1st. Suzanne Kreiter / The Boston Globe
SUMMARY: The Parker family of Vancouver, British Columbia, became one of the first victims of a disease outbreak that would shake the American public confidence in a seemingly benign vegetable: lettuce. Leafy green vegetables have become the leading cause of E. coli poisoning. Five bites of a salad that Lucas Parker shared with his father were enough to infect him with toxic bacteria, resulting in a coma that Lucas has never woken up from. Ultimately, 60 people in 16 states would be poisoned. And more than a year after the Thanksgiving outbreak, the E. coli threat is as real as it ever was, and the government still lacks the means, and maybe the will, to take it on, according a six month long Spotlight Team report.
2nd. Angela Rowlings / Freelance
SUMMARY: Raeven, 16, who is Guatemalan- and Cape Verdean-American, was able to choose between a quinceanera, a traditional coming of age party for Guatemalan 15-year-old girls, or a Sweet 16 party commonly celebrated in Cape Verde. Raeven chose a Sweet 16 party with cousins and friends making up a court to accompany her to the party and to perform dances together.
3rd. Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe
SUMMARY: Alan Giangregorio is the foreman of the burial crew at Woodlawn Cemetery. In his half century tending to the dead, the gravedigger has seen just about everything but since COVID-19 hit last March, the funeral requests at Woodlawn havenÕt stopped coming. Each day, the departed begin a slow procession, from hospital or long-term facility, to the careful custody of the funeral home, and finally, to an 8-foot-by-3-foot resting place prepared by Giangregorio and his team, the unseen, uncelebrated back-line workers who are the last ministers to the deceased.
HM1. Craig Walker / The Boston Globe
SUMMARY: One ordinary block, a spoke off Boston’s Liberty Square, can provide a window on the unfathomable economic toll of this pandemic. Businesses have been crushed on Water Street and the sound of silence is deafening. It may not be a glamorous street but it is as good a place as any to tell the story of this interwoven and badly damaged economy, the one that doesn’t just bind businesses but also the people who run them.
HM2. Emilio Musto / Freelance
SUMMARY: Dennis Mann, 74, and a Rhode Island native, has been making public appearances as Santa Claus across New England for the past 20 years, but due to COVID-19 in 2020, this years Christmas season has been very different for him. Unlike the busy schedule that Santa Dennis is typically used to with various events like mall appearances, parties, at-home visits, and parades, this year he had to lay low with all public appearances for the holiday season. “I’ll really miss the smiles of the kids and the families this year.” Santa had said when asked what he will miss the most this Christmas. “The personal connection you have with each kid is for sure something that will be missed this year for everyone.” However, the pandemic did not stop him from bringing the spirit of Christmas to communities in Rhode Island.
HM3. Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe
SUMMARY: During normal times, Joe Ruggiero Jr. might hold 25 funerals a month; this April there were 71. Due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, his family’s funeral home in East Boston is so overrun that the tribute lounge and cafe – normally a place for mourners to collect themselves, has been turned into a makeshift storage space. A thin white sheet of plastic held together with binder clips is all that separates the hallway from the caskets. The white board in the office downstairs is overflowing with funerals. Three on Wednesday. Four on Thursday. Five on Friday. Joe Jr., his son, Joe III, and his daughter, Catie, work tirelessly to make sure that everything is as perfect as it can be in order to bring some comfort to families in grief. They solve an endless string of coronavirus riddles, like what do you bury someone in when their family can’t go back into a nursing home to retrieve their clothing? Or how do you explain to families that they can’t have more than 10 people inside at a time? The biggest one of course, is how do you console someone when you can’t place a comforting hand on their shoulder? Families filter into Ruggiero Family Memorial Home all faced with the prospect of saying goodbye to a loved one without the comfort of an embrace.
HM4. Allison Dinner / Freelance
SUMMARY: From 2015-2016 alone Venezuela saw a 65% increase in maternal mortality according to Amnesty International. Then again in 2018 Venezuela saw another 65% increase in maternal mortality over the previous year according to a report from the University of Miami. The main causes, a lack of medicine and a lack of doctors. Dr. Luisangela Correa is an Emergency General Surgeon that supports Ob/Gyn in the Concepción Palacios Maternity Hospital in Caracas, Venezuela. For 19 years she has been working in the ob/gyn public hospital sector of Caracas. The public hospital sector of Caracas used to be reliable and dependable, a high quality system. Dr. Correa spends her days fighting for woman to have a place to give birth and receive gynecological care. In the last year alone Dr. Correa has seen her number of colleagues drop to less than half. Many have left the country due to the ongoing political crisis. What was once 6 surgeons is now 2. She is currently working without pay. She tells me, “If I don’t do this job, no one will. Here, there is no one left.”