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New report says COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting the Latino community

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — A new report says COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting the Hispanic community.

Mijente Support Committee says Latinos nationwide are dying at high rates from COVID-19 due to lack of access to health care.

KRON4’s Gayle Ong spoke to a local advocate in the Hispanic community with reaction.

According to California Department of Public Health, Latinos and white have the highest death percentage in the state. But a Bay Area advocate says the Hispanic community is more vulnerable to COVID-19.

“It was really heartbreaking to see because while we shelter in place, you know we need to talk about how that’s a privilege and for others it’s not,” Belinda Hernandez Arriaga said. “So, those who have been on the frontlines, many of them are essential workers are in the Latino community.”

Hernandez Arriage is a psychology professor at the University of San Francisco and the founder of ALAS, a Latino centered nonprofit.

She says many Latinos work in agriculture in the Bay Area, that are considered essential workers.

She’s been providing masks for farm workers.

“We were really surprised as we were doing that, we started to see how many more people did not have protection already four to five weeks into quarantine,” she said. “They were all our Latino workers.”

As of April 17, California Department of Public Health reports Latinos account for 30% of COVID-19 cases and 31% deaths.

Latinos make up 39% of the state’s population.

Whites make up a close percentage of cases and deaths.

In a nationwide report conducted by Mijente Support Committee and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Latinos are dying at high rates from COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions and limited access to health care.

A physician at Zukerburg San Francisco General Hospital told USA Today she is seeing an “overwhelming number of Latino patients”. Blaming the high cost of Bay Area housing, forcing Latinos into crowded small spaces trying to make ends meet.

Arriaga says others can’t afford to see a doctor.

“We’ve heard that many of them don’t want to go out for medical help because they’re scared of the high bill it’s going to cost them or they think there will be some repercussion,” she said.

“Others have to go to work at all times because they’re struggling to make ends meet,” she said. “They also know that we’re depending on them.”

Arriaga’s goal is to make and deliver more masks to farmers in the Bay Area.

She also says Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan to help undocumented Californians is a step in the right direction.

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