During the fifth week of confinement for many of us, experts warn of risks if lockdowns are relaxed, and we’re seeing more acts of kindness, solidarity, and patience. This week’s “5 Essential Updates” includes stories about how our gente is coping as global coronavirus cases climb towards 2 million, countries extend lockdowns, and efforts to combat the virus continue. 

1. Coronavirus is not an “equalizer” — Despite claims that everyone is impacted equally, Black and Latino populations are contracting and dying from coronavirus at alarmingly high rates — twice as likely in New York City.  Environmental, economic, and political factors increase chronic conditions (asthma, heart disease, diabetes) which partially explains why coronavirus disproportionately affects people of color. The CDC has released location and age data of COVID-19 patients, but experts push for more national data related to race.  

2. Workers are striking — Essential workers on the frontlines of this pandemic are protesting and organizing “sick-outs.” As #generalstrike trends on Twitter, workers at companies like Amazon and Trader Joe’s are demanding better pay and improved workplace safety, measures that will protect them, and also their customers. 

3. Latinos hit hard economically — As a group, Latinos haven’t fully recovered economically  from the 2008 recession, and this pandemic threatens a deeper financial devastation. Almost 50% of Latinos (or family members) have lost work due to the coronavirus. 

4. Global race to find a vaccine — Scientists around the globe are focused on developing a coronavirus vaccine. In Maryland, the National Institutes of Health, led by Dr. 34-year-old Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett (above) is poised to move to first-stage trials for a coronavirus vaccine in about two months. Our hope increases, as dozens of other therapies and treatments are being developed.

5. Solidarity with farmworkers  — We’ve been covering our hermanos and hermanas who continue to toil and harvest the food we eat, despite the risks they face without protections. Much-needed solidarity is showing up as Mexican restaurants in California hand out meals to local fieldworkers and organizations in Florida are raising pandemic relief funds to support them.