EL PASO, Texas -- The nation's top expert on infectious diseases believes that El Pasoans are as "vulnerable" as the residents of nursing homes to contracting and spreading the coronavirus, according to Congresswoman Veronica Escobar.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said his assessment is based on the underlying health and socio-economic conditions of the Borderland's population, which is similar to that of other minority communities which have also been disproportionately impacted.
Fauci made his comments Thursday to Escobar during a conference call with the Hispanic Caucus, she said.
Escobar indicated she shared her concerns with Fauci over Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to start reopening portions of the Texas economy on Friday.
The Congresswoman told Fauci she believed the move to reopen businesses was "premature" because virus testing rates in Texas and El Paso are low, while the number of cases and hospitalizations are currently on the rise significantly.
In two days time, the number of virus deaths in El Paso grew by 50% to 21 on Thursday evening.
Escobar said Fauci’s recommendation was to significantly increase testing and contact tracing, which the nation's top doctor feels is at the core of being able to contain the virus pandemic.
As a result of that conversation, Escobar tweeted that she would be pushing at the federal level to get El Paso "the resources we need to stay safe."
Today, I joined a @HispanicCaucus conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci on the disproportionate impact of #COVID19 on minority communities.— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) April 30, 2020
His assessment: Communities like El Paso are as vulnerable as nursing homes because of our underlying health and socio-economic conditions. pic.twitter.com/VGQ223eaYm
Dr. Fauci’s recommendation is to significantly increase testing and contact tracing, which is at the core of containing the pandemic.— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) April 30, 2020
In the absence of a strategy from Gov. Abbott to protect El Paso, my focus will be getting our community the resources we need to stay safe.