dissed in top categories like album, song and record of the year. This year, the Colombian performer who was named best new artist in 2018 has four nominations, including two shared with Minaj.

It’s encouraging to see the academy actually reflect what is happening in Latin music. The inclusion of this larger variety of artists helps illustrate just how diverse the Latin music industry really is. But to see who actually takes home the awards will be a different story. The Latin Grammy Awards will air live from Miami on Nov. 19 on Univision.

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