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Covid-19 Deaths Spike Among Latino Essential Workers in California

The Latino community is experiencing spikes in covid-19 related deaths as the stay at home order has been partially lifted in California. The state saw a five-fold increase in coronavirus death rates among working age Latino in the span of three months, according to a new report released by the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture, part of UCLA Health. Those more at-risk include farmworkers, gardeners, office cleaners, nursing home attendants, meat and vegetable packers, and “others who toil day and night to keep California functioning”, according to the report.

“As the coronavirus works its deadly way into every nook and cranny of California’s population, its victims’ profiles become clearer and clearer: they are the unsung essential workers,” David E. Hayes-Bautista, a health policy professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health who co-authored the report, said in the report.

Researchers looked at the progression of coronavirus-related deaths  in three different working age groups from May 11 to Aug. 11: ages 18-34 (young adults), 35-49 (early middle age), and 50-69 (late middle age). The death rate among young adults increased by 473 percent though the number of deaths is low. Those early middle age experience an increase in deaths by 386 percent and late middle age – who have the highest number of deaths to begin with – saw a 471 percent spike in the time span.

Hayes-Bautista also co-authored a report that found Latinos are about twice as likely as non-Latinos to have no health insurance in California. Therefore, as many of those affected by covid-19 are essential workers they are more at-risk but less likely to be able to affordable healthcare.

Today, farm workers in CA are laboring under extremely difficult conditions to ensure we all have food on our table…

Posted by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel on Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The death rate is highest for late middle-aged Latinos with 54.73 deaths per 100,000,  nearly 25 times higher than the young adult rate at 2.12. It’s also nearly four times higher than the early middle-aged rate at 14.23.

But the reach of the coronavirus among Latinos is not just affecting essential workers but pregnant Latinas as well. Latinas account for nearly 50 percent of COVID-19 cases among pregnant women, according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC collected data from Jan. 22 through Aug. 11 and found that there have been 16,798 pregnant women with COVID-19 in the U.S. A little over 14,100 of them provided information about race and ethnicity and of those 6,447 identified as Latina. Nearly 3,000 were Black and about 3,600 were white.

It’s apparent that accessibility to health care is key for the Latino/a community as Latinos have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group within the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

“Anything that threatens the stability of our economy, like COVID-19’s inroads into the working-age population, needs to be taken seriously,” Hayes-Bautista said in a statement.