I have signed up for a webinar hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Partnership on Sept. 2 which will feature U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

I hope to have the opportunity to comment, but if not, let me share the following which I hope the RGVP will share with Senator Cruz, the media present and be placed on the RGVP website.  

Futuro RGV, the cities and counties of the Rio Grande Valley, and other individuals like me have a grave concern about the decision to shorten the time to obtain a complete census count. 

It is going to have a huge impact nationally and even more in South Texas. If the Census Bureau is not compelled to extend the time to complete the count – currently Sept. 30, 2020 – the Rio Grande Valley will lose billions of dollars during the next decade and may lose even more in political power. This is just not good for anyone.   

As you know I am data driven. I’ve been tracking COVID data since the beginning.Here is a snapshot of Texas cases among the counties listed, and deaths dueto COVID as of August 25.Nearly 29 percent of the deaths in Texas (1,857) are in the Rio Grande Valley counties of Hidalgo and Cameron.There are more deaths here in Hidalgo County than any place other than Harris County.

COUNTYCASESDEATHS
HARRIS102,0002,140
DALLAS72,627926
BEXAR45,8231,046
TARRANT40,777590
CAMERON20,739712
HIDALGO27,0181,145
RGV TOTAL47,7571,857
TOTAL STATE308,9846,559
RGV % OF STATE15.5%28.3%
Put simply, the Valley has 15.5 percent of total COVID19 cases among these counties and 28.3 percent of the deaths.

On a national level, during the past 164 days the U.S. has lost 184,639 people due to COVID. There have now been over six million cases. This is more COVID deaths in 164 days than combat deaths in WWI, Vietnam and Korea combined.Ponder that!

In another view, it took 100 days to reach one million cases of COVID. Let’s just say that was theChinese Virus. But it took only 43 days to reach the second million; 27 days to reach the third million; 16 days to reach the fourth million; 16 days to reach the fifth million and another 16 days to reach the sixth million. That’s U.S. giving U.S. the virus.

The RGV remains in the middle of a pandemic. Putting census workers on the street to canvas predominantly low-income minority neighborhoods during the next 30 days of September is cruel and ripe with political insensitivity. This is wrong. It does not need to be that way. If the virus is not going to miraculously dissipate, then let the census count be extended to the end of 2020.  

A recent article in The Rio Grande Guardian is a must read in advance of the 2nd event with Sen. Cruz. The article is about the difficulties in data collection for the 2020 Census and especially in places like the RGV with the covid pandemic. It raises additional fears of households with one or more undocumented family members.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by economic development analyst Michael J. Blum of McAllen. It is based on an email sent by the author to Sergio Contreras, president of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership. Blum, partner and managing broker of NAI Rio Grande Valley, wrote the article in advance of a webinar being hosted by RGVP. The RGVP’s special guest on Sept. 2 will be U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Blum, working with the nonprofit group Futuro RGV, would like RGVP to impress upon Sen. Cruz the importance of extending the self-response period for Census 2020 beyond the current Sept. 30 deadline. The above guest column appears in The Rio Grande Guardian with the permission of the author. Blum can be reached at: [email protected]

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above guest column shows Michael J. Blum. Photo Credit: Valley Business Report.


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