UCLA health experts say Latinos hit hard by COVID because many are essential workers, left unprotected

UCLA health experts say many Latinos were deemed essential workers and left unprotected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A discussion by UCLA health experts is challenging how we interpret data on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Latinos and other communities of color.

"Facts tell different stories, depending on who is picking them, and placing them in a narrative line," said Dr. David Hayes-Bautista/UCLA Center for the study of Latino Health and Culture. "People said 'well Latinos are going to have a high rate because Latinos tend to suffer from obesity they eat all these tortillas and chicharrones and do everything else they shouldn't."

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The country's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and other medical professionals addressed the striking impact COVID-19 has had on Latino communities.

He instead points to the fact that many Latinos were deemed essential workers and left unprotected.

"This was happening around the country," said Dr. Hayes-Bautista. "The transportation drivers, metro drivers, bus drivers, the workers who cleaned the offices, the nursing home attendant."

The research takes a deep dive into inequities and discrimination amplified during the pandemic. Recommendations include not just continuing to increase testing sites in low-income communities of color and rapid testing, but also expanding food assistance programs and internet access.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is making Latino educational, economic and health inequities more extreme

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