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U.S. Latinos already bear an extraordinary burden of COVID-19 cases and deaths and health and social inequities.
Now job loss and stress are piling up for Latinos, according to new surveys.
What about Latino Job Status, Finances amid Coronavirus?
The financial toll of the coronavirus outbreak has hit Latino Americans especially hard, according to a Pew Research Center survey on May 5, 2020.
Here are some key survey findings:
- 61% of Latinos report they or someone in their household experienced a job or wage loss due to coronavirus. Only 38% of white adults report the same. These shares were up from 49% and 29%, respectively, in a March 2020 survey.
- 70% of Latinos report they did not have emergency funds to cover three months of expenses. This compares to 47% of whites.
- 44% of Latinos report they “cannot pay some bills or can only make partial payments on some of them this month.” This compares to 28% of whites.
The U.S. has a 14.7% unemployment rate, according to federal data released May 8, 2020.
The rate among Latinos is significantly higher at 18.9%.
“In part, that’s because a greater share of Latinos work in some of the hardest-hit industries, such as hospitality, dining, and retail. Many others are small business owners, sole proprietors, or independent contractors also at greater risk for loss of income,” CNBC reports, offering information to those who have been laid off.
What about Latino Physical and Mental Health amid Coronavirus?
Latinos also are struggling with their stress and health amid lockdown, according to a survey by HolaDoctor on May 14, 2020.
Here are some key survey findings:
- Over 20% of Latinos say they are suffering anxiety. 15.7% say they suffer from increased stress.
- Nearly 12% of Latinos say they have gained weight.
- Nearly 33% of Latinos say they “fear what the future may hold.”
Only 34.5% of Latinos say their health insurance gives them enough coverage to face COVID-19.
“However, 26.5 percent think they should expand their coverage and almost 13 percent recognize that their health insurance is insufficient for the situation,” according to the news release about the survey. “Moreover, around 26 percent lack any protection, responding that they do not have health insurance.”
What about Latino Living Conditions amid Coronavirus?
The survey by HolaDoctor also shed light on Latino family living conditions.
Most Latinos families say they live in large groups: 25% in households of five or more; 15% in households of four; and 25% in households of three.
Nearly 65% of Latinos say the lockdown should continue until at least June 1, 2020. 35% say it should last beyond June 15.
Only 15% say it should end immediately.
“Furthermore, more than 50 percent of survey participants think that each state in the union should impose its own lockdown exit strategy,” according to the survey.
Why Do Latinos Face Such Inequities amid Coronavirus?
Even before COVID-19, inequitable city planning, historic discriminatory practices like redlining, and other inequities created racial/ethnic wealth gaps in neighborhoods. These areas lack health-promoting assets like healthcare and jobs.
Latino neighborhoods, for example, struggle with equitable access to:
- healthy food
- safe places for physical activity
- affordable housing and transit
- social support
- healthy school environments
Now COVID-19 is exacerbating these health inequities.
Latinos are essential workers on the front lines, in health, retail, and food jobs. Fewer Latinos can work from home. They are facing colossal job loss. They don’t have access to testing and care.
“Evidence from previous recessions show families of young children with low incomes, communities of color, and immigrants are particularly vulnerable to economic downturns resulting in increased economic hardship over longer periods of time even after the economy as a whole recovers,” according to Children’s Healthwatch.
“This reality, when compounded by pre-existing wealth disparities by race, ethnicity, and gender, will exacerbate inequity and increase hardship.”
What Can We Do to Promote Latino Health Equity amid Coronavirus?
We need immediate focus to ease the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on Latinos and people of color. And we need long-term strides to address underlying inequities that are aggravated during this time.
It won’t be easy, or fast.
But here are 19 ways to push for health equity amid coronavirus.
You can also get a “Health Equity Report Card” for your area!
Select your county name and get a customized Health Equity Report Card by Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio. You will see how your area stacks up in housing, transit, poverty, health care, healthy food, and other health equity issues compared to the rest of your state and nation.
You can email your Health Equity Report Card, share it on social media, and use it to make the case for community change to boost health equity.
Get your health equity Report Card!
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By The Numbers
of healthcare workers should focus on infection control