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Latino communities in the US devastated by Covid-19

CNN's Omar Jimenez looks into how the coronavirus pandemic is disproportionately affecting Latino communities across the nation.

Posted: May 10, 2020 7:31 PM
Updated: May 10, 2020 7:31 PM

In Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, located in the Illinois zip code hardest hit by the coronavirus, most residents are Hispanic.

Amid a surge in cases, Latinos in Chicago represent nearly 39% of confirmed coronavirus cases, despite making up nearly 30% of the population. Four weeks ago, the percentage of confirmed cases among Latino residents was just 14%.

Alex "Demo" Ramirez is among those cases, testing positive for coronavirus on May 1.

"I started moving around and I could not breathe," said Ramirez, speaking to CNN through the window of his basement apartment.

The 28-year-old says he doesn't think people were taking the pandemic seriously enough in the beginning. But he also doesn't know many people who are able to stay home from work.

"A lot of people don't have that benefit," said Ramirez. "That's an actual benefit, being able to stay home for two weeks and not have to work."

For those who have to commute to work, testing is likely their strongest defense. One neighborhood testing site run by Chicago community organization Project Vida alongside Howard Brown health, performs roughly 120 tests daily. The testing site has seen such demand since the beginning that at times they have had to turn people away due to simply a lack of human resources, a lack of time, or even exhaustion.

When they first opened three weeks ago, Project Vida Executive Director Jerome Montgomery said they had a 47% positivity rate among those tested and only about a third of those individuals showed symptoms.

"Since then, our positivity rate has come up to 57.21%," said Montgomery.

"Things don't seem to be slowing down. If anything it's ramping up. The pandemic may be new, but the crises and the disproportionate resources in the community is not."

'Dying at a higher rate'

Chicago's high coronavirus infection rate among Latinos mirrors a trend seen in cities across the country.

In California, Latinos represent 70% of all coronavirus related deaths within the demographic of those 18 to 49-years-old, despite making up just 43% of the population, according to data from the California Department of Public Health.

"That's the occupational side of this -- a disproportionate number of black and brown communities are not teleworking or not home working. They're right on the front lines," said California Gov. Gavin Newsom, during one of his daily coronavirus updates.

In New York City, Hispanics are dying at rates more than 50% higher than their white counterparts, and more than twice the rate of Asians, according to the New York City Health Department.

"We are dying at a higher rate because we have no other choice," said Frankie Miranda, president of the Hispanic Federation, a national Latino organization that supports Hispanic families and communities. "These are the delivery food people, the people that are the day workers, the farm workers, these are people that are working in restaurants. They are essential services, and now they are not enjoying the protections that maybe in other industries people can have."

'This pushes you to do things that you never did before'

In just a few months, Covid-19's economic toll has left lifelong scars. With unemployment in the United States soaring to levels not seen since the Great Depression, Hispanic unemployment sits at nearly 19%, an all time high and higher than any other demographic.

"We're struggling," said Patty Navarro, manager of Novias Davila, a Little Village bridal boutique. With proms and weddings on hold until further notice, Navarro has shifted to making masks. She says her store initially donated over 10,000 of them, but now she sells them for $5 each.

"This pushes you to do things that you never did before," said Navarro. "It's not easy."

Michael Rodriguez, alderman for Chicago's Ward 22, which includes Little Village, agrees that the community faces unprecedented challenges.

"We've got a lot of work to do," he said. "Little Village is filled with working class individuals, people who are essential to our economy, people who are the backbone of Chicago's economy. And the fact is, they're forced to go to work."

It's a reality playing out across the country, and one hat has likely contributed to infections and potentially even deaths, health experts have said.

"People are losing people out here," said Ramirez, wearing a mask and gloves at home, while still recovering from his coronavirus hospitalization.

He said, "You've gotta take it as serious as you take your own life."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 50300

Reported Deaths: 2748
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11920692
Lake5432248
Elkhart347058
Allen2902133
St. Joseph205169
Hamilton1665101
Cass16449
Hendricks1446100
Johnson1325118
Porter80238
Tippecanoe7599
Clark68144
Vanderburgh6816
Madison67264
LaPorte60527
Howard59458
Bartholomew59345
Kosciusko5704
Marshall5308
Noble50128
LaGrange4829
Jackson4783
Boone47444
Delaware46952
Hancock46036
Shelby43525
Floyd40444
Morgan33631
Monroe32928
Grant30926
Dubois2976
Henry29717
Montgomery29720
Clinton2893
White26810
Decatur25532
Dearborn25423
Lawrence25225
Vigo2478
Warrick24329
Harrison21722
Greene19332
Miami1922
Jennings17912
Putnam1728
DeKalb1674
Scott1639
Wayne1536
Daviess15017
Perry1459
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1332
Franklin1278
Ripley1277
Wabash1152
Carroll1132
Gibson1132
Fayette1057
Whitley1045
Newton10010
Starke983
Huntington932
Randolph794
Wells791
Jefferson782
Fulton731
Jay680
Washington681
Knox670
Clay665
Pulaski661
Rush613
Posey550
Owen521
Benton510
Spencer501
Adams491
Sullivan471
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Tipton321
Switzerland300
Martin240
Parke230
Ohio220
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 62856

Reported Deaths: 3032
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11433443
Cuyahoga8786393
Hamilton6563207
Lucas2889305
Marion274039
Montgomery237835
Summit2299209
Pickaway221641
Mahoning1907239
Butler176747
Columbiana135060
Stark1196114
Lorain109769
Trumbull103277
Warren94525
Clark79310
Delaware67515
Fairfield64317
Tuscarawas60110
Lake57022
Belmont56722
Medina56632
Licking56012
Miami50331
Portage48759
Wood47451
Clermont4537
Ashtabula44544
Geauga42543
Wayne37253
Richland3635
Allen34841
Greene3229
Mercer29510
Erie26722
Holmes2575
Darke25326
Huron2382
Madison2139
Ottawa16624
Sandusky15715
Washington14420
Coshocton1413
Ross1393
Crawford1385
Putnam13415
Hardin12312
Morrow1211
Athens1111
Auglaize1094
Jefferson1052
Muskingum961
Union931
Monroe8917
Hancock851
Lawrence820
Preble821
Hocking809
Clinton791
Guernsey793
Shelby744
Williams742
Logan681
Fulton660
Scioto650
Carroll643
Ashland632
Wyandot625
Brown601
Fayette550
Defiance533
Knox531
Champaign511
Highland491
Van Wert451
Perry411
Seneca402
Henry330
Paulding280
Jackson270
Pike270
Adams251
Vinton232
Gallia201
Noble130
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan120
Unassigned00
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Angola
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75° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 75°
Huntington
77° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 78°
Decatur
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77° wxIcon
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Feels Like: 79°
Van Wert
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Breezy, Sunny Saturday
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