Parents of Public School Students Demand Access to Food Distribution

The testimonies of dozens of families with students in Puerto Rico’s public school system who need to be fed during the curfew established to control the spread of COVID-19 exposed by organizations that work with children and communities, have not been enough to convince the Department of Education to open school cafeterias to prepare balanced meals for carry-out. Organizations such as the Red por los Derechos de la Niñez y la Juventud en Puerto Rico and the Instituto Nueva Escuela (INE, in Spanish) have documented this population’s point of view. The INE survey, in which 2,700 families of children in the public Montessori system participated, showed that 68% are concerned about providing food for their children and 56% said they would use the school cafeteria if it were available. In addition, 4% of Montessori school teachers assistants confirmed they knew cases where a student or their family could experience food shortages due to this emergency. Rosalyn Hernández, community leader of the Playita sector in San Juan, confirmed this concern in a video were the mother of a 16-year-old and a six-month-old baby said, “the hardest part of this situation is that you run out of food and you can’t go out (because of the curfew), you can’t work.

La trayectoria no conocida del Task Force Económico

¿Quiénes componen el Task Force Económico encargado de asesorar al Gobierno de Puerto Rico? ¿Cómo fueron designados o qué mecanismo y datos se utilizaron para proponer y apoyar una reapertura gradual del sector económico tras seis semanas de toque de queda por el COVID-19? Estas son preguntas que surgen ante la rápida acogida que ha proyectado dar el Gobierno a su propuesta. El Task Force Económico, según la lista oficial enviada por el Departamento de Desarrollo Económico y Comercio (DDEC), está compuesto por cerca de 50 empresarios, tres economistas y un líder sindical. El grupo empresarial es un derivado de una organización privada sin fines de lucro incorporada en junio de 2018, el Puerto Rico Business Emergency Operation Center (BEOC). 

Nuevos integrantes fueron convocados en las últimas tres semanas para unirse al Task Force, luego de que surgieran críticas de entidades que representan a sectores que no figuraban en el grupo y estas pidieran ser incluidas, como es el caso de la Cámara de Comercio del Oeste, la Asociación de Economistas, la Asociación de Detallistas de Gasolina y grupos sindicales entre otros.

Hospitals in Puerto Rico don’t run COVID-19 tests on the deceased

One of the most important factors to confirm the real status of the COVID-19 case fatality rate in Puerto Rico is to conduct molecular tests on people who die and who had any symptoms of the disease. However, hospitals — which is where most people on the island die — have not been testing all suspected patients and none of the deceased, Puerto Rico’s Secretary of Health Lorenzo González Feliciano admitted on Tuesday to questions from the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish). More than 60% of deaths in Puerto Rico occur in hospitals, according to Demographic Registry data. The official answered the question during a press conference on Tuesday about the status of COVID-19 on the island, when he also reported that disease-related deaths were already at 64 and that, of those, 19 were detected through the annotations that doctors make on death certificates they send to the Demographic Registry of Puerto Rico. González said some of those cases lack confirmatory tests, but did not specify how many of them, and answered categorically that the hospitals have not been taking the samples.

Puerto Rico Health Department’s COVID-19 math is wrong

Bad news about the COVID-19 epidemic in Puerto Rico hit this morning like a bucket of cold water: the Health Department had been incorrectly reporting data on infections on the island for the past four weeks. Health Secretary Lorenzo González acknowledged today to the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI) that the agency has been mixing the results of molecular tests, which confirm that a person has the virus, with results of serological tests or “rapid test kits,” which should not be used to inform infection status, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The implications: There has been a double, perhaps even a triple count of test results in Puerto Rico’s official COVID-19 statistics. For example, a person who tested positive on the rapid test and then had a molecular or “PCR” test confirming that positive, it can be counted as two separate cases in the numbers reported by the Government. 

The CPI asked if the current number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico has a double or even triple count.