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Spread of coronavirus makes push towards online census paramount

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Posted at 11:36 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 00:36:45-04

WACO, TX — The rise of the coronavirus comes at a time when the United Sates government prepares to send out hundreds of thousands of people to take the U.S. Census, an accounting of the American population.

The United States Constitution requires an accurate count of the American population every 10 years. Unfortunately, this year coincides with the rise of the coronavirus.

It raises some interesting questions, like how the Census Bureau will make sure census takers don't get or spread the coronavirus.

Gloria Fabela finds it just a little worrisome that the U.S. Census Bureau may end up sending thousands of census-takers in the middle of the current coronavirus scare.

"I mean, I would be concerned about getting close to people or anything like that," she explained.

But before anybody comes to your door, the Census Bureau will try to reach you by mail or online.

”Census takers going door-to-door, that wouldn't start until the end of April or May unless, and that would only happen, if you don't complete your census online," said Allison Kay, Staff Planner for the City of Bryan.

That's good news to even those not so worried about the virus.

"The virus, well, I'm concerned about it, but I'm not scared of the virus," said Juana Fabela.

In Waco, the city has a big effort underway to get people counted, complete with a census action center helping target areas where people get under-counted.

Waco will also have kiosks spread throughout town where people can go to fill out an electronic census form.

That plan comes complete with a little coronavirus protection.

”...and part of that is planning for sanitizers and making sure that all of our machines and equipment and computers are sanitized," explained Esmeralda Hudson of the Waco 2020 Census Complete Count Committee.

Which is why Gloria Fabela says the nation's first online census program comes at the perfect time.

"That's a great idea. That would just keep away from other people, you know, to reduce the chances of being contaminated with the virus," she said.

You'll find an invitation to the online census in the coming days. You may eventually get forms in the mail if you don't. So if you want to keep census takers away from your home, better get the survey filled out early.