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Battling COVID-19 proving lethal for the doctor’s corps in Peru




The perimeter of a neon yellow building facing the Pacific, a two-story black ribbon protecting most of the façade and a Peruvian flag at a half-staff by the entrance are black-and-white photographs of hundreds of men and women, some in their 30s and some much older.

The temporary monument is for fallen “pandemic soldiers,” physicians who have died and unravelled the public health care system since the coronavirus ravaged this South American nation last year.

Like other nations around the world, our nation is not ready for this pandemic. Moreover, emerging countries like ours are the most affected,’ said Dr. Gerardo Campos, a spokesman for Peru’s Medical College.

The college serves doctors and its headquarters are the memorial site, where a cleaning worker recently dusted off each portrait and put flowers in front of them wearing a face mask.

“Peru has been deeply affected, and those on the front line are the doctors within population groups, the first-line soldiers who have battled COVID,” Campos said. “We’ve had huge casualties. … The Medical College has been affected as a whole.

About 260 doctors in Peru have died from the infection. Their peers blame the deaths on a shortage of appropriate personal safety devices and what they believe is the abandonment of the health care system by the government. In January alone, at least 10 doctors were killed by the virus, five of whom served in Lima’s capital.

The Andean nation was one of the hardest affected by the pandemic in the region in 2020 and is now seeing a resurgence in events. According to reports from Johns Hopkins University in the United States, the nation of 32.5 million people has reported more than 1.1 million cases of coronavirus and over 40,100 deaths due to COVID-19.

The mental health of physicians has been compromised by a rotating patient door, long work hours, a shortage of medical services, including oxygen, and a lack of protective equipment in hospitals around the world. Doctors now advise that if the government does not take the necessary action, Peru could face a medical crisis.

Campos said, “A healthy doctor will cure practically the majority of our population.” I will urge the state to reconcile, to consider and to work together. I think we have valuable professionals who can work together for the well-being of our general population with adequate health policies: experts, epidemiologists, infection specialists, intensive care specialists, emergency medical specialists.

For weeks, health care workers have mounted an open-ended nationwide protest to press their concerns over low pay, lousy insurance and other working conditions. On a recent day, they marched in Lima surrounded by police in riot gear, sporting scrubs, gowns, face masks, and face shields. They kept posters calling for wage rises and, via a megaphone, voiced their demands.

“Second wave of COVID and no increase in the budget for 2021,” said one sign that featured a snapshot of a patient-filled hospital corridor.

According to the Pan American Health Organisation, more than a million health care employees have contracted COVID-19 throughout Latin America. At least 4,000 people have died, most of them women.

“They have worked harder than ever before, under more gruelling circumstances,” Carissa Etienne, the head of the organisation, said during a virtual news conference on Wednesday. “Many have risked their own lives and those of their families to care for those who are ill and many COVID patients have been saved by their heroic efforts.”

At least four doctors launched a hunger strike earlier this month outside the Ministry of Health in an effort to raise the pressure on the Peruvian government. They are sleeping on the sidewalk in tents, and at least one of them has been hooked up with fluids to an IV.

“Every day, doctors die. Everyday, dentists die. Every day, nurses die. It’s an outrage to us because we’re really on the front line of this pandemic,’ said Dr. Teodoro Quiñones, one of the hunger strikers and secretary-general of the union representing doctors working in public hospitals in Peru. “We’re really concerned about how we’re managing the pandemic.”

Lying on a mattress in a tent, Quiñones said doctors do not agree that Peru will carry out an effective vaccine programme, given that for the past 10 months, officials have not been able to address oxygen supply problems in hospitals.

According to the union which represents them, over 120 nurses have died as a result of the pandemic in Peru. How many dentists and other health professionals have died as a result of a public health emergency remains unknown.

Experts believe the second wave of coronavirus cases in Peru was driven by the major protests in November that caused political instability in Peru, leading to the election of three presidents and holiday gatherings in a week. The surge led officials to issue new plans for the lockout that will take place on Sunday.

Dr. Yesenia Ramos works in a hospital in a rural area in the jungle of Peru that is only accessible by aircraft. She said that her hospital treats patients with COVID-19 and non-COVID and has lost 23 physicians, most of whom are specialists.

“It isn’t fair,” said Ramos. “We have the right to live, and we have the right to treat our insured patients as well as we should.”

Mexico City reported Garcia Cano and Lima reported Muñoz.

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Avalanche leads NHL in scoring but ranks 27th in defense. “We got to be better defensively. Doesn’t matter who’s in net”



Avalanche leads NHL in scoring but ranks 27th in defense. “We got to be better defensively. Doesn’t matter who’s in net”

NEW YORK — Jared Bednar’s demeanor after Monday’s 7-5 victory at Philadelphia bordered on somber. The Avalanche had just improved to 2-1-1 on its five-game road trip, but its head coach wasn’t too thrilled for the third time in four games.

Sure, the high-scoring Avs can score goals. They lead the NHL at 4.14 goals per game and have reached seven goals a league-high four times. But they rank 27th in goals-allowed (3.45) and they’ve given up more goals (20) than they’ve scored (19) on the trip, which concludes Wednesday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

“I know what we’re selling in the locker room,” Bednar said of defensive structure. “I think our team has a real good idea on what we have to do to have success long-term, but it just doesn’t seem like we’re following through on it for 60 minutes.”

The structure appears off, with the Avs allowing far too many opportunities on their send of the ice so far this season. Colorado had a league-low 25.4 shots against average last season. Currently, it is allowing 30.3, tied for ninth.

Goaltending could also be part of the problem, although Bednar didn’t acknowledge that. Throughout the trip, Colorado has used two guys who were pegged to begin the season in the minors (Jonas Johansson and rookie Justus Annunen) while Darcy Kuemper recovers from an upper-body injury and Pavel Francouz completes his minor-league conditioning assignment.

Johansson has a .884 save percentage in eight appearances and Annunen is at .892 in two. Kuemper (.903) isn’t much better and Francouz has yet to play in the NHL this season after suffering a lower-body injury in the preseason.

“We got to be better defensively. Doesn’t matter who’s in net,” Bednar said.

Avs players realize the problem — particularly the two defensemen who spoke at the post-game news conference in Philly.

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Douglas County School Board to vote on mask mandate in schools



Douglas County School Board to vote on mask mandate in schools

The new school board overseeing the Douglas County School District will meet Tuesday to decide whether to end the mask requirements inside schools.

The resolution that the Board of Education will consider states that the district will not mandate masks in schools unless they are required by federal, state or local laws or public health orders. The school board will also not set a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students or district staff, according to the resolution.

“The (b)oard recommends, regardless of vaccination status, personal and parent choice with respect to whether or not children should wear face coverings while at school, while also allowing for appropriate and necessary accommodation of students with disabilities…,” reads the resolution.

The school board meeting starts at 5 p.m. and at least two hours of public comment scheduled. The board is not expected to vote on no-masks until around 8:10 p.m., according to the agenda.

The meeting comes a month after four new conservative members — all against mask mandates — were elected to the school board last month. They hold the majority on the seven-member board.

However, a federal judge blocked a mask exemption from Douglas County’s new health department in October, saying it violated the rights of students with disabilities, so it’s unclear what effect a vote in favor of ending the mandate will immediately have.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal masking inside school buildings for students and staff. The agency discovered that counties without face-covering requirements saw larger increases in COVID-19 cases in children after the start of school during the 2021-22 year, according to a Sept. 24 study.

Colorado saw a rise in COVID-19 cases among students after school returned in the fall, most notably among those — ages 5 to 11 years old — who were not eligible for a vaccine until November. Infections among children recently declined, but public health officials have warned that they could increase again as the holidays approach.

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DeVante Parker’s return can add another dimension to Dolphins’ offense



DeVante Parker’s return can add another dimension to Dolphins’ offense

Before Sunday’s 20-9 victory over the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker had only played in one game over the previous two months with hamstring and shoulder issues.

He was away for a key stretch during Miami’s seven-game losing streak that included losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons, and then he missed the first four of the Dolphins’ five-game winning streak going into the bye week.

Now, after quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the offense found somewhat of a groove without him, his reinsertion into the lineup can bring an added dimension to the Dolphins.

Playing 71 percent of offensive snaps against the Giants, Parker caught all five passes thrown his way in his return for 62 yards. He made acrobatic sideline catches for first downs on both the touchdown drive at the end of the first half and a key fourth-quarter drive in sealing the win.

“It feels good being back on the field with my teammates,” Parker said in a web conference on Monday. “I’m just glad I was able to be a part of the win. I just wanted to help us get a W, and that’s what I did.”

Having Parker and his ability to make contested, possession-type catches against cornerbacks on the outside gives Tagovailoa that option, expanding on what he’s been able to do with Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki, Mack Hollins and others.

“It creates a lot of defensive issues outside,” said co-offensive coordinator George Godsey on Tuesday. “He does a great job blocking in the run game. He’s got a lot of experience to help out the guys in the meeting room. … Having his experience and productivity out there is definitely a helpful thing for the whole unit.”

Tagovailoa enjoyed being able to throw it up to Parker when in single coverage to allow him to go up and get the ball.

“DeVante adds another vertical stretch for us offensively,” Tagovailoa said after Sunday’s win, “and he makes tough catches when you need him to, so really glad to have him back.”

Tagovailoa and Parker have established chemistry on back-shoulder throws on the sideline in their season-plus together that has been interrupted multiple times by injuries to each.

“You just throw it to the guy and let him catch it because he’s done that and he’s proven that in his career,” Godsey said. “There’s a lot of evidence on tape of guys that have his ability to just get up there and catch the ball, whether it’s behind them, in front of them, a jump ball. As many times as we can get the ball in his vicinity, we like it.”

Added Parker: “Any time you see any of us receivers out there pressed against someone, you assume they’ll want to go to you. It’s a one-on-one matchup. You just want to go to that.”

His presence, while it means targets getting further split, can also free up other Dolphins pass catchers.

“When he’s going, everybody is feeding off of him, everybody is feeding off his energy and it drives everyone else to play better, as well,” said fellow receiver Isaiah Ford. “He’s a special player. He has extremely good body control, ball skills and everything like that.”

And Parker is also coming back to a renewed Tagovailoa.

“He has a lot more confidence, and you see it in his throws,” Parker said. “The one-on-one coverage, he goes to it. That’s what we like to see. Just the confidence in him. That’s good for the team.”

Baker nominated

Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker was named the team’s nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which recognizes a player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field.

One of the first recurring events Baker established after he was drafted by the Dolphins in 2018 was a Christmas event for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade. Born on Christmas Day himself, he hosts the event for children as a birthday gift and even made sure the event could be held virtually in 2020 due to the pandemic.

When a residential building collapsed in Surfside in June, Baker partnered with a minority-owned small business food truck to provide meals to first responders aiding in the recovery efforts. After an earthquake hit Haiti in August, Baker helped transport donation items to Haiti and supported a call for action for the public to deliver goods needed by the country.

When he was drafted in 2018, Baker established the Expand the Land Foundation to inspire youth and provide mentorship and programming in his hometown of Cleveland.

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