Things That Matter

Father Of Seven Died Of COVID But Recorded Emotional Video For His Kids Before He Passed

Although many states are moving to reopen their economies, we are not yet out of the woods when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of this week, there are still more than 60,000 people testing positive for COVID-19 each and every day and almost 12,000 have died in March.

Among those victims is 35-year-old Charles “Charley” Torres, a father to seven children who, despite his condition, was able to record a farewell video to his kids before he passed away.

A Texas man lost his battle to COVID-19 and leaves behind seven kids.

Like so many families who have lost loved ones to the COVID-19 virus, 35-year-old Charles “Charley” Torres leaves behind so many, including seven children (three children and four stepchildren.)

Two weeks before he died, as he struggled to breath, he said his goodbyes to his family in an emotional video. “I love you with all my heart. I love you so much,” Torres said in the powerful video. “Take care of your mother. I love you.”

There were times when his family thought he would beat COVID-19, but 30 days after he was admitted to the hospital on Jan. 15, he died. It was Valentine’s Day.

“He went in and never came out,” said his father, Alex Torres, during an interview KTRK-TV on Friday. “It’s like losing your shadow. No matter where you go, you have him backing you up all the time.”

His greater calling, said his parents, was family. He was a good husband to his wife Ana and father to his children and stepchildren. Three of them are under 6 years old. “He took them everywhere. He did everything with him.”

Torres is another victim in the nation’s battle against the pandemic.

Torres was from Manvel, Texas. He was an Eagle Scout in high school and became a firefighter with the Manvel Volunteer Fire Department. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus Council #6403 and president of the Austin Diocese Knights on Bikes, a Knights of Columbus motorcycle outreach group.

More recently, he worked as a FEMA Disaster Assistance Specialist.
“He’s always been a servant. He’s done so many things for people,” said his mother, Joanie Torres. “We always say, ‘Charley’s heart is bigger than his body,’ and he’s just that type of person.”

Torres is among the almost 43,000 Texans who have died of COVID-19, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.
His parents said he had underlying health conditions. As people of faith, they see his death as going home. The family has since set up a GoFundMe to help his children.

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This Latina Is Making COVID Piñatas So People Can Take Their Pandemic Anger Out In a Fun Way

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This Latina Is Making COVID Piñatas So People Can Take Their Pandemic Anger Out In a Fun Way

Photo via the_pinata_shop/Instagram

Like many people, Carolina Tolladay Vidal’s COVID-19 hit her business hard. Tolladay Vidal runs a piñata business in Anchorage, Alaska, and with so many fiestas being canceled, her piñata sales were plummeting.

For fun, Carolina Tolladay Vidal created some COVID-virus-shaped piñatas to post to her social media page. And suddenly, orders for the quirky piñatas began to pile up.

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A post shared by Carolina Vidal (@the_pinata_shop)

Around July 4th of last year, Tolladay Vidal posted the following: “We’ve had it with you COVID19! This mama is tired of social distancing, postponing parties, canceling trips, juggling with kids 24/7, and this whole new lifestyle (I won’t lie, love the lazy days too!! So…prepare to die!! [laughing emoji] Want a chance to win this FILLED corona virus piñata? Stay tuned for details tomorrow!”

Her followers, dying to have a chance to unleash their pandemic-related anger in a fun way, immediately connected with her new product. “You are a creative genius!” wrote one of her followers. Another wrote: “Ja jajjajaja buenísima!!! [clapping hands emojis]”.

via the_pinata_shop/Instagram

Carolina Tolladay Vidal said that her inspiration for the COVID piñatas came from her own frustration at the way COVID has negatively impacted her life. “Many of the projects I had were moved to other dates,” she told Alaska Public Media. “Many were canceled.”

Tolladay Vidal explained that hitting the COVID piñatas was both fun and cathartic. “I think you really smash them and break them and hit them with meaning because it has been tough for everybody,” she said.

She also acknowledged how smashing the COVID piñatas was “bittersweet”–the sweetness from the piñata, of course. The bitterness from, well…being in a pandemic for over a year.

Carolina Tolladay Vidal learned the craft of piñata-making from her abuela when she was growing up in Mexico.

via the_pinata_shop/Instagram

“I have a memory of my grandma setting up all the grandchildren and helping her make a couple star pinatas with the seven points,” she told Alaska Public Media.

She created her own business, The Piñata Shop, when her daughter requested a very specific piñata for her birthday that CTV couldn’t find in stores. ““I had looked in the stores in town. I looked online, and I didn’t find anything,” she said. “And I thought, ‘Well, you know, it shouldn’t be so hard to make up a piñata.’”

A true jefa, Carolina Tolladay Vidal also runs an artisanal online jewelry store designing and selling Talavera jewelry called Folksy Bonitas. Creative genius, indeed!

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As The U.S. Expands Vaccine Eligibility Here’s What You Need To Know

Things That Matter

As The U.S. Expands Vaccine Eligibility Here’s What You Need To Know

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Starting today, everyone 16 and older can get in line for the Coronavirus vaccine. This is a huge milestone that has been months in the making after a very ambitious plan by the Biden administration.

But with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine still on pause, many have been wondering what the vaccine program will look like – especially since nearly everyone is now eligible to receive a shot in the arm.

As of Monday, anyone 16 and over is technically eligible to receive the Coronavirus vaccine.

On Monday, every state in the U.S. expanded its vaccine eligibility to include all adults over the age of 16, meeting President Biden’s deadline which he established two weeks ago.

The country is now administering 3.2 million doses a day on average, and half of all adults have now received at least one dose. Additionally, 84.3 million people have now been fully vaccinated against the disease. These are truly encouraging figures in the fight against the pandemic but a lot of uncertainty remains.

Ok but can I get a shot?

Technically, yes, anyone over the age of 16 is now eligible for the vaccine but your access to it really varies from state to state.

Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, D.C., were the last to open up eligibility on Monday, after other states expanded access to the general public over the past month.

If the country’s present vaccination rate continues, 70% of the total U.S. population could be vaccinated by June 17 and 90% by July 25, the New York Times has projected. That timeline will likely depend on what happens with Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, however, as distribution is now paused following reports of blood clots, despite being statistically extremely rare.

So, what’s going on with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

On Sunday, the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony S. Fauci said that he believed the pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will likely be lifted on Friday. During interviews on talk shows, Fauci stated that he expected federal health officials to decide on the vaccine’s future by the end of the week and that he did not anticipate the vaccine being permanently banned.

One alternative to banning is to limit who is able to receive the one dose shot, perhaps limiting it to males over the age of 50. This is how Europe adjusted its strategy following similar blood clotting issues with the Astra Zeneca vaccine, which was created using similar methods.

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