Last week left tragic headlines for Latinos in the midst of increasing COVID-19 cases. A whistleblower brought attention to the forced sterilizations of migrant women in a detention center, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s death on Friday leaves a huge void. Her rulings have been integral in the journey towards immigration justice and increased voting rights for people of color.
As the political landscape continues intensifying ahead of the 2020 elections, so does the COVID-19 pandemic. In May the U.S. reached 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, and as of Monday, we have surpassed 200,000 deaths. This week’s “5 Essential Updates” for our gente include postal workers catching COVID-19, Latinos’ coronavirus antibodies, and meatpacking workers protesting for their rights.
1. Postal workers catching COVID-19 — This election, the number of Latino eligible voters is higher than ever, and critical to having our vote count is having the ability to safely vote by mail. This is under threat, partly because postal workers have been infected with COVID-19 by the thousands.
2. Latino workers protest for their rights — Throughout the pandemic, meatpacking plants have been hubs for rapid COVID-19 spread. After 17,000+ COVID-19 cases have been reported among meat workers in the U.S., some workers say they were fired after complaining about the lack of coronavirus safety measures. A group of workers in Wisconsin protested outside of Strauss headquarters. One worker, Christine Nuemann-Ortiz said that employees fighting back against this retaliation, “is not just the correct thing to do, but it’s like your fate is tied to one another.”
3. Latino antibody rates skyrocket — Experts are still collecting information on Latino COVID-19 infection rates, but we know that nation wide we’re more likely to have higher exposure to the virus. A recent report in Virginia shows that Latino adults are more than four times as likely to have COVID-19 antibodies than the average Virginian.
4. Chicano classes during the pandemic — If you’re considering a new experience while spending time at home, one class to consider is a Chicano Studies program offered for free by a group of Chicano scholars. The virtual course, “MeXicanos 2070” will cover Chicano politics and history of the movement that changed Latino history across the country.
5. Farmworkers’ son leads new coronavirus therapy — Dr. Eric Salazar was born in South Texas to farmworker parents. Today, he leads a therapy that treats COVID-19 patients with donated plasma, and he says that most of his patients are Latinos. “The fact that they are suffering is enough motivation to do everything you can do to fight this,” Salazar says.