Things That Matter

Republican Senator Blames Latino Community For Disproportionate COVID Case Numbers

Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina is facing pushback after claiming that Latinos don’t follow health guidelines as well as everyone else. According to Sen. Tillis’s non-scientific statement, the Republican politician claims that this is why Latinos have higher Covid-19 rates.

Republican Senator Thom Tillis claims that the Latino community is to blame for the staggering infection rate.

During a virtual town hall, Sen. Tillis claimed that Latinos are not adhering to social distancing and mask guidelines as much as the rest of the population. The announcement faced immediate backlash because studies prove that his statements are false.

According to the Pew Research Center, the Latino community is more likely to adhere to mask mandates than African-Americans and white people. Seventy-four percent of Latinos who were surveyed said they were a mask all of the time or most of the time when in a business or store with 13 percent saying they wore masks some times. Asian-Americans have the highest rate of mask-wearing with 80 percent saying they wore them all or most of the time when in a business or store. White people were last with 62 percent of them wearing masks all of most of the time in a business or store.

Some people are not letting the comment pass without a strong rebuke.

Rep. Veronica Escobar represents Texas’s 16th congressional district, which includes El Paso. Rep. Escobar was there for the community when Patrick Crusius drove to the Walmart and killed 23 people. The El Paso shooting highlighted the racism building against the Latino community with President Donald Trump’s words being echoed in his manifesto.

“Just wear the mask out of respect,” Sen. Tillis said during the town hall. “Now I will tell you I’m not a scientist and I’m not a statistician, but one of the concerns that we’ve had more recently is that the Hispanic population now constitutes about 44 percent of the positive cases, and we do have some concerns that in the Hispanic population we’ve seen less consistent adherence to social distancing and wearing a mask.”

Sen. Tillis, in his statement, overlooked the prevalence of Latinos in essential jobs.

Latino workers are among the least likely population to have jobs that they can work from home. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Latinos have had to work to provide essential services to people like grocery store employees. These people are not able to stay home and stay safe, which is why the community is at an increased risk of Covid-19 infection.

Sen. Tillis is currently in a very visible reelection and his opponent leads in the polls.

Sen. Tillis is facing a challenger in Democrat Cal Cunningham. A recent CNBC poll has Cunningham leading Sen. Tillis by ten points, 51-41. This race is one that people are watching closely to see if the Republican Party can keep their control over the Senate.

READ: As Covid-19 Cases Surge At ICE Detention Centers, Many Are Asking How The Government Plans To Help

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Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez Are Partnering With Global Citizen For ‘Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World’

Entertainment

Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez Are Partnering With Global Citizen For ‘Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World’

Photo via Getty Images

While the United States is as of publication, has vaccinated over 75 million people against COVID-19 since mid-December, the rest of the world is still catching up. Poorer countries, for example, are struggling to procure enough vaccines for essential workers–let alone their entire population.

Luckily, certain charitable business are making it their mission to get vaccines to the most needy. For example, anti-poverty organization Global Citizen has organized a charity concert with the aim of getting COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries.

Selena Gomez will be hosting the concert, called “VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World”. And none other than Jennifer Lopez will be headlining.

Selena Gomez took to Twitter to announce her involvement in the exciting project. “I’m honored to be hosting ‘VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World,’ ” she wrote.

“This is a historic moment to encourage people around the world to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, call on world leaders to share vaccine doses equitably and to bring people together for a night of music in a way that hasn’t felt possible in the past year. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Jennifer Lopez also took to Twitter to announce her involvement with VAX Live, saying that she is “calling for equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution for all”. That’s a statement we can get behind!

Jennifer Lopez isn’t the only superstar performing. Other acts will include J Balvin, H.E.R., and the Foo Fighters.

Global Citizen has one goal: to raise $22 billion for global vaccinations via corporate and philanthropic donors. They’re hoping VAX Live will bring awareness to their efforts.

“There are 27 million healthcare workers globally who don’t have access to the vaccine,” said Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans to the Associated Press. “I’m 38 years old, and it’s not ethical for me to have access to the vaccine before these heroic first responders and community health workers. So we need governments to start urgently donating those doses.”

Tom Hart, the executive director for another anti-poverty organization, The ONE Campaign, also reiterated the importance of getting vaccine doses into the hands of developing countries.

“Low-income countries not only need this welcome fundraising effort; they need access to COVID-19 vaccine doses,” Tom Hart said.

“The United States has secured over 550 million excess doses that could be used to help end the global pandemic faster.”

You can catch VAX LIVE on ABC, CBS, and iHeartMedia stations on 8:00 p.m. ET on May 8th. It will also be airing on Fox starting at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT the same day. You’ll also be able to catch an extended version on Global Citizen’s YouTube channel on May 8th as well.

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Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Things That Matter

Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Photo via Getty Images

Currently, Brazil is one of the world’s epicenters of the coronavirus. In March 2021, Brazil saw 66,573 COVID-19-related deaths. That means 1 in every 3 COVID-related deaths worldwide are occuring in Brazil.

And it doesn’t appear that the numbers will be slowing down anytime soon. While the United States is making strides in their COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Brazil is lagging far behind. And things are about to get a lot more complicated.

On Tuesday, Brazil passed a bill that would allow corporations to buy up as many vaccines as they can get their hands on, and privately distribute them to their employees first.

Elected officials in Brazil are arguing that the country has become so desperate to vaccinate its citizens, that it doesn’t matter who gets the vaccines first at this point.

The country, once renowned for having one of the most robust and efficient public vaccine-distribution programs in the world, has failed to make strides towards getting their citizens vaccinated.

“We are at war,” said the leader of the chamber, Arthur Lira. “And in war, anything goes to save lives.” We don’t know about you, but usually when it comes to war, we’ve heard that soldiers prioritize the health and safety of young, the weak, and the elderly before their own? We digress…

Brazil’s plan to privatize the vaccine rollout has brought up moral and ethical questions.

From the beginning, the World Health Organization has asked countries to first prioritize essential health workers and then high-risk populations when distributing the vaccine.

Anything other than that would promote a pay-to-play schemes in which the rich could protect their lives before poor people could. And poor people are more likely to die from COVID-19 in the first place.

As Alison Buttenheim, behavioral scientist and expert on the equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine said, vaccine distribution should not “exacerbate disparities and inequities in health care,” but instead address them. Brazil’s vaccine rollout plan would fail to do any of the above.

If countries begin to allow the rich to prioritize their own interests during the vaccine rollout, the consequences could be disastrous.

In a time when the world is stoked by fear and uncertainty, the worst thing that can happen is for rich companies to exacerbate inequalities by effectively choosing who lives or dies.

As the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization said at the beginning of the global vaccine rollout: “any distribution of vaccines should advance human well-being and honor global equity, national equity, reciprocity, and legitimacy.”

Poor Brazilians should not be left to fend for themselves against COVID-19 simply because they are poor.

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