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Coronavirus in Florida

‘Latino communities have been taking it on the chin’ during COVID-19; Democrats say more should be done

Democrats highlighted the plight of the Latino community.

Florida Democrats highlighted the plight of the Latino community during a Thursday Zoom conference as Florida’s economy continues to struggle through the coronavirus outbreak.

Thursday’s jobless report showed another 223,000 Floridians had filed for unemployment in the past week. Since March, more than 2.1 million have now filed claims.

“Florida and the nation’s economies are on the break of ruin in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party.

“This is the tragic result of Donald Trump‘s failed leadership. He failed to prepare us for the coronavirus and we are paying the price.”

Rizzo took part in the Thursday call pushing for more help for Latinos struggling through economic effects. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez and Rep. Javier Fernández also joined the call.

“We have seen so much suffering in communities across the country, and Latino communities have been taking it on the chin in particular,” Perez said.

Reports have shown Latino small business owners have had difficulty accessing relief through the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

An NBC News report also found the impact of the virus is “threatening to erase Latinos’ decade-long climb back to financial stability” after the 2007-08 financial collapse.

Florida is home to a sizable Latino and Hispanic population. Fernández argued those workers who hold jobs in the service and tourism sectors will continue to be impacted even as the state begins to reopen.

“Florida’s an economy that depends on more than 120 million tourists to visit every single year,” Fernández said. “If we’re going to have a robust economy, we need people to come back to Florida. We need them to come back fast.”

Fernández argued Gov. Ron DeSantis needs to ramp up the state’s testing capacity more quickly if those jobs are to return any time soon.

“Our failure to have a system, a robust statewide policy around testing and contact tracing, is not just a matter of public health, it’s an essential part of the functioning of our economy.

The state has increased its testing capacity in recent weeks, particularly in South Florida, which has been the epicenter of the state’s outbreak. The state — and rest of the nation — still do not have the ability to rapidly test masses of individuals to the extent needed to ensure a safe reopening of the full economy, according to experts.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump attempted to court minority voters to support him by asking, “What do you have to lose?”

With COVID-19 disproportionately impacting minorities, Perez referenced that quote Thursday and offered a retort: “The answer is your job, your health care, your livelihood and your lives.”

Andres Malave, the Republican National Committee Regional Communications Director in charge of Hispanic outreach, fired back in a statement of his own.

“While Florida Democrats are busy politicizing a national emergency, President Trump, Gov. DeSantis and Republican leadership in Congress have led a bold, whole-of-America approach to slowing the spread of coronavirus,” Malave said.

“President Trump’s policies have built the strongest economy in the world over the last three years, and he’s poised to do it again.”

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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