The percentage of those getting infected by COVID is, as of today, 66.1 percent, close to double the the percentage of Hispanics living in Travis County (33.9%). Also read yesterday's May 18, 2020 NBC News report titled, “Hispanic leaders demand Austin, Texas, step up coronavirus response for Latinos amid high cases, deaths: Latinos are 34 percent of Austin's population but over half of all COVID-19 cases in Austin and Travis County and are 38 percent of the COVID-19 deaths." I myself blogged about this looming crisis here in Austin a month ago on April 18th.
There's more to the story that you can read about in this KXAN piece posted yesterday below, but I am not at all surprised that construction work is a culprit. I called and sent emails complaining to the Texas Attorney General's office, the mayor's office, a city Council member, and at least two news stations, including KXAN, about this. I was very specific with them, pointing to construction sites near the University of Texas at Austin campus where I saw workers working in close proximity to one another without any masks, gloves, or hand washing stations. And yes, they were mostly Mexican and I told them that this is racist and discriminatory.
What folks should know is that throughout this entire time of supposed lockdown, many crews were out and about getting work done at construction sites across the city even as the workers themselves were worried, without the hand sanitizers, masks, and other protections despite their getting characterized, under Governor Abbott's stay-at-home orders, registering them as "essential workers." Yet not all of the workers—perhaps not even most—at these work sites were defensibly "essential." Rather there was a loophole that had been exploited to justify their continuing work throughout this whole time period. Here's the actual policy:
|Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt|