5 million. That’s the number of coronavirus cases the U.S. passed last week as schools continue to reopen across the country. Aside from the health crisis, our democracy is also at risk. The United Postal Service warned voters the mail-in-ballots could be delayed and Trump admitted to blocking USPS funding in order to stop voting by mail.
This week’s “5 Essential Updates” for our gente includes the growing pessimism amongst those unemployed, environmental pollution affecting Latina mothers, and new testing that will hopefully protect Latino families. And to commemorate the medical workers testing and caring for our communities on the frontlines, our artwork (above) features an Aztec-inspired essential worker by Jorge Garza (@qetzaart).
1. Jobless and pessimistic — Nearly 60% of those who are out of work because of the pandemic say they don’t expect to return to their old jobs, according to a new survey. As the economic crisis continues, Latinos are shouldering the economic collapse. We are disproportionately working on the frontline, and have the highest unemployment rate.
2. Gas flares amidst COVID-19 — A study shows that pregnant Latinas, who are already vulnerable to the coronavirus, are more likely to be exposed to gas flares, which happen in counties across the country. This is putting them at higher risk of preterm births. The World Bank reported that global gas flaring is at its highest in over a decade.
3. Leaders urge better use of tests — In Phoenix’s hardest-hit Latino neighborhoods, 45,000 coronavirus test kits went unused during a 12-day testing effort. Some Latino leaders see this as a failure in outreach and information. “There’s a lot of lack of information from the government,” said Antonio Velasquez, a pastor from the Guatemalan community.
4. Broad testing for Los Angeles students — While COVID-19 testing is chaotic in many parts of the country, the Los Angeles schools district has planned to roll out the most ambitious testing strategy yet. The second largest school district in the nation, which is majority Latino, will test 700,000 students and 75,000 employees before resuming in-person schooling 🙌🏾
5. New tacos in town — In the midst of business collapse, there’s a new taco shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico 🌮 Chef Dominic Valenzuela has opened a new restaurant,Tako Ten, which is an extension of his cherished food truck. He’s feeling positive about the success, even during this pandemic, because, “tacos are a take out style food.”