Thursday, October 21

COVID-19 survivors march across the Brooklyn Bridge to raise awareness about the aftermath of the pandemic


Until this Friday and after 19 months of the appearance of a ‘strange virus’ in the world, they are officially counted 33,570 deaths due to complications with the coronavirus in the Big Apple. In the last two days, they still reported 11 deaths, while the Health authorities try to further encourage the rate of vaccination.

When the dreaded Delta variant is on stage and the fatality curve is kept to a minimum, hundreds of New Yorkers who lost their families and in many cases were unable to participate in burial ceremonies, will perform this Saturday a march over the brooklyn bridge, as part of the day of ‘National Action for Survivors of COVID-19’.

One of them will be the Puerto Rican war veteran Pablo López, 42 years old and who lost his mother in the spring of 2020 when New York was the epicenter of the pandemic, and is motivated to actively join a coalition to push the creation of a monument somewhere in the city, that allows to remember the next generations the pain and grief that is still intact in thousands of thousands of survivors.

“My mom died on April 5, 2020 when everything was closed in New York. She felt bad and the doctors told us not to take her to the hospital because she had no fever. When she felt worse, it was very difficult for them to take care of her. We waited in a four hour line in downtown Queens. When they hospitalized her, we could never see her again, “said the Puerto Rican. resident of Staten Island.

The dream of Pablo and of hundreds of families who lost loved ones due to the viral infection, is that the name of his mother, Marily López Santiago, is written on a monument that various national coalitions are promoting to be erected in some corner of the Big Apple.

The initiative ‘Yellow Heart Memorial’ It is about the promotion of a national monument to humanize each person who has died from COVID-19, with their name and face in a yellow heart.

Already this ‘Memorial’ is close to being a reality in 10 states of the country.

Puerto Rican Marilú López Santiago passed away in the spring of 2020 due to complications from COVID-19. Today his relatives want him to be part of a monument in honor of the victims. (Photo: Courtesy)

The burden of survivors

“With this march and this petition we want to remind the elected leaders of the city that this virus is not a game. The numbers are going up again. In addition, many of the survivors were not even able to watch our loved ones at a funeral home. It is a reminder, but also the demand for a guarantee that the lesson was learned, so that in future pandemics, do not generate so much pain, “said Pablo.

This movement to honor those killed by the pandemic was founded in Texas by the young rosie davis, who made the first ‘Yellow Heart Memorial’ in his backyard after losing his mother Mary Castro for COVID-19 in a nursing home.

This weekend, in addition to the non-partisan national action ‘COVID-19 survivors ”, launches from the emblematic New York bridge in Brooklyn its first mobilization to demand support initiatives in the Big Apple for those who have survived the virus and their lives have been seen dramatically altered for the pandemic.

In every corner of the city, it is not difficult to stumble upon some painful story of those who lost not only relatives, but their wishes and projects they were forever altered.

For instance, Colombian María Celeste Rojas, only 20 years old, lost his sister last January who was complicated with COVID-19. The most painful side of this death is that left two children they were just starting school.

“They are not orphans. They will have me forever, because my sister was a single mother. That is why I join any initiative that serves to make visible the fact that survivors must have more support. Like my children, there are many who lost their parents. They were alone. This should promote other aid programs ”, explained the immigrant Queens resident, who abandoned his studies to dedicate himself to raising his nephews.

Vivian Rivera-Zayas with her mother Ana Celia Martínez, who died in a rehabilitation center. (Courtesy)

Never isolate the elderly again!

The vaccination strategy keeps hospitalizations and deaths at bay this summer, while the City is betting all its cards on the reopening and normalization of activities. But grief remains an almost indelible feeling for thousands of Latino families in New York.

COVID-19 since the start of the coronavirus outbreak affected Hispanics the most in the city than any other ethnic or racial group, to date bordering on the 36% percent of all deaths by coronavirus in the Big Apple, while they make up 29 percent of the city’s population.

In other words, the rate of Hispanic mortality in the city it is approximately 22 people per 100,000. And 10 per 100,000 for white residents.

A large proportion of those who died of Hispanic origin due to the pandemic lived in nursing homes. And many of their family members, as the months go by, still live today with the disappointment that they were never able to fire them. Not even honoring his remains.

Such is the case of the Puerto Rican Vivian Rivera, who lost his 78-year-old mother, last March 2020, after becoming infected in a recovery center to elderly people.

The pain of her mother’s death prompted Vivian to create the organization ‘Voces de Ancianos’ which has joined pressure groups to investigate in depth how state authorities handled the controversial nursing home crisis. But, for a couple of weeks, they have a new challenge.

“The most important thing for thousands of New York families who unfortunately lost loved ones in nursing homes, is ensuring that never again in a pandemic crisisWhatever it is, lock them up and completely deny them access to visits, ”Rivera said.

For this reason, several groups of survivors who lost relatives in these asylums, are pushing in Congress the Essential Caregivers Act (HR 3733), which was presented last June.

This draft legislation would require that specialized nursing and rehabilitation facilities for hospitalized elderly patients allow access to “essential caregivers” (authorized family members) during any public health emergency.

“Nobody knows what happened in the background in the nursing homes because they put a barrier on us. Then to many what they did was give us the ashes of our parents and grandparents. We are fighting so that a federal law never allows the elderly to live the despair of loneliness, that cruel isolation, to which many infected were subjected, ”the activist stressed.

The proposal HR 3733 introduced by the representative of the 22nd district of New York, Claudia Tenney, would promote that in times of pandemic, by appealing to rigid biosafety and eligibility protocols, it is not completely restricted visitor access to senior centers.

Still unclaimed bodies

Until a couple of weeks ago the bodies of some 750 New Yorkers who died during the pandemic they were still in refrigerated trucks at the dock of Sun Set Park from 39th street of Brooklyn, without a clear schedule of when his remains will be transferred to the public cemetery of ‘Hart Island’ in the Bronx or elsewhere, revealed the digital medium ‘The City’.

In most cases these are the corpses of families who could not afford the cremation costs or of immigrants who had the hope of be able to repatriate the remains.

Another group, the number of which is not determined, is mostly immigrants. Mexicans who lived alone in New York and his remains have not been claimed by any family member, they told The newspaper sources familiar with this process.

An analysis of 2021 carried out by the ‘Stabile’ Center of the Columbia School of Journalism and ‘The City’ found that more than 2,300 New Yorkers they were buried on ‘Hart Island’ in 2020. Far more than any public health crisis for decades in recent history.

Details: March of Survivors in NYC

  • This Saturday, August 7, at 11:00 am, hundreds of people who suffered the loss of loved ones due to the pandemic and who are part of the national network ‘Survivors of COVID-19’ will join the promoters of ‘Yellow Heart Memorial ‘and the organization’ Caras de las Víctimas’ to march across the brooklyn bridge to remember thousands of those who died and urge legislators to take action to support the current needs of survivors.
  • The goal is to give at least 615,000 steps, to recall the numbers of people who have so far lost the battle against the viral infection throughout the country.
  • This march is part of a national mobilization called Día de ‘National Action for Survivors of COVID-19’ which seeks to create awareness about the needs of coronavirus survivors: relief resources, mental health care and surviving children.
  • The tour will start in Cadman Plaza Park, in Brooklyn, and will end at City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan.
  • COVID-19, death and vaccines in NY:


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