Things That Matter

Another Man Has Died Of Covid-19 In ICE Custody And The Agency Still Lacks Any Plan To Prevent More Deaths

For months, migrant and refugee rights organizations have implored the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – the agency that oversees ICE – to release all people in their custody to avoid mass contagion. The fear has been that keeping thousands of people in close quarters and without proper access to medical care could result in the deaths of countless people.

ICE has refused to acknowledge the risk and instead has been shifting migrants around in a strategy of ‘mitigating’ risk. The results have been mixed as reports of low testing capacity and lack of medical care have called the organization’s strategy into question.

News broke on May 6 of the first migrant in ICE custody to die of Covid-19, now it’s been confirmed that a second detainee has died of the virus. And now many are wondering who’s next and how bad will it get?

A Guatemalan man has become the second confirmed death related to Covid-19 while in ICE custody.

Credit: Core Civic

Santiago Baten-Oxlag, a 34-year-old from Guatemala, died of complications from Covid-19 on Sunday. He becomes the second confirmed victim of the virus while in ICE custody after a man from El Salvador died in early May.

Baten-Oxlag has been transferred to a hospital from ICE’s Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. He’d been in the hospital since April 17, according to CBS News, while waiting to voluntarily return to Guatemala.

The 34-year-old had been in ICE custody since March 2, when he was arrested at a probation office in Marietta, Georgia, following a conviction for driving under the influence, ICE told Buzzfeed News. He agreed to voluntarily leave the US on March 26.

A 57-year-old man was the first confirmed Covid-19 related death in ICE custody.

Credit: Sarah Voisin / Getty

A 57-year-old man, Carlos Ernesto Escobar Mejia, from El Salvador who had tested positive for COVID-19 died in ICE custody in Southern California on Wednesday.

Mejia had been in ICE custody at the Otay Mesa Detention Center near the California border with Mexico since January and tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, on April 24.

Reports of the man’s death drew swift condemnation from immigrant rights organizations, who’ve been pushing for weeks for ICE to release more detainees from its facilities and arguing coronavirus poses a deadly threat to immigrants behind bars.

“The heartbreaking tragedy at Otay Mesa could have been prevented had US immigration officials heeded the recommendations of medical experts and acted in time,” said Dr. Ranit Mishori, a senior medical adviser for Physicians for Human Rights, in a statement.

For months, several major organizations have called for an orderly, coordinated release of detainees in ICE and CBP detention facilities.

Credit: Gregory Bull / Getty

Court challenges in multiple states seek to compel ICE to release detainees in order to reduce the spread of the virus. The Otay Mesa center southeast of San Diego is the subject of such a lawsuit filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The San Diego facility has 132 COVID-19 cases, the most patients by far of the 41 detention centers where the virus has been reported. There have also been 10 employees at the facility who have contracted the virus, according to ICE.

The facility has also been the target of protesters who, on April 11, drove up in vehicles and honked to bring attention to the health conditions.

“Despite unwavering calls to prevent this, Trump’s immigration system took another life,” Paola Luisi, co-director of the immigrant advocacy group Families Belong Together said in a statement Wednesday.

“You cannot cage a virus, and it is impossible to safely physically distance behind bars,” she said. “We fear this tragic death will be the first.”

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People Are Actually Giving Their Children Honest-To-God Coronavirus-Inspired Names

Fierce

People Are Actually Giving Their Children Honest-To-God Coronavirus-Inspired Names

EZEQUIEL BECERRA / Getty

Inspiration truly does strike at the weirdest moments.

Even in a pandemic.

According to reports from India a couple by the name of Preeti and Vinay Verma, chose to name their newborn twins Covid and Corona in an effort to remember the current pandemic. But it’s not just the parents of India finding inspiration in these dark times. A report out of the Philippines revealed that a pair of parents named their child Covid Bryant– an homage to both the virus and the recently deceased basketball legend Kobe Bryant.

Speaking about their new baby names Preeti Verma said she wanted to ease anxieties related to the names.

“We wished to ease the anxiety and fear associated with these words and also make the occasion memorable,” Preeti said in an interview.

Of course, there’s no doubt COVID-19 will be a defining virus for people across the globe and for generations as well. Speculation that the pandemic will spark a “coronial” generation gained quite a bit of hype. The Brookings Institution, however, estimated that the U.S. birth rate will decline by another 7-10%  this coming year which equates to nearly 300,000 to 500,000 less births. A Guttmacher Institute survey found that “34% of women said they wanted to get pregnant later or wanted fewer children because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

But what about the babies that are being born during the pandemic? It turns out the pandemic might actually be inspiring more and more of their names. A survey, conducted by ChannelMum.com, recently revealed that 43% of parents believe the coronavirus outbreak will affect what they will name their newborns. The survey also found that 7% of parents have had a change of heart on what to name their children as a result of the pandemic.

For some less morbid name inspiration check out some of the best monikers inspired by lockdown that we could find, below!

Vida

Spanish for “life” which is pretty sweet and optimistic.

Anthony

Some parents might opt to name their children after the voice of wisdom during these strange times.

Cora

Less intense and direct than Corona.

Vira

Vira means “hero” in Hindi.

Tina 

Short for quarantine.,

Demi 

Short for pandemic.

Hope

Much more optimistic in these strange times.

Solita

Spanish for solitude, which a lot of us are experiencing right now.

Stella

Which means “light” and also draws hope.

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Hands-Free Cholula Dispensers Have Become a Thing In Restaurants Because of COVID-19

Culture

Hands-Free Cholula Dispensers Have Become a Thing In Restaurants Because of COVID-19

Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

It is a truth universally acknowledged that 2020 has been, well, the year from hell. But, like with any terrible events, there has been a few silver linings. More flexible work schedules. More alone time with family members.

And now, the mother of all silver linings: hands-free Cholula dispensers.

No, we’re not kidding. Earlier this month, the cult-favorite hot sauce brand announced that they have partnered with appliance tech company simplehuman to develop a hands-free dispenser for restaurants. Per Cholula, the invention was made in response to the need for a safer way to dispense hot sauce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When restaurant operators began removing Cholula bottles from tabletops amid the pandemic, we needed to develop a solution that could adapt to their new environment,” said Cholula’s CEO, Maura Mottolese, in a press release. “The collaboration between simplehuman and Cholula combines the best in technology and taste to revolutionize the condiment station to meet the needs of the customer and the foodservice industry in the ever-changing landscape that is 2020.”

The invention is–dare we say–genius.

Various video demonstrations of the gadget show that a user need only to hover the hand over the Cholula dispenser to be gifted with a glorious stream of hot sauce coming out of its little faucet.

Additionally, the company revealed that the Cholula dispensers would be available for private commercial purchase. According to Cholula, the Touch-Free dispensers will be available for a limited time on Cholula’s website–just in time for the holidays.

“Cholula diehard consumers will have a rare opportunity to purchase a limited number of Cholula x simplehuman Touch-Free Dispensers, the essential gift for contactless holiday meals, starting December 1, 2020 at www.Cholula.com/handsfree,” wrote the hot sauce brand in a press release.

“Optimized for the best saucing experience, the flash sale promotion, priced at $130, includes a Cholula x simplehuman Touch-Free Dispenser PLUS a half-gallon jug of Cholula Original and free shipping.”

Cholula revealed that 100% of the proceeds will go towards the Independent Restaurant Coalition, which is a “nonprofit formed by notable chefs like Tom Colicchio to save independent restaurants affected by COVID-19.”

Naturally, people are hyped that Cholula is selling the hands-free hot sauce dispenser to customers.

This is the type of gift that keeps on giving.

Honestly, “hot sauce innovation” is exactly the type of innovation we need coming out of 2020.

TBH, we deserve good things right now. Thank you Cholula.

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