Ten Countries With The Worst Covid Outbreaks

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Ten Countries With The Worst Covid Outbreaks

“Only if we end the pandemic everywhere, can we end the pandemic anywhere.”Unknown

The world has the same goal – to end this pandemic and go back to whatever normal is. Viruses don’t respect borders. These countries share the fact that at the start of the outbreak, they tested little relative to their size. Our healthcare systems are not equipped to handle thousands of people getting sick at the same time, so more people are dying in these countries. The governments in all these countries downplayed the severity of the virus, fumbled lockdowns, and instead of science used magical thinking in the hopes of ending the outbreak.  The numbers change rapidly but at the moment, here are the countries with the worst outbreaks in order. The numbers are from December 21.They will be higher by the time you read this.

10. Iran 1,164,535 cases 53,816 deaths

The difference between Iran and other countries experiencing a surge in the virus is the “maximum pressure” sanctions put on them by Donald Trump.  The Iranian government and doctors insist they don’t have enough medicines to fight the virus. Though the sanctions technically exempt food and medical supplies, human rights reports from Iran have repeatedly emphasized the impact of sectoral sanctions on gaining access to essential medicines and medical equipment, including respirators and protective equipment for health-care workers. Experts say US sanctions on Iran are indeed hurting ”foreign reserves, foreign currency abroad to purchase the necessary medical equipment — masks, anything that it might need to take care of its population,” Sanam Vakil.

9. Mexico 1,320,545 cases 118,202 deaths

One quarter of Mexico’s population has been exposed to Covid 19. The government thinks the real number is even higher than the reported numbers. The blame is on the country’s under funded health care system, lack of adequate testing,  and complicated effort to track the disease and coordinate the response. There was a voluntary lockdown from March to June but because of Mexico’s high poverty level many had to work and so the numbers went up. There has been no mask mandate. Some say it is to downplay the pandemic and some Mexican States have imposed their own mask mandate.

8. Spain 1,817,448 cases 48,926 deaths

Spain has been in a state of emergency since the end of October. The prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has asked people to drastically curtail their social lives and limit their movements for the common good. Silvia Calzón, Spain’s secretary of state for health, urged people to act wisely and avoid large crowds. Spain is reluctant to blame its citizens for early on having the most cases in Europe, but they feel the increase is do to young people partying and socializing. Spain has a similar problem to the US where the Covid safety regulations have been left to the different regions.

 7. Italy 1,964,054 cases 68,099 deaths

At the moment Italy holds a record that no-one wants – the most corona deaths in Europe. Italy was the first country in Europe to be slammed with Covid and had the benefit of time and experience to be better prepared for the second wave. Italy waited too long to reimpose restrictions  and reinforce its medical community. Nearly 80,000 Italian health care workers have been infected and 255 doctors have died. Instead, on Nov. 3 the government divided the country into three risk zones with varying restrictions. But by then infections had been doubling each week for nearly a month and hospitals were already overwhelmed in Milan and Naples.

6. Turkey 2,043,704 cases 18,351 deaths

As with all the countries where the virus is highest, Turkey waited too long to impose Covid 19 restrictions. Now children under the age of 20 can go outside for three hours a day and have school on Zoom. People over the age of 65 can go out for a different three hours. The elderly and the young are banned from public transportation. There is a curfew. Many are angry about how the government mismanaged the crisis. The government played down the virus and sugar coated the numbers not counting the asymptomatic ones which were high.

5. UK 2,073,511 cases 67,616 deaths

The four countries of the UK are trying to avoid a spike over the Christmas holidays. They want to ease things up between Dec 23-27 with rules like only a single person household can visit another home. People living in the UK will be allowed to form a Christmas bubble of up to three households. Households can only be in one bubble and may not switch. London has moved from High Alert to Very High Alert and bars and restaurants will remain closed. Outdoor groupings must be limited to six people. The virus is accelerating and the hope is not to lose more and more people as the vaccine is being rolled out. 

4. Russia 2,877,727 cases 51,351 deaths

As Russia struggles to get the virus under control, videos released of morgues piled high with bodies and hospitals that look like war zones, suggest the numbers are much higher than released. The way they count the Covid deaths, are different than the World Health organization guidelines which states that all deaths related to Covid-19 should be counted. Though the government portrays a country in full control of the pandemic, the strain on the medical facilities is becoming obvious to the Russian people. 

3. Brazil 7,241,612 cases 186,818 deaths

Fueled by the untimely political disputes, Covid 19 spread like wildfire in Brazil. Amid the controversy, Brazilian research disproved the theory that hydrochloroquine was helpful in treating the virus. Brazil was unprepared for the second wave of the virus and the hospitals are full with queues of patients lined up outside for beds. Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the novel coronavirus as a “little flu” and said recently was at the “tail end of the pandemic.” Sound familiar? Brazil has the second largest death toll in the world from Covid 19.

 2. India 10,075,036 cases 146,134 deaths

Tens of millions of migrant workers were stranded without work or food after Prime Minister Narendra Modi  imposed a lockdown in March. By spring and summer, these workers were so desperate that the government provided emergency trains to carry them back to their home villages. They became virus trains and due to lack of testing and social distancing these trains brought the virus all over India to places where it had not appeared before. The government never adequately contemplated how  shutting down the economy and quarantining 1.3 billion people would cause desperation,  panic and  chaos for millions of migrant workers at the heart of Indian industry. Experts agree that the spread in rural areas, home to more than half of the population, is a challenge to both fight and monitor. The health infrastructure in these areas is weaker, making it harder to treat patients and testing isn’t easily available in many small towns and villages. 

1. US 18,312,007 cases 325,187 deaths

We are number one – in both deaths and number of cases. Few countries have been as severely hit as America has. The world watched as the US – once a model for government competence and health care, fumbled the response to the Corona Virus. Despite ample warning, immense resources, medical and scientific expertise, it floundered. The world listened in shock as our President talked about drinking disinfectant. When people in third world countries emerged from lockdown and began partying, they saw that Americans in certain states did the same. Almost everything that went wrong with America’s response was predictable and preventable.

Stay safe,

JAZ

Things That I Have Learned About Him After Being In A Relationship For Two Years

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Things That I’ve learned About Him After Being In A Relationship For Two Years

“It reminds me of that old joke –  you know, a guy walks into a psychiatrist’s office and says, hey doc, my brother’s crazy! He thinks he’s a chicken. Then the doc says, why don’t you turn him in? Then the guy says, I would but I need the eggs. I guess that’s how I feel about relationships. They’re totally crazy, irrational, and absurd, but we keep going through it because we need the eggs.”Woody Allen

He is great at birthdays, flowers and Christmas.

Never travel with him when he is writing. Even if he says “it won’t be like the last time.” It will. Travel anywhere with him when he is not writing. He is a great traveler. 

He has excellent musical taste.  If he says let’s go to this concert or hear this musician, I just say yes because I know that it is going to be good. 

Always tell him he looks terrific when he does. He likes that. However, when an outfit choice is questionable and you mention it – then you are shallow.  

He is a popcorn hoarder. I am a popcorn sharer. It is less caloric if you eat out of one box of popcorn. He does’not get that.  

He is very generous with wine. Sharing a glass of wine is totally fine. Sharing a second  and third glass is fine also.

He is not a casual chef. Each meal is a challenge and has to be the best thing he has ever cooked. Every dinner with guests is a chance to try some new difficult recipe he has never attempted,  It is always delicious but a bit stressful. 

My dog does not like him. He expects dogs to just like him. That is what dogs do. Not Banksy – he is jealous. It has been two years and Banksy still acts like when he gets back into bed he is attacking us and when he leaves the house  he is stealing something.

He gets bored driving down the same street. He prefers to drive the long route if that is  what his car navigation tells him to do.  If he asks how should I go, it is best if I don’t answer because he will only follow part of the directions.

He doesn’t like it when I tell him to turn left three times and he already knows that. He also doesn’t like it when I don’t say anything and he misses the turn.

If I mention that I like a song, he learns how to play it on the guitar for me. That is really sweet. He is like my high school boyfriend. 

 Relationships are not easy but we work at it.  I think it will  turn out that by taking a chance and moving in together  we will gain a lot more than we lose. Love wins.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Holiday Traditions With Friends

Holiday Traditions With Friends

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was in the Bahamas one Christmas when I was nineteen.  The Monday after Christmas I needed to go to a pharmacy. They were all closed because it was Boxing Day. That was my first real experience with  a holiday that we don’t celebrate here.  You never think about that until you are in a country that is celebrating their holiday.  It gives you a little more insight into a place when you see them observing their traditions.

Boxing day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and trades people would receive gifts from their superiors or employers, known as a “Christmas box”. Today, Boxing Day is better known as a bank or public holiday that occurs on 26 December, or the first or second weekday after Christmas Day, depending on national or regional laws. It is observed in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and some other Commonwealth Nations. I always remember that Dec 26 is Boxing Day though I don’t celebrate it. JZ, BAHAMAS

Cuban families in Miami have a delicious Cuban tradition that we carry on with zeal. Every Christmas Eve starting early in the morning, all the men in the family set up a ‘caja China’ (direct translation: Chinese box) in the front yard of the house. They sit outside, smoke their cigars, drink their rum and cokes and roast a full pig in this box for hours on end. When the whole family comes over for dinner, the pig is still cooking and the men cut off the skin to serve as ‘chicharron’ while the rest of the pig roasts. It’s undeniably good. Our ‘kosher’ Jewish neighbors will tell you the same.   MA, CUBA

All Saints Day on Nov 1 is big day. Croatia is a strongly Catholic country and November  1st – the day of the dead – is a big family occasion.  All Saints Day is the day that people go to  visit the cemeteries . They bring flowers , light candles and say a prayer. All the businesses are closed and it is a time for families to be together in peace and quiet. ( spirituality)  to celebrate the lives of their deceased relatives.  PV, CROATIA

In Colombia, the Christmas traditions come from Spain. They make nativity scenes  called Pesebre.  Columbia is deeply rooted in Catholic tradition. From the 16th till the 24th everyone gets together and prays to the Novena and sing Christmas songs called Villancicos.    On Christmas Eve, the families gather around the Nativity Scene    and eat pork or ham,  dulce de guayaba , dulce de guanabana,bunuelos  ( fried dough) and natilla  (special pudding dessert with sugar, cloves, panela and milk). They drink Aguardiente (fire water) and dance and sing all night. The kids write letters to Nino Dios ( baby Jesus) and wait for him to bring them presents. On Christmas Day everyone makes their own brightly colored balloons and fills them with hot air and lets them into the sky at the same time. Feliz Navidad. AN, COLOMBIA

Shavuot is a holiday that usually  occurs in May, fifty days after Passover. It is  the end of the harvest season for grain and wheat.  People brought  the first fruits  of the season to the temple to thank God. It is fun to celebrate Shavuot on a kibbutz in Israel. Everyone wears white . The girls braid their hair and  make crowns of greens and flowers .  Families bring blankets and carpets and sit out on the grass and have a picnic. They eat dairy food.  The kids bring decorated baskets of fruit. There is a “parade” of tractors and farm equipment decorated for the holiday. This is followed by a lot of dancing and singing to celebrate the day that the Torah was given to the Jewish People on Mount Sinai.   KR ISRAEL

Peruvians put up a nativity scene at Christmas, not a tree.  In the Andean city of Cusco they buy the pieces for their nativity on Christmas Eve at the festival of Santorantikuy  — “buying of saints”. The city fills up as people come to Cusco from all over the region to sell little figures they have made of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Magi, the star and the stable animals, along with an array of ornaments, moss, lichen, ferns, bromeliads and other wild plants to create the backdrop. PF, PERU

One of the events I’m going to is Maha Kumbh Mela in February.  Maha Kumbh Mela held in Allahabad , India is the “ largest pilgrimage on earth.” It attracts between thirty and seventy million people.  The Maha Kumbh Mela comes every 144 years and will occur this Feb 2013.  Hindus gather at the Ganges for a purification bathing ceremony during the auspicious days. Other activities include religious discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men and women and the poor, and religious assemblies. The devout –including mystics, yogis and sadhus (in saffron sheets with powder and ashes on their skin), spend a month there. Kumbh Mela is the most sacred of all the pilgrimages in India- the Maha being the most important. DL, INDIA  (if you are interested, some of the other videos that appear at the end are fascinating)

People prepare their homes for Christmas. Dubrovnik  is covered in Christmas lights and a lot of Christmas trees on the Stradun. On Christmas Eve, lunch is traditionally fish. (codfish-usually)That is the same in many Catholic and Eastern European countries. In the afternoon we go to our first neighbors to wish them  a good Christmas Eve. We sing the traditional Christmas song from door to door. (Colenda song – a song that has been sung for centuries). In the evening most people go to confession to wait for Christmas in the best spirit. Then we go to midnight mass.On Christmas Day our families are altogether for lunch. It is a time of happiness and celebration. PV CROATIA

New Year is a special holiday in Japan. It is leaving of old and starting of new. At the end of the year, we clean the house and decorate the entrance gate with ornaments made of pine, bamboo and plum. Bonenkai parties (forget the year gathering) are held everywhere to leave the old worries behind, and on New Years Eve, just before the temple bells ring at midnight, we eat toshikoshi soba (end of year buckwheat noodle) wishing for another healthy new year to come.

Viewing the first sunrise of the New Year is the best way for a fresh start.  We visit the shrine or temple, buy o-mikuji ( random fortune written on strips of paper) and hope for another happy year. RH, JAPAN

Happy Holidays and Fly Safe,

JAZ