By now all of us have been touched by COVID-19 in one  way or another. Some of us have contracted COVID and thankfully lived to talk about it. Tens of thousands required hospitalization; some did not, but still struggle with the lingering symptoms months later. 


Some got it and experienced very little or no symptoms. And of course, some became part of those that we lost to this horrible illness. Still, there is hope now, with 30%
of the American people now having received at least one vaccine and plans to vaccinate 100% of adult population by September. Both I and my wife have been fully vaccinated, which allowed us to attend Mass in person on Good Friday – something we have not done in over a year. Some went a lot further than simply going to church. Spring break saw crowds of people at the beach and record airline bookings post-pandemic. Many are saying we are heading back to the Roaring Twenties. Pero (but) not so fast, amigos. 

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Recently the infections are going up even as the death count continues to go down. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky issued a warning that a fourth infection wave may be coming. The rise in numbers appears to follow the trajectory of European countries like Germany, Italy, and France. The numbers had been down to 40,000 to 50,000 a day but have now spiked to 60,000 to 70,000 a day. Here in Texas, as in most Republican-run states, it is full steam ahead. Soon time will tell us if that decision was wise. 

However, looking at the latest numbers in North Texas I am disturbed to see some COVID deaths for people in their 20s and 30s. The Spanish Flu of 1918 is reported to have claimed 675,000 lives in the U.S. However, recent reports say that could have been over 17 million. Currently, the U.S. is at about 554,000 and unfortunately climbing every day. And to be clear, those are not empty numbers for the families and friends they left behind. 

Among those is Kristin Urquiza, whose father, Mark Urquiza, was one of
those not so lucky. The following is an abbreviated obituary shared with this writer by his daughter. Kristin Urquiza Co-Fonder of Marked by COVID 

Mark Urquiza, who was often called “Black Jack” by his friends and family, was a lover of nature, the night sky, politics, and was often the life of the party. He was a friend, a father, and a joker with a loved a sense of humor. He was also a former 400-meter dash state champion with no known underlying conditions known to be risk factors for COVID-19 patients. And Mark believed it was safe to resume his normal activities in May when Governor Doug Ducey allowed the stay-at-home order to expire. Mark started experiencing severe COVID symptoms approximately three weeks after the stay-at-home order was lifted, and on June 30th, 2020, he was one of 88 Arizonans who died of COVID-19. 

Many will remember his daughter Kristin from news reports and her appearance
at the Democratic National Convention. She gained national attention for publicly blaming Trump and Arizona governor Doug Ducey for downplaying the COVID-19 health risk factors. But unlike many politicians who we trust with the running of our government and protecting our citizens, she did not stop there. 



Kristin, along with Christine Keeves, co-founded a non-profit organization dedicated to working to elevate the true costs of COVID through storytelling and action. Marked by COVID is a national grassroots-powered nonprofit whose mission is to connect and support victims and survivors of COVID, mobilize grassroots action, hold leaders accountable, and promote public policy decisions that center the needs of those most affected and are commensurate in scale to the problem in the pandemic’s wake. 

This organization is dedicated to providing support to people whom COVID has affected, and I believe is needed both on a national and local level. Please go to page 8 where you may view some pictures of those we lost. We also invite you to share pictures of your loved ones; and we will include as many as we can in our next issue. And if you decide to form a local chapter of Marked by COVID, please count on us at Hola Texas to support your efforts. Stay safe and please wear your mask! 

(For more information on Marked by COVID or to donate visit)
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