Equijua had to pay 16,000 pesos ($800) for a 9500-liter tank.
On December 31, Jesus Equihua left home to find an oxygen cylinder for his mother, who was presenting Covid-19 symptoms. After a couple of hours, he came back with a 9,500-liter cylinder ready to be used. Equijua had to pay 16,000 pesos ($800), more expensive than the usual price, but he said that according to the situation he felt thankful to the seller.
The next day his mother, Ilda Flores, 75, got hospitalized and after seven days of struggling with Covid, she died on January 8. That day going back home from the hospital, Equihua and his wife saw a post by someone they knew in a social media group called Tijuana vs. Covid 2021. Teresa Roldan, his ex-coworker was asking for help to get oxygen for her father.
Equihua didn’t hesitate to help her out. He felt the necessity to honor his mother. “That was her way, helping people without expecting anything back”, Jesus said. “She [Roldan] told me by phone her parents got Covid, but her father needed it the most and she couldn’t pay 3,000 pesos ($150) for the cylinder’s weekly rent, 5,000 pesos ($250) for the deposit, plus the cost of the oxygen itself."
Teresa reports her father is now stable. "When we realized my dad was about to need an oxygen supply, I started looking, and it was more accessible to buy a brand new cylinder, but we couldn't afford it," she stressed. None of the five members of her family worked. ”The cylinders are about 10,000 pesos ($500), The help of Mr. Equihua saved my father's life."
Inés Rodriguez, an industrial engineer who started Tijuana vs. Covid 2021, saw this crisis coming since the virus hit Europe and began to gather health professionals from different branches. The idea was to create a net of reliable information and to monitor the needs of nurses and doctors working in the public hospital, But after some months Covid survivors of relatives started to join and, turned into a kind of forum to connect people affected.
“Until now we have donated about 400,000 pesos [$20,000], mainly in protection equipment for health workers in Tijuana’s General Hospital. Right now, we’re about to donate blood glucose meters; in that hospital, there’s just two available for each floor,” she highlighted. “Thanks to the altruism of our group we have grown to 14,000 members, and there, if we see someone overpricing supplies, we block the person, so we keep a control or at least fair prices,” Ines added.
On January 25, Baja California's health secretary Alfonso Rico, urged the population not to monopolize oxygen cylinders if they don't truly need them; the lack of them is keeping people in hospitals since they can't obtain oxygen treatment in their own house and therefore, patients need to spend more time hospitalized.
Meanwhile Equihua said he’s looking to help others in need as his mother would want. Teresa and her family are performing a type of activism within their close circle by using their own case as an example. “Now is the time to be emphatic between us and know we can support each other in this city."