More Latinos in California are Dying of COVID-19
Latinos are dying of COVID-19 in California at higher rates than other groups, and many factors come into play.
In California, the most hit are the Latinos. The COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll at more than 50,000 cases in the Central Valley. With this, many families feel the impacts of the pandemic.
The California Department of Public Health said, as of August 16, there have been more than 628,000 COVID-19 cases in the state. Nearly 60% of them are Latinos.
Latinos are also dying at a higher rate than other groups, making up nearly 48% of COVID-19 deaths in the state. This is despite them only being 39% of the population.
As said in a Los Angeles Times, the gap between Latinos and other groups when it comes to COVID-19 is "narrowing." But it is still a matter of concern.
ABC's Latino Life takes a closer look at these factors leading to high COVID-19 deaths among Latinos.
Many Latinos in California are Essential Workers
Many local and state advocates have pointed out that Latinos are mostly essential workers.
Governor Gavin Newsom himself noted this and made sure there were more safeguards for them.
In the case of farmworkers, there are several other challenges, such as crowded living and workspaces.
"A large portion of our population here are farmworkers and oftentimes have to work very close to each other in large groups," noted Dr. Rafael Martinez from United Health Centers.
Martinez added that Latino homes usually aren't "very isolated" as people live together with multi-generational families. Taking those factors into account makes it harder to isolate from others.
Language Barriers Hinder Information
Getting more information about the virus also becomes a challenge for some Latinos.
California Farmworker Foundation Executive Director Hernan Hernandez said data points to hesitance among farmworkers to get tested. Some of them may think they can get COVID-19 in hospitals or clinics.
Hernandez added that there are statistics showing that farmworkers will get tested if it was offered at their job.
COVID-19 testing spaces have to be inclusive, said Hernandez. These kinds of spaces will make them feel safe. It is "where they feel comfortable so that therefore, they can get COVID-19 testing, and we can know exactly how the spread is," said Hernandez.
The same holds true for vaccine trials. Some races react differently to drugs, so having Latinos on board will have more reliable results.
But, right now, many vaccine trials struggle to get Latinos. Only 10% of the participants in studies are Latinos or Black, said a CNN article.
Many Live in At-Risk Neighborhoods
Los Angeles Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer noted that most of the residents in lower-income neighborhoods have a higher risk of getting COVID-19.
On top of that, Latinos also have to do essential work daily. Their work did not have the right protective gear such as masks when the pandemic first hit the U.S.
These kinds of communities also have limited access to testing. This is why more sites are being set up near communities.
Mexican Consul General Marcela Celorio stressed that the people would be given the free testing in sites with or without health insurance. No one will be asked about their immigration status as well.
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