This week the U.S. reached a new height of COVID-19 cases, reporting it’s 11 millionth coronavirus case and Latinos are still shouldering much of the physical and economic fall-out. And while news of two new vaccines with high tested efficiency have lifted spirits, experts say it will take months until they’re available to the public

This week’s “5 Essential Updates” for our gente include how COVID-19 affects the Latino retirement gap, a shortage of physicians and tips for traveling these holidays. 

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1. A worsening racial retirement gap —  Before the pandemic, Latino families were behind their white counterparts in retirement savings, and then it got worse. More than 60 percent of Latino households are at risk of being unable to retire with their current standard of living, according to a new study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

2. Short on doctors — Across the country, we have a shortage of healthcare workers. With the rise of COVID-19 cases, thousands of doctors who worried about their own physical and mental health have shuttered the doors to their clinics and left their jobs. By the end of the year, twelve percent are estimated to have closed their doors. As these shortages grow, Latinos and other low-income people of color are disproportionately affected. 

3. Puerto Rico at risk — On Thursday, November 12, Puerto Rico hit a new record of over 1,100 new cases of COVID-19. Since the coronavirus positivity rate on the small island is 10% in most of the municipalities, government officials are concerned and have escalated the warning threat to “orange alert” meaning residents have a high risk of COVID-19 infection. Even 911 call centers were shut down after several employees tested positive for the coronavirus.  

4. Tips for COVID insomnia — Coronavirus insomnia is a thing, according to early evidence that shows staying home all day is impacting our sleep patterns. And although the toll of mental health issues on Latinos is disproportionately high, these communities have been less likely to receive treatment. If you’re experiencing insomnia, experts suggest: 

  1. Exposing yourself to as much daylight as you can during the day
  2. Limiting your use of screens before bed
  3. Using your bed only to sleep in so there’s a healthy separation of activities and habits

5. Your holiday travel questions, answered — It isn’t the best idea to travel during the holidays, but if you’re going to anyway, health experts suggest considering driving instead of flying. And they also have reminded us that just because you received a negative test result doesn’t mean you’re COVID-19-free. The only way you truly reduce risk of transmitting the virus is to not travel anywhere. 

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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]