As the U.S. passes four million known cases of COVID-19, more infected people are hospitalized than at almost any other time during the pandemic and deaths continue to rise. Although we are closer to creating a coronavirus vaccine, experts warn that there still needs to be a plan B, because “a vaccine is only the beginning of the end.”

This week’s “5 Essential Updates” for our gente focuses on possible solutions. We include: the case for basic income, Joaquín Castro advocating for Latinos who didn’t receive a stimulus check, and guidance on advocating for workers’ rights. 

1. The housing crisis deteriorates — Over 30% of the Guatelaman-Mayan community that sustains Florida’s construction boom has tested positive for COVID-19. Guatemalans travel together each day to construction sites and return to crowded homes and communities. While these communities wait for free testing for everyone, they’re also in need of affordable housing.

2. The case for Universal Basic Income — The surge of COVID-19 cases could be slowed if the world’s poorest people receive temporary basic income, according to a United Nations report. Temporary basic income could save lives, including ours. 

3. Castro advocates for those who didn’t get a check — Around 40% of adults with incomes at or below the federal poverty level did not receive the first $1,200 stimulus check, according to a new report. Many of these were Latinos from mixed-status households. Rep. Joaquin Castro from Texas is pushing the Senate to include these families who still need money to live, in the next stimulus bill.

4. Spanish-speaking contract tracers front and center — Contact tracers are the people employed to trace coronavirus cases and ensure those potentially affected are tested. Some communities, like Peninsula, VA and Chicago, IL, have prioritized hiring Spanish-speaking contact tracers to bridge the language gap. 

5. Advocating for yourself during the pandemic — José Piñero, a Seattle-based career coach, says Latinos should focus on asking for a raise, and promotion, even during this pandemic. José says the most important tips to success are to plan in advance and remember that communication is key

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Luna Olavarría Gallegos (she/her/hers) is a Content Writer for Pulso. She's a storyteller working at the intersections of culture and global politics, and has been published in The Guardian, The FADER and Remezcla. Based in New York, she’s originally from a bicultural home in New Mexico. 📧: [email protected]