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On Thursday, August 19, Axios hosted a virtual event on closing gaps to health access in the Latino community. Axios Justice & Race Reporter Russ Contreras and Politics Reporter Stef Kight hosted one-on-one conversations with Representative, Texas' 16th Congressional District The Honorable Veronica Escobar; practicing cardiologist and Chief Medical Correspondent at Univision Juan J. Rivera, M.D.; and Chief CRA Officer and Community Banking & Development Executive at Bank of America Alberto Garofalo.

The Honorable Veronica Escobar unpacked COVID-19’s impact on her community, opening the ports between Mexico and the U.S., and governmental responsibility in vaccination efforts.

  • On the effect COVID-19 had on El Paso, Texas: “We became a national hotspot… for a couple of reasons. Latino populations are especially vulnerable because of lack of access to health insurance…. primary care and high rates of being essential workers. But also because we're on the border and Mexico, which at the time was not testing, tracing and mitigating at the same levels. We were doubly at risk.”
  • Her thoughts on Texas Governor Greg Abbott testing positive for COVID-19: “I hope that it's a wake up call for many Texans in terms of getting vaccinated, but I also wish the governor a very speedy recovery. I hope it's a wake up call for him as well…. I hope that while he is convalescing with the best care around him, he realizes that the vast majority of Texans don't have that, and he has a change of heart.”

Juan J. Rivera, M.D discussed the health care inequities for Latinos in the U.S., Latinos’ heightened risk factors, and the importance of preventative medicine.

  • His thoughts on why Latinos seem to be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19: “It's a population with less access to primary care and preventative care. So when it comes to diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and obesity, which now we know are risk factors for the severity of COVID-19, the prevalence of those in the Hispanic community are tremendous. It attacked a vulnerable population to begin with.”
  • On vaccine hesitation among Latinos: “I think there's a lot of misinformation… on the Internet. If you have, let's say, 25 or 30 percent of Latinos — including undocumented immigrants — that don't have access to... a primary care doctor, that's going to be their source of information. So it's very easy for them to encounter misinformation.”

Axios Chief People Officer Dominique Taylor hosted a View from the Top segment with Chief CRA Officer and Community Banking & Development Executive at Bank of America Alberto Garofalo, who discussed the work Bank of America is doing to support the Latino community.

  • “We're delivering on the $1.25 billion commitment over a five year period to specifically advance racial equality and economic opportunity... This effort further accelerates the work already underway to create opportunities for people of color through direct action, investments and work to catalyze similar efforts across the private sector. It includes things like financing, philanthropy, and the focus is primarily on jobs and reskilling, affordable housing, health and small businesses.”

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 21, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on socioeconomic mobility

On Thursday, October 21st, Axios race and justice reporter Russ Contreras and business reporter Hope King examined the long-standing barriers to achieving socioeconomic mobility that persist today and actions policymakers and private sector leaders can take to alleviate obstacles, featuring Democratic candidate for Maryland governor and former Robin Hood Foundation CEO Wes Moore and National Domestic Workers Alliance executive director Ai-jen Poo.

Wes Moore touched on the pathways to economic mobility, how companies can incentivize employees to stay in their jobs, and which industries were hit the hardest by COVID-19.

  • On how socioeconomic inequities were exacerbated by COVID-19: “What we saw from COVID was not simply an exacerbation of these inequities, it was also an exposure. I think when we’re thinking about what the recovery needs to look like and how we need to think about our capital and these new capital resources that are going to be placed inside of our communities, we need to think about them as investments that we know is going to create a measurable return on our larger societal benefit.”
  • On getting employees back to the workplace safely: “We can’t have a return to work strategy if we do not also have a child care strategy in the way we are going to be dealing with that.”

Ai-jen Poo highlighted the obstacles to socioeconomic mobility for domestic workers and how policy can assist in providing better economic opportunities for many.

  • On the socioeconomic barriers afflicting domestic workers: “It’s been a crisis of impossible choices for domestic workers, we’re talking about 2.2 million mostly women, majority women of color, who work inside of our homes. They work in isolated conditions and earn poverty wages without access to a safety net.”
  • On building mobility in the care sector: “I’m thinking specifically in the care sector, we have the opportunity to invest in care jobs becoming family sustaining jobs for the 21st century, a once in several generations opportunity to transform poverty wage work into good work with real economic mobility.”

Axios SVP of Events & Creative Strategy Kristin Burkhalter hosted a View from the Top segment with Capital One Executive Vice President & Head of External Affairs Andy Navarrete, who discussed data-driven insights on the current state of the American consumer.

  • “We think that some of the root causes of underemployment, most notably the lack of childcare, where we see a disproportionate impact on women workers relative to men and again disproportionate impact for communities of color, that these are areas that the policymakers who are debating what social infrastructure would look like can hopefully glean some insights that may help drive some of the solutions they ultimately adopt.”

Thank you Capital One for sponsoring this event.

1 hour ago - Technology

Scoop: Facebook exec warns of "more bad headlines"

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In a post to staffers Saturday obtained by Axios, Facebook VP of global affairs Nick Clegg warned the company that worse coverage could be on the way: “We need to steel ourselves for more bad headlines in the coming days, I’m afraid.”

Catch up quick: Roughly two dozen news outlets had agreed to hold stories based on leaked materials from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen for Monday publication — but the embargo fell apart Friday night as participating newsrooms posted a batch of articles ahead of the weekend.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.