Things That Matter

New Mom Dies Of COVID-19 Before She Could Even Hold Her Newborn Baby

As the COVID-19 pandemic spirals out of control across the United States, we are hearing more and more heartbreaking tales of devastes families mourning the loss of loved ones.

In what can only be described as a tragedy, a 33-year-old mother gave birth to a healthy son only to die before even having the chance to ever hold him. Her untimely death has devastated her family, but her brother is using her death to remind all of us of the very real dangers this virus poses.

A mother gave birth to a healthy son as she battled Coronavirus but died before she got to hold him.

Erika Becerra, 33, had visited the hospital in November for contractions but was sent home in good health shortly after. Unfortunately, shortly after retuning home she started having difficulty breathing and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. There she was diagnosed with COVID-19 and her condition quickly deteriorated.

Upon suffering extreme difficulty in breathing, doctors decided to induce labor on November 15. Her baby boy, Diego Antonio Becerra, was born healthy and Covid-negative, however, Becerra never had the chance to hold her newborn baby. She was immediately intubated and died weeks later on December 3.

“She had a normal labor, she gave birth to her son but didn’t get to hold him because right after she gave birth, that’s when they put in the tube and then from there she just started declining,” her brother Michael Avilez told CBS LA through tears.

Avilez and the rest of his family traveled to Michigan from Los Angeles to be with Becerra in her final moments. “Towards the last moments, she was tearing up. I know she heard us as we prayed for her, we talked to her, we comforted her in the last moments,” he said.

“I know God needed her more than I did and with open arms, we gave her to God last night,” Avilez added.

Becerra’s brother has taken to the airwaves to shine a light on his sister and to warn Americans of the real dangers we face.

Becerra is described as “a very caring individual” who was “never biased, never critical, always accepting and joyful. Erica was the most wonderful person you could ever meet,” Avilez told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “For her, other people’s happiness was her happiness.”

“All my sister wanted was the best for everybody and she cared about lives. She didn’t deserve to go through what she went through,” Avilez told CBS LA, adding that he doesn’t understand why some people are not taking the virus seriously.

“It’s is a real thing,” he said of COVID-19. “I don’t know why people don’t comprehend that.”

GoFundMe campaign has been set up for the family to cover their travel expenses and funeral costs.

Becerra was one of the victims of what was the deadliest week for the U.S. since the pandemic began.

Even before the Thanksgiving holiday, the U.S. was seeing startling trends in the pandemic. Numbers have been rising to the highest levels since the initial days of the pandemic back in March.

But the past week has been the deadliest week for the Coronavirus since April in the U.S. And Erika Becerra was one of the 15,658 Covid 19 deaths over the last seven days. For the sixth day in a row, more than 100,000 people are being treated for the virus in hospitals across the country.

Medical experts are worried about what the future holds for the state of our healthcare system as it’s already overwhelmed. Yet we’re about to head into the busy Christmas and New Year’s holidays when families will be gathering despite pleading from public health experts.

It’s more important than ever that each of us reevaluates are holiday plans and stay at home if possible. We each play an important part in containing this pandemic and we each hold the key to saving someone’s life, someone like Erika Becerra.

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Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Things That Matter

Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Photo via Getty Images

Currently, Brazil is one of the world’s epicenters of the coronavirus. In March 2021, Brazil saw 66,573 COVID-19-related deaths. That means 1 in every 3 COVID-related deaths worldwide are occuring in Brazil.

And it doesn’t appear that the numbers will be slowing down anytime soon. While the United States is making strides in their COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Brazil is lagging far behind. And things are about to get a lot more complicated.

On Tuesday, Brazil passed a bill that would allow corporations to buy up as many vaccines as they can get their hands on, and privately distribute them to their employees first.

Elected officials in Brazil are arguing that the country has become so desperate to vaccinate its citizens, that it doesn’t matter who gets the vaccines first at this point.

The country, once renowned for having one of the most robust and efficient public vaccine-distribution programs in the world, has failed to make strides towards getting their citizens vaccinated.

“We are at war,” said the leader of the chamber, Arthur Lira. “And in war, anything goes to save lives.” We don’t know about you, but usually when it comes to war, we’ve heard that soldiers prioritize the health and safety of young, the weak, and the elderly before their own? We digress…

Brazil’s plan to privatize the vaccine rollout has brought up moral and ethical questions.

From the beginning, the World Health Organization has asked countries to first prioritize essential health workers and then high-risk populations when distributing the vaccine.

Anything other than that would promote a pay-to-play schemes in which the rich could protect their lives before poor people could. And poor people are more likely to die from COVID-19 in the first place.

As Alison Buttenheim, behavioral scientist and expert on the equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine said, vaccine distribution should not “exacerbate disparities and inequities in health care,” but instead address them. Brazil’s vaccine rollout plan would fail to do any of the above.

If countries begin to allow the rich to prioritize their own interests during the vaccine rollout, the consequences could be disastrous.

In a time when the world is stoked by fear and uncertainty, the worst thing that can happen is for rich companies to exacerbate inequalities by effectively choosing who lives or dies.

As the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization said at the beginning of the global vaccine rollout: “any distribution of vaccines should advance human well-being and honor global equity, national equity, reciprocity, and legitimacy.”

Poor Brazilians should not be left to fend for themselves against COVID-19 simply because they are poor.

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Mother And Teen Daughter Endured Ten Years Of Separation, A Dramatic Border, And A Covid Hospitalization To Be Together

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Mother And Teen Daughter Endured Ten Years Of Separation, A Dramatic Border, And A Covid Hospitalization To Be Together

Lucas Uebel / Getty

Separated from her mother for a decade, seventeen-year-old Cindy (who is only being identified by her first name) took a chance last month to see her. Despite her age, a raging pandemic, and the risks of crossing the Mexico–United States border she journeyed from Honduras to see her mother in New York. Her love for her mother was so deep, she was willing to risk everything.

In her mission, Cindy wound up in U.S. immigration facilities where she contracted Covid-19. After three days in a hospital bed in California, Cindy was finally able to contact her mother who had not learned of her daughter’s hospitalization.

Thanks to the help of a doctor who lent her their phone Cindy was able to make the call to her mother, Maria Ana.

“There are backlogs and delays in communication that are really unacceptable,” Maria Ana’s immigration lawyer Kate Goldfinch, who is also the president of the nonprofit Vecina, explained to NBC.

After learning about her daughter’s COVID-19 hospitalization, Maria Ana feared the worst. “Following weeks of anguish and uncertainty, Maria Ana spent most of her nights painting the bedroom she has fixed for Cindy, just ‘waiting for my girl,'” she explained to NBC.

Last Wednesday night, Maria Ana flew to San Diego to be with her daughter after she’d finally recovered from Covid.

At the emotional mother-daughter reunion, Maria Ana assured her daughter “no one else is going to hurt you.”

After Cindy crossed the border, she spent several days in a detention facility in Texas in the custody of Customs and Border Protection. According to NBC “On any given night, Cindy said, she would share two mattresses with about eight other girls. She could shower only every five days in one of the eight showers the facility had to serve 700 girls.”

“It was really bad,” Cindy told the outlet..

Cindy was among almost 13,350 unaccompanied children left in the care and custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement at HHS. This last year has seen over 3,715 unaccompanied children at these facilities diagnosed with Covid-19. Worse, there are currently 528 unaccompanied children who have tested positive for Covid-19 and put in medical isolation.

Now, immigration advocates and families are pressing the U.S. government to pick up reunions of children and their families in the United States. Over 80 percent of unaccompanied minors currently in federal custody have family living in the states. According to Goldfinch, “40 percent have parents in the U.S.”

“So we would think that it would be fairly quick and simple to release a child to their own parent. But because of the chaos of the system, the reunification of these kids with their parents is really frustrating and backlogged,” Goldfinch explained, “most frustrating, of course, for the actual children and their parents.”

While Cindy was in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, no one managed to notify Ana Maria that her daughter was in the hospital according to Goldfinch

“I don’t know why my daughter has to be suffering this way, because it’s not fair. It’s something very sad for me,” Maria Ana explained to NBC

“I’ve already been through a lot,” Cindy went onto share. “But I hope it’s all worth it.”

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