Houston mayor launches new campaign to increase COVID-19 awareness

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a new multilingual campaign Thursday to raise awareness in communities that are most affected by COVID-19. Focusing on people of color, mainly the Hispanic community.

Turner says that right now Houston’s Hispanic community is affected disproportionately, accounting for 40% of positive COVID-19 cases and 45% of deaths. 

FOX 26 spoke with Joe Gomez, who despite those numbers, survived the virus. 

“You know, it’s hard when, you know, your mind just turns off, what am I gonna do? Am I not gonna be able to see my family, my wife, my kids? Am I gonna come out of here alive? Am I gonna be walking or what question? It’s a scary moment.“

LIVE: Interactive Coronavirus case data and map

Gomez is a 72-year-old Hispanic man with diabetes. Testing positive for COVID-19 should have been a death sentence for someone like him.

"And I thought I was going to die. I'm serious. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't think. I had no hunger. I went in weighing 217, wait no, 227 I went in. When I came out, I weighed 207, I lost 20 pounds in five days from not eating," said Gomez, who is from Northside and he believes he contracted the virus while volunteering in his neighborhood. 

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the “Better Together” campaign on Thursday. The goal is to saturate these vulnerable communities with as much information as possible about the Coronavirus. They will achieve this through television, radio, print, and social media in both English and Spanish.

“Especially in communities of color and especially in the Hispanic community. We quite frankly have concluded that we have no choice but to go directly into the neighborhoods, go door-to-door to provide the information that people should be receiving,” says Turner.


Gomez is hoping this campaign, and his story, are enough to make more Hispanics aware of the dangers of the virus.

“It shows that the city is interested in trying to help you, instead of saying, ‘nah, he’s just doing it because of blah blah blah.’ He is out here proving himself, you know, to help the community that’s good. I’m all for that.“

Mayor Turner says that starting Friday employees from the Houston Health Department will be on the ground spreading information in those communities.