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Alexandra Villarreal tells us how, amid vast income inequalities, California’s Latin American community represents 39% of the state’s population, yet accounts for the majority of positive Covid cases:
When William Sanchez and eleven members of his family contracted Covid-19 around Thanksgiving, his toddler’s temperature spiked, his nephew vomited for days, and his diabetic mother’s blood sugar rolled like a roller coaster.

“Everything you hear on the news about, you know, this virus, and how bad it is… everything they say about it, it’s 10 times worse,” Sanchez said.

Hardest hit was his 72-year-old stepmother, who he said would not be discharged from a Los Angeles hospital due to her diminished capacity.

She was put on a ventilator on Christmas morning, nearly a year after the start of a public health crisis that had already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the United States – and in the midst of the deadliest outbreak of California to date.

“We should have learned, or we should have known,” said Sanchez, an organizer with Unite Here Local 11, which represents workers at hotels, restaurants, convention centers, airports and sports arenas in southern. California and Arizona.

After months of warnings, the Covid carnage in his home country “just doesn’t make sense,” he said.

As corpses overwhelm funeral homes and hospitals faced with the possibility of rationing care, the outbreak in California – an average of 38,955 new infections and around 381 deaths per day, according to the Los Angeles Times – has become a devastating tragedy and disproportionate for Latin American families.

Although Latinos make up 38.9% of the state’s population, they account for 55.1% of positive cases and almost half of all deaths. In Los Angeles County, where more than 850,000 infections have been recorded, Latinos succumb to the virus at 2.5 times the rate of their white counterparts, reported the LA Times.

But “it’s really not about race and ethnicity,” warned Yvonne Maldonado, professor of global health and infectious diseases at Stanford University School of Medicine. “It is about race and ethnicity as a substitute for poverty and inequity.”

Read more here: ‘Everywhere you look, people are infected’ – Covid toll on California Latinos

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