Debate attendee whose father died of COVID-19 speaks on possible exposure from Trump

Late last night, we learned that the President of the United States has tested positive for COVID-19. Where and when he contracted it is unknown, and with how many places he's been in the past few days and how many people he's come into contact with, it's not likely we'll ever find out.

While we await updates on the president's health and hope for the best, people who have potentially been exposed by Trump and others in his circle are isolating and getting tested. The contact tracing in this scenario is mind-blowingly complicated, but one person who has recently been in a room with the president is speaking out.

Kristin Urquiza was one of Joe Biden's guests a the presidential debate. She lost her father, who was a Trump supporter, to COVID-19 this summer. Her father's obituary went viral for calling out the politicians who downplayed the virus and showed poor leadership in trying to mitigate it:

"Mark, like so many others, should not have died from COVID-19. His death is due to the carelessness of the politicians who continue to jeopardize the health of brown bodies through a clear lack of leadership, refusal to acknowledge the severity of this crisis, and inability and unwillingness to give clear and decisive direction on how to minimize risk."

Urquiza has shared a statement about being possibly exposed to the virus from the president as she sat in the front row of the debate.


"The verdict was already in that Trump's behavior at Tuesday's debate showed his complete disregard for our democratic process and voters' right to hear directly from our Presidential candidates. But as news spreads that Trump, Melania, Hope Hicks, and probably many more of Trump's inner circle are COVID-positive, another thing becomes clear: Trump has no regard for human life.

I was invited by Vice President Biden to the debate to represent my dad, who died of COVID after AZ Gov. Doug Ducey, Trump's willing partner-in-crime, lifted the state's shelter-in-place order even as COVID rates were skyrocketing, and announced on television that it was safe to return to normal life if you were free of pre-existing conditions.

So in a way, it was not surprising to learn that I've now been exposed to COVID by The Donald himself as I sat about 15 feet away from him, in the very first row of the debate hall, while he yelled and mocked VP Biden for wearing masks.

Every attendee, myself included, was only allowed into the debate hall after we tested COVID-negative. But given the limitations of rapid testing and Cleveland's own COVID rules, everyone in that hall should have been wearing masks. And though every one of Biden's guests managed to do this, Trump's guests were shockingly barefaced.

Vice President BIden and his guests took every precaution to ensure the safety of all those inside the debate hall. And yet again, Donald Trump's contemptuous disregard for science and the value of human lives has jeopardized the lives of Congress, Secret Service agents, members of the media, and janitors to a deadly virus that has killed 205,000 Americans to date, with another thousand dying each day that Donald Trump refuses to take leadership and protect Americans from this deadly virus. Irresponsible is an understatement; this is criminal.

How many people must die before we deliver what the American people deserve: a coordinated data-driven, national response to this pandemic. How much more must COVID survivors, COVID families, and all others marked by COVID suffer before our losses are acknowledged and recognized.

I am terrified. I know the darkest result of COVID: an undignified and lonesome death. Something I would not wish upon my worst enemy, present company included. I am working to get a test as soon as possible and will quarantine until I am certain that I am not putting others at risk.

This frightening development will not stop the Week of Mourning from taking place. We will honor the survivors and encourage all those who have lost loved ones and friends to join us in daily virtual vigils at 12:00 noon Eastern Time every day from October 4 to 11. Please visit www.weekofmourning.com to learn more and join me."

The Week of Mourning will include a National Day of Remembrance on October 4, organized by COVID Survivors for Change as a way to honor those our nation has lost to the novel coronavirus.

No one should have to lose a loved one to this virus. We know that masks and social distancing and handwashing can greatly limit the spread of COVID-19. We know that the U.S. has far more deaths from this virus than it should based on our population. It's tragic that the president has contracted it, and maddening that it might be due to his flagrant flouting of mitigation measures.

Hopefully, this unfortunate development will help more Americans understand the serious importance of following public health guidelines and doing what we can to limit the spread and get this pandemic under control.

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
via UniversalPicsSweden

Steven Spielberg's "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" is one of the greatest films ever made but it could have easily been a disaster.

Director Steven Spielberg took huge risks with the film betting the house on the relationship between a young boy named Elliott and an oddly-shaped alien.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
True

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

Keep Reading Show less

The subject of late-term abortions has been brought up repeatedly during this election season, with President Trump making the outrageous claim that Democrats are in favor of executing babies.

This message grossly misrepresents what late-term abortion actually is, as well as what pro-choice advocates are actually "in favor of." No one is in favor of someone having a specific medical procedure—that would require being involved in someone's individual medical care—but rather they are in favor of keeping the government out of decisions about specific medical procedures.

Pete Buttigieg, who has become a media surrogate for the Biden campaign—and quite an effective one at that—addressed this issue in a Fox News town hall when he was on the campaign trail himself. When Chris Wallace asked him directly about late-term abortions, Buttigieg answered Wallace's questions is the best way possible.

"Do you believe, at any point in pregnancy, whether it's at six weeks or eight weeks or 24 weeks or whenever, that there should be any limit on a woman's right to have an abortion?" Wallace asked.

Keep Reading Show less
via City of Calgary

Graffiti is an underground form of expression that can be seen as anything from criminal destruction of property to art. Most of the time that depends on whether it was your wall that was defaced.

While most graffiti is painted over, some of it is so powerful that it becomes a beloved part of the community. Many of street artist Banksy's pieces are still up and have become popular landmarks throughout the world.

But what about little nuggets of fake history placed on park benches around Canada? Where do we sign up?

Keep Reading Show less