Things That Matter

What The Heck Is Going On In The DR That Made 47 Jimmy Buffett Fans Violently Sick On A Recent Trip

Recently, we’ve gotten reports of tourist deaths resulting in visits to the Dominican Republic. Fortunately, this story doesn’t have any casualties but it’s further proof of trouble in paradise. This time, it’s a group of 114 Oklahoma-based Jimmy Buffett fans who have fallen ill.

In an April trip to Punta Cana, 47 of the fans allegedly got violently sick during their trip.

Twitter / @msn

The group — the Central Oklahoma Parrothead Association — spent a week at the Dominican Republic’s Hotel Riu Palace Macao. During the trip, the nearly 50 fans began feeling ill; experiencing extreme diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches. Dana Flowers, a member, and the group’s travel agent, told PEOPLE that they first thought the illness was food poisoning.

“We went [to the resort] for the week — some longer, some shorter,” he shared with the magazine. “We were enjoying the beach and the pool, and about 3 or 4 days into the trip we started hearing about people getting sick.”

Unfortunately, some of the group’s members are still experiencing symptoms two months afterwards.

Twitter / @NYDailyNews

It wasn’t until after the symptoms worsened that the group suspected it was more than food poisoning that was making them sick. According to Flowers, who also got sick, everyone who became ill swam in a specific pool or drank at the pool’s swim-up bar.

Things became more suspicious when the group sought medical treatment from doctors in the Dominican Republic.

“Most of them got an IV, then were prescribed a medicine for parasites,” Flowers explained. “[The doctors] didn’t do any testing, they just automatically gave them medicine for parasites.”

According to Flowers, two members of the group tested positive for salmonella after returning to the States.

Twitter / @puppet90210

In a statement provided to PEOPLE, Hotel Riu Palace Macao is denying responsibility for the illness.

The statement reads in part:

“We are aware that three guests staying last April at this hotel and coming from the same group … were attended by a possible case of gastroenteritis in our doctor’s office. These events occurred after an external activity of this group outside the hotel, so we can not determine the exact origin of the stomach upset. … No more similar cases were registered by other guests during the indicated date above.”

In response to the illnesses and deaths coming from DR, there are calls for Americans to no longer visit the country.

Twitter / @BTruhome

As far as we know, it’s only American tourists suffering illness and death from visits to DR. The public outcry will no doubt impact American tourism to the country.

According to some, this has been going on much longer than we realized.

Twitter / @Pbosslady

This Twitter user shared a response from a personal incident at the Punta Cana Hotel and Casino Hard Rock. She became ill after drinking wine at the hotel’s karaoke bar. As she pointed out, these clusters of incidents are finally calling proper attention to this problem.

Some are even suggesting government interference to prevent this from happening again.

Twitter / @Beauty4Ashes_1

It’s likely that the CDC — which is investigating the deaths out of DR — will enact a travel ban if one comes about. However, maybe it’s best to avoid this part of the Caribbean for now regardless of a ban.

Dominican Fashion Designer Jenny Polanco Dies From COVID-19 Complications

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Dominican Fashion Designer Jenny Polanco Dies From COVID-19 Complications

jennypolanco / Instagram

Dominicans and the fashion world are mourning the death of Dominican fashion designer Jenny Polanco. The world-renowned designer had just traveled to Spain when she fell ill. People are showing their love and appreciation of Polanco on social media in a time when physical activities have been limited.

Dominican fashion designer Jenny Polanco has died from COVID-19.

The Dominican Republic’s public health minister Rafael Sánchez announced Polanco’s death. Polanco is the first Latino celebrity who has died from the virus. Polanco is among the first six people to die from the novel coronavirus on the Caribbean island.

Miami Fashion Week dedicated a tribute post to the Caribbean fashion designer.

The designer showed a collection at the last Miami Fashion Week and her sudden loss has saddened those associated with the event. Polanco was able to celebrate her Caribbean roots with the classic avant-garde style. Her take on fashion was breathtaking in its simplicity coupled with their energetic shapes.

Fashion fans are offering loving tributes to Polanco.

“May Dominican designer jenny Polanco rest in peace,” the Twitter user wrote. “The coronavirus took a creative, colorful, beach mind.”

Polanco, like many people who have taken ill, had recently traveled.

A lot of people who have tested positive in the first wave of infections in different countries had recently traveled to a country where the virus was spreading. Since the start of the outbreak, some countries have closed their borders and set travel restrictions as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19.

If you are feeling sick, call your doctor and tell them your symptoms. You can also visit the CDC for more information about COVID-19 and what you can do to prevent catching the virus and what to do if you get sick.

READ: Someone Turned Cardi B’s Coronavirus Rant Into A Remix Now It’s On The Billboard Charts

A Quick Explanation About What Is Happening In The Dominican Republic

Things That Matter

A Quick Explanation About What Is Happening In The Dominican Republic

josejhan / Instagram

Dominicans across the world are protesting in unison to demand transparency in the recent elections in the Dominican Republic. The protests stem from a recent municipal election that many are calling into question. Faulty voting machines and a lack of transparency have set off a warning call within the global Dominican community fearing election tampering and a power grab. Here’s what we know so far.

Dominicans are demanding answers about irregularities in the latest election on the island.

Four hours into the voting process, the Dominican government reported irregularities with the voting machines. According to officials, 60 percent of the voting machines were experiencing the same issue of showing voters incomplete ballots. Many showed just one party on the ballot. That’s when the government, in an unprecedented move, suspended the Feb. 16 elections.

People across the island have joined in taking to the streets to protest against the government’s decision to suspend the elections.

Tensions are flaring on the island about election tampering and voting after one party has ruled the presidency for 24 years. It is also three months until the general elections and Dominicans don’t trust the process after the latest snafu.

“The electronic vote failed us that morning,” Electoral Board Presiden Julio César Castaños Guzmán, said at a press conference.

Yet, Casatños Guzmán admitted that the Dominican government was warned that they knew of the issue before the elections began but were under the impression that they could be fixed when the machines were installed. The elections proved that the issue was not corrected.

Concerned Dominicans are desperately trying to shine a full light on what they consider an imminent dictatorship.

“The Dominican people are under a dictatorship disguised as democracy,” Alejandro Contreras, a protester in New York told NBC News. “We will be demanding the resignation of all the members of the electoral board, as well as a formal public explanation on the impunity and corruption within the government, among other issues.”

The protests and election fears come the same week as the Dominican Republic’s independence day.

On Feb. 27, 1844, the Dominican Independence War led to the imperial independence of the Dominican Republic from Haiti. The number of casualties from the war are unknown but Haiti is estimated to have lost three times more soldiers than the Dominican Republic.

The fears of a dictatorship are real on the island who was under a dictatorship for 31 years in the 20th century. Rafael Trujillo ruled the island with a brutal fist from February 1930 until his assassination in May 1961. He was president of the island for two terms covering 18 years from 1930 to 1938 and again from 1942 to 1952. After the last term, he ruled as an unelected military man keeping the island in fear.

All eyes are on the Dominican Republic and their government as Dominicans across the world fight to preserve its democracy.

Credit: @sixtalee / Twitter

Sigue luchando. El pueblo unido, jamas sera vencido. Viva la democracia.

READ: After A Year Of Bad Press, The Dominican Republic Launches Campaign To Bring Tourists Back