Nationwide, Latinx people are hospitalized for COVID-19 at four times the rate of white people. To help in his community, one pastor is using his Spanish-language radio station to share info about the virus — and how to stay safe.
Rural Carthage, Mo., is home to a growing community of Latin American immigrants. Language barriers and economic stress have made it harder to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Terra Fondriest for The Washington Post via Getty Imageshide captiontoggle captionTerra Fondriest for The Washington Post via Getty ImagesThe industrial complex in Carthage where many Latinx residents work is a half-mile walk from the town square.Terra Fondriest for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Francisco Bonilla is a pastor in Carthage, Mo., catering to the spiritual needs of the town's growing Latinx community. But he's also a media personality, casting his voice far beyond the white-painted walls of Casa de Sanidad. Inside the church, Bonilla runs a low-power, Spanish-language radio station.
Bonilla mainly uses the station to broadcast sermons and religious music. But these days he is also focused on COVID-19: explaining the illness and its symptoms, updating his listeners with the newest case counts, and bringing on guests. He has broadcast
interviewswith a local nurse and with investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Bonilla and some fellow pastors have closed their churches amid the COVID-19 crisis. But there are some 30 churches serving the town's Latinx community, and he says other pastors haven't acted as responsibly.
Bonilla says that some church leaders may believe that if they don't hold services, it means they don't have faith, and they want to show God is in control.Casa de Sanidad is one of around 30 churches serving the Latinx community in Carthage.Seth Thompson
toggle captionSeth ThompsonStarting in June, the southwest corner of Missouri experienced a surge of coronavirus cases, including an outbreak among workers at the Butterball poultry processing plant in Carthage.Coronavirus infections have been a problem at meat and poultry processing plants in many states. The impact has been particularly hard on nearby Latinx communities, which often provide the bulk of the workforce inside the plants.
Hispanic and Latinx people have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. In Missouri, they make up 4% of the state's population butin which race or ethnicity is known. In Jasper County, where Carthage is located, they comprise almost 40% of the confirmed cases, but only 8.5% of the county population, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Nationwide, Hispanic and Latinx patients are hospitalized for COVID-19 atfour times the rateof white people.Many Latin American immigrants came to Carthage to work at the Butterball poultry processing plant, which employs some 800 people in the town of 15,000. The first to arrive in Carthage were predominantly from Mexico. But the bulk who moved to the area over the past two decades came primarily from Guatemala and El Salvador.
The Butterball plant is half a mile from Carthage's town square, a straight shot north along Main Street. Along the stretch are small shops and restaurants, many with Spanish-language flyers in the windows. They advertise money transfer services, self-help books, and the availability of regional ingredients from Guatemala and El Salvador.
The Butterball plant has always been a sort of anchor for Carthage councilman Juan Topete: his Mexican-American parents worked there in the 1992, after moving the family to Carthage from Los Angeles. When he was younger, Topete also worked for Butterball.
What Do Coronavirus Racial Disparities Look Like State By State?"My family came from having nothing, whatever we had in our U-Haul and that was it, to owning a restaurant and selling it later and being well established in the community," Topete explains.
It's a common story for many of the Latin American immigrants to Carthage, who can find good-paying jobs at the plant without having to speak English."When I first moved down here, if you were Hispanic you knew each other," Topete says."It was a very tight group and it's expanded tremendously these last few years."
These days, a third of the people in Carthage are Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2016, Topete won a seat on the city council, the first Latinx resident to do so.Topete says the Latinx residents at Butterball and in other essential jobs face pressure on several fronts. Some who test positive for the virus nevertheless feel like they have to keep going to work. They're afraid of being laid off, or they need the money for their families.
"I do know people that have tested positive," Topete says."I try to stay in contact by calling them, following up on them, making sure they're doing OK."A CDC team came to Carthage to investigate the outbreak. They reported the virus made its way into the Butterball plant, infecting workers and spreading through their families. In a statement, Butterball confirmed workers have tested positive, but declined to say how many.
Topete says some residents still don't know much about the disease, so the city is ramping up its outreach.Left: The Supermercado Coatepeque in downtown Carthage, MO. Right: Dozens of stores and restaurants catering to the Latinx community line a half-mile stretch of Main Street between the courthouse square and the Butterball plant, a major employer.
Sebastián Martínez Valdivia/ KBIA; Seth Thompsonhide captionSebastián Martínez Valdivia/ KBIA; Seth ThompsonA Spanish-languepublic service announcementproduced by the Carthage Police Department explains that just because the Missouri governor has lifted the statewide stay-at-home order, it doesn't mean the virus is gone.
The police department is part of the town's COVID-19 taskforce, and has helped Topete post flyers for the Latinx community.Rural health departments can have a harder time connecting to immigrant communities, says Lori Freeman, CEO of theNational Association of County and City Health Officials
.These health departments are smaller, and typically have fewer language resources than their larger, urban counterparts, Freeman says. "In larger or even medium health departments there are community health workers that are often bilingual or lingual enough to serve the communities that exist in the demographic area that they serve," Freeman says.
At La Tiendita, a Mexican grocery store and restaurant, owner Jose Alvarado has taken some steps to help keep his workers and customers safe.He's concerned about children being exposed to the virus when their parents bring them along to shop, so he's posted a sign on the door asking that only one member of a family enter at a time. Next to the industrial tortilla maker, he has marked the floor with large"X"s, as a visual guide and reminder for customers to stay socially distant from one another.
Topete fears the town's Latinxcommunity could become a scapegoat for the virus. He says many people have the impression that the virus has only affected workers at the Butterball plant, when in reality it has spread throughout town.Topete says that Carthage officials need to keep up their outreach efforts, but he does think the educational efforts are working: on a recent trip to the store, he saw more Latinx shoppers than before wearing masks — and more of them were wearing masks than white shoppers.Read more: NPR »
St. Pete couple raises $20,000 to buy masks for their community
The Florida couple continues to do more by involving their community in fundraising efforts for more masks.
Please stop butchering the Spanish language Latino people don’t want to be called “LatinX”. None of them want it and woke leftists are literally colonizing their language. Except for you fools no one uses the term Latinx. As with Cortez, the Aztecs and smallpox, there could easily be a racial biologic component in an individual's resistance to COVID19.
'Latinx...has not replicated that success since its introduction, in 2014. It has been celebrated by intellectuals, journalists, and university officials... But in one poll, only 2 percent of America’s Latinos said they preferred the term.' 2%. But what do they know? Elitists. Do you want and other blue checks to stop using the term Latinx, or do you think that's the best available option?
Latinx? That's not a word in Spanish. Latinx isn’t a thing and is racist We prefer “Anglx.” Please correct. Thank you. LatinX isn't a thing, National Psychological Revisionism Stop calling us Latinx! You guys, nobody I know in Latin America uses “Latinx”. They cringe. Doesn’t that tell you something? Latino/Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race
Defund NPR Latinx are not white people? Are they people? Who came up with 'latinx'? 'Latinx' is just language gentrification Latinx? Oh, my, aren't we woke. My LatinO friends tell me they hate that ‘Latinx’ crap. Latinx Please just stop. Stop putting a label on people that they don’t use for themselves. 'I sent you a man in a truck, a man in a boat, and a man in a helicopter. So why the heck are you here?'
When one group, who is a minority, has a higher rate of something that affects all people, even the majority, its time to admit something is wrong. This isnt coincidence. This is almost targetted. For the latinsx and african americans.
Some Latinx Communities In The Midwest Struggle To Follow Coronavirus Safety MeasuresLatinx communities have been disproportionately hit by the coronavirus. But helping recent immigrants understand how to protect themselves is complicated, especially in rural areas.
Vietnam reports first virus death after months of successful countermeasuresVietnam recorded its first death from COVID-19 on Friday after winning plaudits worldwide for one of the most successful pandemic responses to containing the novel coronavirus outbreak. 😢 Children May Carry Coronavirus at High Levels, Study Finds
Australia's government to back Victoria's strict coronavirus lockdownAustralia's government expressed support on Sunday for the strictest social-distancing measures yet by the state of Victoria in an effort to contain the new coronavirus. No freedoms in Australia. Nice to know the government there can arbitrarily decide how long basic freedoms & civil liberties will be taken away. Meanwhile, idiot Liberals in America are upset because they have freedom. They would love nothing more than an authoritarian crackdown! Responsible federal leadership. We have ZERO here. AmericanGenocide TrumpsGenocide FASCIST INSANITY
Australia's Victoria to toughen coronavirus lockdown: mediaAustralia's Victoria state will toughen its social distancing measures in the coming days as the country's second-most populous state struggles to contain the novel coronavirus, media reported on Sunday. It’s Melburnian.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)Had a positive COVID19 test? Recovered? If you answered ‘yes’ to both of these questions, we need you to say ‘yes’ to a plasma donation. Your plasma has antibodies that may help others fight COVID. Find a donation center at fema I dont understand biology well (not my forte) but is this not a better solution than dumping millions into rushing a vaccine through? I tried but they rejected me cause I’m over 67
Fauci testifies 'highly contagious' virus won't disappear, as Trump jeers at DemsDr. Anthony Fauci: “The overwhelming cumulative evidence of properly conducted randomized controlled trials indicate no therapeutic efficacy for hydroxychloroquine.' Bs This guy makes OJ Simpson look innocent Someone should tell my best friends father who had cancer in January. Caught the virus in July. Recovered. Took HCQ that it didn’t work.