On Wednesday, Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, DNC Chair Tom Perez, Texas Senate Democratic Leader Carol Alvarado, and State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer held a roundtable discussion on how Trump’s Failed Response to the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the Texas Latino community.
COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Latino communities in Texas and across the country. In Austin alone, 64 percent of the new coronavirus hospitalizations are Hispanic individuals, compared to 22 percent for whites. Statewide, almost 25 percent of Latinos have tested positive for COVID-19, while the rate is only 7.3 percent for non-Latinos. Additionally, Latinos make up 40 percent of confirmed cases, compared to 27 percent for whites.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump and Greg Abbott continue to declare “Mission Accomplished” while cases continue to rise in Texas, breaking records for Texans contracting the disease and hospitalizations, and Latino unemployment remains at 19 percent across the country.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa was unequivocal in his criticism.
“What we have here is a failure of leadership of the Republican Party, in every stage of the game,” Gilberto said. “In Texas, we have deja vu of what Trump did. We had a governor who wasn’t willing to accept that this was an issue that needed to be dealt with.
“Rather than taking the necessary steps to address the problem, to order the necessary PPE, the testing, he [Greg Abbott] sat on these issues, made some promises, and never delivered on any of them.”
Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez joined the conversation via online video and reiterated the severity of the impact in Texas.
“Yesterday was the day we had the most cases reported in Texas,” Perez said. “Yet you have a governor who has his head in the sand, and a president who is too concerned with tweeting.
“Our economy has collapsed in the throws of this horrific public health pandemic. This pandemic has particularly touched African American, Latino, and Native American communities.”
Texas Senate Democratic Leader Carol Alvarado hopes the current crisis will lead to improvements in the system overall.
“This COVID-19 virus has put a highlight on healthcare,” Alvarado said. “There’s no reason that we shouldn’t expand Medicaid. Democrats have tried to get expansion of Medicaid for the last decade. Since the decision was made in 2012 in the Supreme Court on Medicaid, Texas has left 70 billion dollars on the table.
“The unemployment rate for Latinos is the highest of any other group, we’re right at 19 percent. Latinos and people of color are always the ones who are hit the hardest. We’re the first ones to lose our jobs and the last ones to regain our jobs.”
State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer called for a more cooperative approach from the top of the Texas government.
“The governor has not heeded the advice of local authorities, and all the while people are getting sick, particularly minorities and people of color,” Fischer said. “Austin is not known to be a heavy Latino populated city, like San Antonio or Houston, but even in Austin, 53 percent of the COVID-19 cases and 66 percent of the hospitalizations are Latinos.”