Republican senator from North Carolina, Thom Tillis linked the surge in coronavirus cases in his state to the Hispanic population, during a virtual town hall with constituents on Tuesday.
To provide adequate warning that what he was about to say was utter bullshit, the senator prefaced his comments with the words, “I’m not a scientist, and I’m not a statistician.”
“But one of the concerns that we’ve had more recently is that the Hispanic population now constitutes about 44% of the positive cases,” the Republican senator said. “And we do have concerns that, in the Hispanic population, we’ve seen less consistent adherence to social distancing and wearing a mask.”
He continued: “I know that it’s an inconvenience, but it’s a minor inconvenience when you think about the fact that you may be infecting somebody, or you yourself might have an underlying health condition that could make it an acute case that ultimately leads to death. I don’t know if we’d ever have enough police officers to go into every convenience store, grocery store, and cite people for doing it, but I really hope we don’t have to go to that point.”
Across the country, areas with a high Latinx population have reported a disportionately large amount of coronavirus cases due to socio-economic factors. So, that problem is not unique to North Carolina.
Hispanics are more likely to wear mask
Where the senator is way off base was when he said the Hispanic population is less likely to adhere “to social distancing and wearing a mask.”
This was disproved by a CDC editorial published in the journal of the American Medical Association on the same day that Tillis made these comments.
CDC data showed a 14 point increase in the number of Americans willing to wear a mask or some sort of face-covering from April to May. That increase was largely due to white adults finally deciding to wear a mask. Over the one month period, mask approval among white adults jumped from 54% to 75%. While it remains steady among Hispanic adults, 76% to 77%.
A Pew Research study conducted in June also shows that 62% of white adults say they wear a mask in public, while 74 percent of Hispanic adults say they do.
Hispanic adults from early on were far more likely to wear a mask and have a higher approval for mask usage when compared to white adults.
Tillis is facing a tough re-election, he’s consistently trailing his democratic challenger Cal Cunningham in the polls. He also losing in the money race as well, he was outraised nearly 3 to 1 by Cunningham in the second quarter of this year. Democrats believe that this is a seat they can flip as they look to take control of the upper chamber. And with comments like these from Tills, they just might.
Listen to Tillis’ remarks about the Latinx community and masks here, shared by American Bridge, a PAC which supports Democratic campaigns and policy: