Covid Outbreak Strands U.S.S. Milwaukee in Guantánamo Bay

Sailors aboard the U.S.S. Milwaukee on Monday as the ship arrived in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Credit…U.S. Navy

www.nytimes.com

World|A U.S. Navy combat ship is stranded in Guantánamo Bay with a virus outbreak.

Carol Rosenberg, Aishvarya Kavi 3 – 4 minutes

  • Dec. 25, 2021Updated 3:23 p.m. ET

A Navy combat ship deployed to intercept drug trafficking in the Caribbean and East Pacific is stuck in the port at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with a coronavirus outbreak among its fully vaccinated crew.

Only some of those infected onboard the ship, the U.S.S. Milwaukee, were experiencing mild symptoms, said Commander Kate Meadows, a Navy spokeswoman. It was not clear how many infections involved the Omicron variant, which continues to gain dominance rapidly around the world.

The crew held an open-air Christmas service on the pier on Saturday, which allowed the sailors to remain socially distanced and to follow public health guidelines, according to Commander Meadows.

“They are using the open space and fresh air for as many safe activities as they can,” she said. “The chefs onboard are making a special Christmas meal today for everyone.”

The Milwaukee had more than 100 sailors plus a helicopter combat crew and Coast Guard law enforcement unit on board when it left its home port in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 14 as part of the U.S. Southern Command’s efforts to fight drug trafficking. The ship made a refueling and resupply stop at Guantánamo Bay on Monday and extended its stay there because of the outbreak.

Commander Meadows added that the sailors had been confined to the pier and had not entered the base since arriving, sparing the small community at Guantánamo Bay the possibility of being exposed.

In a statement on Friday, the Navy said that “the ship is following an aggressive mitigation strategy” and that “the vaccine continues to demonstrate effectiveness against serious illness” among the crew.

Before the Milwaukee left Florida, Brian A. Forster, the ship’s commanding officer, said in a Navy news release that many of the crew members were on their first deployment and “eager to see the world and accomplish missions.”

In March 2020, one of the military’s first encounters with the virus occurred aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. The ship docked in Guam, in the South Pacific, and ended up stranded there for months after dozens of sailors were infected and one died. The ship’s commander at the time sent a letter to Navy officials pleading for help tackling the outbreak and criticizing the Navy’s failure to provide the proper resources. He was removed from command of the ship after the episode.

Active-duty troops in the Army and Navy were fired this month over their refusal to get vaccinated after President Biden mandated vaccination for the armed services in August. But there were only a small group of holdouts last week, with the Navy reporting that more than 98 percent of its members had been vaccinated.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/25/world/navy-ship-covid-guantanamo-bay.html

We wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

This grandma’s luminous Christmas display gains national attention with its 80,000 lights

Evelyn Quintero's Peaceful Meadow Christmas display

mypositiveoutlooks.com

Evelyn Quintero is an expert in making and arranging Christmas decorations. In fact, she has such excellent creative skills that she earned the grand prize on ABC’s “Great Christmas Light Fight.”

When Quintero lights up her “Peaceful Meadow,” it’s like seeing a scene straight out of a movie. Her residence in Atwater, California, is probably the brightest and merriest home in the whole state this holiday season.

Quintero’s decorations look so good that people from everywhere want to come over just to see it in person. And we’re sure that if they do, they won’t regret it.YouTube

“I think it will put Atwater on the map,” said neighbor Maria Vega of the display.

It took around 80,000 lights to complete the luminous display. It also includes other elements such as deer, mountains, and a waterfall.

One neighbor described it as a “work of art.” And it truly is.

Despite putting up such an incredible display, Quintero never expected to make it to the show, let alone with the top prize.YouTube

Evelyn Quintero's Peaceful Meadow Christmas display

“I was in total shock. I just couldn’t believe that they chose me. I’m just a little old great-grandma on a corner here,” she said.

As it turns out, she’s had lots of practice. Before moving to Atwater to be closer to her family four years ago, Quintero and her husband lived in Vacaville, California. They were sort of local celebrities there because of their astonishing Christmas displays. When they moved to Atwater, that seems to be the case still.YouTube

Evelyn Quintero's Peaceful Meadow Christmas display

The lot beside her Atwater home was specifically bought for her Christmas displays. She thought it would be great for the people walking on the sidewalk to view the decorations.

“I feel like I’m in a meadow and I feel like I’m out of this world. Like, amazed by these lights,” said a young girl named Kiley Stahlhut.

This display is truly a labor of love, as 90% of it is handmade. She uses a 3D pen to create the ducks, ladybugs, and birds in her decorations.

Quintero also painstakingly hand-painted all 8,000 flowers in the meadow, which are made of icicle lights. The beautiful sea of pink, which took her years to accumulate, is a tribute to her daughter who had passed away.YouTube

Evelyn Quintero's Peaceful Meadow Christmas display

“We had a daughter who passed away several years ago and her favorite color was pink so yes, I do have more pink flowers in memory of her,” Quintero said. It’s her way of keeping Andrea’s memory alive.

She loves how people, especially kids, react to her decorations when they see them. As news of her display quickly spread across the country, two Atwater women brought their friend—who just came all the way from Texas—to visit Quintero’s now-famous house.

“I’m amazed at her skills and her imagination and that she even came up with the concept,” she said.YouTube

Evelyn Quintero's Peaceful Meadow Christmas display

Quintero wasn’t seeking fame or recognition for this; she just wanted to share her talent and creativity.

“It was like showing your artwork at a New York gallery. That’s what I was thinking,” she said.

Check out the unveiling of Evelyn Quintero’s “Peaceful Meadow” in the video below.

https://mypositiveoutlooks.com/grandma-luminous-christmas-display-gains-national-attention/