Things That Matter

We Don’t Deserve Dogs: Our Furry Friends Are Helping Deliver Groceries In Colombia And It’s Too Perfect

Once again, dogs prove that they really are our best friend. And they’re proving themselves to be “essential workers” as the world continues to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.

As social distancing measures became mandatory across Colombia – and the world for that matter – one market in Medellín enlisted the help of their dog Eros, who has helped deliver groceries to local residents who are high-risk of Coronavirus infection.

Dogs are essential workers in some Colombia towns as they help deliver groceries to high-risk residents.

Across the world, social distancing and no-contact delivery have become the norm as communities try to reduce the risk of Coronavirus infection. In Colombia, a dog has joined a force of ‘essential workers’ during the pandemic as he helps to deliver groceries to people at higher risk of Coronavirus complications.

Eight-year-old Eros trots through the streets of this hilly city of Medellín several times a day with a straw basket held in his mouth, plying vegetables, fruit and packaged foods to customers. The friendly Labrador Retriever has been helping the store owner and customers with deliveries in exchange for treats and and few scratches and cuddles.

OK, but a dog doesn’t know people’s addresses so how does he make deliveries?

Credit: Luis Benavides / Getty Images

When the shop first opened, Eros would accompany the store’s owner as she made deliveries to local residents. Over time Eros remembered customer’s names and where they lived, since most greeted him with treats. With some fine tuning, he has learned to go to their houses on his own simply by telling him the name of the delivery customer. According to the store owner the four-legged delivery personnel is super adamant that he be rewarded for his work with a tip: he won’t leave your house until you give him a treat.

The dog knows the names of about five or six of the store’s regular customers and drops by their home to bring in items. The store’s owner sends Eros with a receipt in the basket and the customers pay the bill through a bank transfer.

Although numbers are high, compared to its neighbors in Latin America, Colombia has escaped the worst of the Coronavirus.

As of July 16, Colombia has recorded more than 165,000 cases of Coronavirus and almost 6,000 people have died. Although these numbers show that Colombia is experiencing its own Covid-19 pandemic, compared to other countries across South America, Colombia has fared quite well.

Many credit the lower numbers to the government’s strict lockdown orders at the beginning of the crisis. City governments had to impose strict social distancing measures, limiting the number of days per week that people can go shopping and even shut down their international borders to all travelers – including Colombians trying to return home from abroad. Many credit these strict measures with helping flatten the curve.

The country has also launched a pilot program using dogs to help sniff out the virus.

Aside from dogs helping to deliver groceries, the country has also launched a study – similar to others around the world – to use dogs to help sniff out the Coronavirus in humans.

Medellín has decades of experience training canines to sniff-out illegal drugs, contraband foods and explosives. While working the frontline of narcotics interception at airports and other entry points continue, researchers from the Universidad de Antioquia, Universidad Nacional and the University of Wisconsin have teamed up on a project to teach sniffer dogs how to detect the odor of COVID-19 in symptomatic individuals.

Joining other similar studies around the world in which dogs can detect infectious diseases, cancers and Parkinson’s with incredible accuracy, six dogs are in training sessions. The objective is to increase COVID-19 detection capacity among 100 dogs.

According to doctor and researcher Ómar Vesga Meneses, to carry out the project, saliva samples were taken from 12 patients infected with coronavirus and receiving treatment at San Vicente Fundación hospital in Medellín. Although dogs have outstanding metrics in diagnosing 99% of cases, the investigation is currently focusing on persons with confirmed cases of Coronavirus.

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Peru’s President Survives Impeachment Over Handling Of Coronavirus But What Happens Next?

Things That Matter

Peru’s President Survives Impeachment Over Handling Of Coronavirus But What Happens Next?

Chris Bouroncle / Getty Images

Earlier this month, Peru’s Congress moved to initiate impeachment proceedings against the country’s president over his alleged involvement with a singer involved in a fraud case. However, Peru’s struggle to contain the Coroanvirus outbreak also became a focal point of the impeachment proceedings.

Although, President Martín Vizcarra survived the impeachment vote this week, his country is still spiraling out of control in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic. Peru now has one of the world’s highest mortality rates, made worse by political strife and Peruvians are wondering where the country goes next amid all the turmoil.

Peru’s President survived his impeachment trial but he still faces serious hurdles in the road ahead.

What started out as an alleged fraud and corruption case, devolved into a sort of referendum on Vizcarra’s handling of the country’s failed Coronavirus response. The Coronavirus tragedy has fueled political insurrection. On Sept. 18, an opportunistic legislature tried to oust the president, who has been dogged by accusations of misusing public funds and then covering up the scandal.

However, the revolt fell flat. Just 32 lawmakers voted to remove Vizcarra, glaringly short of the 87-vote impeachment threshold, which is a good thing. Regime change on top of a public health hecatomb might have pushed the afflicted nation that much closer to collapse.

The decision came after long hours of debate in which legislators blasted Vizcarra but also questioned whether a rushed impeachment process would only create more turmoil in the middle of a health and economic crisis.

“It’s not the moment to proceed with an impeachment which would add even more problems to the tragedy we are living,” lawmaker Francisco Sagasti said.

The original impeachment case stemmed from his alleged involvement with a singer who faced serious charges of fraud.

President Vizcarra faced the challenge to his leadership after the Congress approved a motion to start impeachment proceedings against him over leaked audio tapes and alleged ties to a singer involved in a fraud case.

Lawmakers in Peru’s Congress, a mosaic of parties from the left and right with no overall majority, heard recordings of two private conversations between Vizcarra and government officials about meetings with Richard Cisneros, a little-known singer.

Vizcarra told reporters that the new challenge represented “a plot to destabilise the government.” “I am not going to resign,” he said. “I have a commitment to Peru and I will fulfill it until the last day of my mandate.”

Presidential elections are due to be held next year and Vizcarra has already said he will not run again.

But given Peru’s failed Covid-19 response, the president also faces serious doubts in his abilities to bring the country back from the brink.

Latin America has been devastated by the pandemic and it’s only been exacerbated by the total obliteration of growing wealth across the region – as millions are left out of work. The pandemic has largely undone decades of hard work that helped pull millions of Latin Americans out of poverty.

And Peru once the showpiece of Latin American economies — growing at a pacesetting 6.1% a year between 2002 and 2013 and lifting 6.4 million out of poverty — the country saw gross domestic product fall 30% in the second quarter, and is likely to finish the year aound 17% poorer before rebounding next year, according to Bloomberg Economics. Despite generous aid to the poor and strict social distancing rules that drew international praise, the Andean country has been burdened by the pandemic with one of the world’s highest mortality rates.

The possibility of a president being impeached amid the pandemic, had many in the U.S. wondering if we could do the same.

In the U.S., Donald Trump has left much of the country to fend for itself as the pandemic ravages state after state. There has been little in the way of a national plan for how to overcome the outbreak. In fact, many lies about the virus, treatment, and contagion have come directly from the president himself.

He’s even instructed the CDC to stop sharing pandemic-related information with the public, and instead to send all data directly to the White House.

Donald Trump and his administration have sowed division and false information that has resulted in the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans and months of on and off again quarantine orders that seem to have no end in sight. With policies like this, it’s no surprise that some are seriously considering a second impeachment trial.

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You Can Order A ‘Taco Vacuna’ And ‘La Cura’ At This Covid 19-Themed Taqueria

Culture

You Can Order A ‘Taco Vacuna’ And ‘La Cura’ At This Covid 19-Themed Taqueria

Tacovid: SaborViral / Facebook

Pandemia. Brote. Vacuna. La Peste. Although you may find these terms in a glossary about the Covid-19 outbreak, that’s not what these words actually refer to. Instead, they’re options on the menu at a Mexican taqueria called “Tacovid: Sabor Viral”, a perhaps surprisingly very successful Coronavirus-themed restaurant.

Although to many having a Covid-themed taqueria may seem morbid or disrespectful or perhaps gross – I mean who wants to order a plague taco? – the taqueria is making light of a very serious situation with humor. Something that several other businesses have done since the pandemic began.

”Tacovid: Sabor Viral” is the Mexican taqueria going viral – pun intended – for its Covid-themed menu.

Ok…virus-themed tacos don’t exactly sound appetizing. Especially, as we’re still in the midst of a very real pandemic. But one 23-year-old man in the Mexican city of León, who was forced to close down his dance studio because of Coronavirus, is counting on a Covid-themed restaurant – and so far he’s been surprised by its success.

Brandon Velázquez converted his dance academy into a taquería at the end of July, and given that Mexico and the rest of the world was – and is – in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic decided to call it Tacovid Sabor Viral.

“I had to close my dance academy during the pandemic [but] then an opportunity arose to return to the same place, however, people still did not go out for fear of getting infected.” he told the newspaper El Universal.

“I had always wanted to open a taqueria and, at the end of July, the opportunity to do so occurred. It was how I took advantage of the moment to create this business with a coronavirus theme,” he added.

Items on the menu are named after – you guessed it – the Coronavirus and don’t sound like anything you’d willfully choose to order.

The young entrepreneur detailed the name of each dish, taking full advantage of the Coronavirus theme.

“We have around 12 different dishes, among them are the ‘Tacovid’; we have ‘Forty’, ‘Quesanitizing’, ‘Pandemic’, ‘Outbreak’, and many others. The price varies depending on the dish you order,” he told El Universal.

In addition to themed dishes, the servers also fit the Coronavirus-theme.

When the pandemic hit Mexico, the government urged Mexicans to observe “su sana distancia” and the now common mascot – Susana Distancia – was born.

“In the restaurant, a waitress dressed as a nurse with the name of ‘Susana’ takes orders and works the tables, referring to the healthy distance campaign that was implemented as a precautionary measure,” he says.

To his surprise – and honestly mine as well – the taqueria has been very successful.

Brandon told El Universal that he’s been pleasantly surprised by the support he has received from customers. “I’m surprised because we have had really good sales, despite the circumstances, we have had a lot of support by the community and we’ve already expanded to have two locations.”

“Customers are funny about the theme we are using in the business, and they are delighted with the dishes we are offering. They enjoy it and have a good time,” added Brandon.

Things are looking so good for Brandon and his Covid-themed taqueria, that he’s looking to expand the food business and add new dishes to the menu. “There is always the idea of new names for other dishes that we want to include in the menu.”

Brandon also said that he’s looking to build out a business model so the restaurant could expand to other parts of the country as a franchise.

Apparently, people are really into Covid-themed foods, as this isn’t the first place that a shop as cashed in on the pandemic. Back in April, a panadería was selling out of Covid-themed baked goods so quickly, they couldn’t keep the shelves stocked.

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