Where did April go??
With our weekend quarantines now a fact of life and Colombia’s devastating third COVID wave showing no real signs of relenting, the months are whipping by. As travel bloggers, we’ve been a bit challenged to come up with interesting things to write about as we stay grounded by the pandemic. Until we can hit the road fully vaccinated and ready to travel, we’ll keep highlighting interesting news about Colombia every month. Here’s our April Colombia news roundup.
Colombia’s April COVID news isn’t good.
Just yesterday, the New York Times published a story with this distressing headline:
If you subscribe to the Times, here’s the full story. But in essence, it quotes Colombia government officials, among others, and states that the COVID crisis in South America has taken an ominous turn for the worst – posing a major threat to the progress that’s been made in other parts of the world. And – horrifically – the article notes that Latin America accounted for 35 percent of all COVID deaths in the world last week, despite having only 8% of the global population. Yesterday, Colombia posted its highest daily death toll since the pandemic began: 505. That makes a total of more than 73,000 Colombians who have lost their lives to this awful disease.
But there’s a ray of hope here in Pazera-world.
John is scheduled to receive his second Pfizer shot on May 8, and just yesterday the Colombian government opened up vaccine eligibility to my (Susan’s) age group. I’m hoping to get my first jab this week. With John on the verge of being fully vaccinated, it all feels a little surreal. Is it possible that we’ll soon have some semblance of our old lives back?
Epidemiologists around the world concur that mass vaccination is the only real way out of this crisis – and it will take a true global effort to end the pandemic. That’s why it’s been so difficult to understand why rich countries continue to horde vaccine to the point of surpluses (we’re looking at YOU, U.S.) while poor countries like India, Brazil, and Colombia are struggling to get their vaccination programs off the ground. There really is no good excuse for this vaccine inequality, but it’s just one more symptom of a world order that favors rich white people over poor people of color. There’s so much more we could say about that . . . but, yeah. Point made.
Which leads me to a rant:
We know vaccination is a personal choice. But if you’re not vaccinated yet and you’re lucky enough to be in a country that has a vaccine surplus, for heaven’s sake – PLEASE – just get the jab!! As The Wolf would say, “Pretty please with sugar on top!” (Bonus points if you get the movie reference.)
Here are a few more April Colombia news stories that got our attention.
Medellín is continuing to advance its leadership on the world stage.
Medellín is one of two cities (the other being Mumbai, India) chosen by the World Economic Forum to lead regional city networks in Latin America and South Asia as part of the Forum’s G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance. The goal of these regional networks is to share knowledge on smart city development while protecting public interests related to privacy, security, and sustainability. Full story here.
More new avian discoveries in Colombia.
As we mentioned in our recent post about our backyard birds, Colombia has the world’s highest bird diversity. Apparently this has gotten the attention of actor Leonardo Di Caprio, who tweeted this month about a recent expedition of biologists who discovered 30 new bird species in Colombia’s Córdoba department. They’re on the hunt for a rare parakeet that’s on the verge of extinction. Here’s the full story in El Tiempo (in Spanish, but easy to translate with Google).
Speaking of flying things, Colombian is building towards its aviation future.
Looking ahead beyond COVID, Colombia’s Civil Aviation Authority has added 32 new international routes by 11 carriers to the U.S., Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, and Curuçao. Here’s the full story:
Back on the ground, Colombia continues to expand its highway infrastructure.
Colombia is in the midst of a huge expansion of its national highway system, with up to 7,000 kilometers of new highway construction expected to be completed by 2023. Here’s a recent story about it. (We ran into plenty of evidence of the highway projects on our road trip to Jerico last year – here’s our post about that trip.)
In the meantime, work is getting underway to build a new toll road right in our own neck of the woods. This new road is sorely needed, since the current roads connecting Medellín with the international airport are highly congested. Full story here.
And finally, this – as we conclude another Easter month.
Pretty please – get vaccinated if you can, people! And have a safe and happy May.