As the global race for the COVID-19 vaccine continues at full speed, the virus continues to collide with other crises across the country. Raging fires sweep up the West Coast, schools delay opening, and unemployment among Latinos and other people of color remains high. In the midst of this uncertainty, President Trump held an indoor campaign rally with very few masks on site on Sunday in Nevada.

This week’s “5 Essential Updates” for our gente include the importance Latinos put on healthcare, expanding COVID-19 vaccine testing, and resources to support Latinos suffering from poor air quality in California. 

1. Health and money on our mind —  Latinos continue to face unprecedented and disproportionate health concerns and financial stress due to the coronavirus pandemic, which will be determining factors for our vote in the 2020 election. A recent Pew report found that eight in ten Latinos said the economy and healthcare are most important to their vote this year.

2. Latino-heavy states suffering —  This week, Texas recorded the third highest number of coronavirus deaths in the country. This means the four top states for COVID-19 deaths — New York, New Jersey, California and Texas — all have large Latino populations.

3. Expanding vaccine testing — The coronavirus has exposed vast inequities in the U.S., so diversity is on our minds. In the midst of Phase 3 of a coronavirus vaccine testing, Pfizer pharmaceutical company has stated the importance of getting a diverse pool of participants. 

4. Unexpected family support — Earlier in the pandemic, experts predicted that there would be a decline in Latin American remittances – the money that immigrants send their families back home. Contrary to expectations, remittances have actually increased. This could be due to the many ‘essential worker’ Latinos who continued toiling, and is a testament to how we come together in challenging times.

5. Bad air — In the past few weeks California has been hit with severe fires, an extra crisis of bad air that has worsened the respiratory issues caused by the coronavirus. To help those who are unhoused in California, or undocumented and in need of extra support during these crises, here are some resources: 

  1. California Farmworker Foundation: launched a public health campaign for farmworkers, including mask donations and COVID-19 testing. 
  2. Poder SF: organizes immigrant Latino families and works towards solutions to help them recover financially from the pandemic.  
  3. Mask Oakland: provides masks for vulnerable populations, specifically those unhoused, disabled, and elderly.

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]