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Census Day is no April Fool’s joke

Census Bureau: COVID-19 makes accurate count more urgent

SAN ANTONIO – Census Day, April 1, is not a deadline, it's a reminder, said Michael Cook, chief spokesman for the U.S. Census Bureau.

"We can't do this by ourselves," Cook said. "This is your census."

The actual deadline is Aug. 14, but given the uncertainty over the COVID-19 crisis, Cook said, an accurate count has become even more urgent.

Cook said not only will a lower count mean less political representation, but also potentially far less federal funding.

“For 10 years, the results of an accurate count turns into billions of dollars every year and federal funds coming through the local area,” Cook said.

Texts, not door-knocks: Census outreach shifts amid virus

Besides social services and infrastructure projects, Cook said less federal dollars could impact health facilities, Medicare and Medicaid over the next decade at a time when it’s unknown how long the crisis will last.

As it is, Cook said keeping census takers and the public safe is why the Census Bureau is not knocking on doors.

But that may change if the public doesn’t self-respond by going online, by phone or mailing back the forms that were sent earlier this month, he said.

Coronavirus have you stuck at home? Fill out your 2020 Census

In response to another concern regarding a possible citizenship question struck down for the 2020 census by the U.S. Supreme Court, Cook said the final count will have only statistical data, no names.

“It’s only produced and released so that decision-makers can make impactful decisions and data-driven decisions that affect our daily lives,” he said.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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