COVID-19 Continues to Hit Latinos Hard, Especially Younger Workers

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COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact Latinos across the U.S. and in Texas, especially among younger workers.

Experts are analyzing the data and are warning about the social and economic fallout.

Candido Navarrete Herrera of Richardson worked many years in the embroidery business, even stitching jerseys for the Dallas Mavericks.

He fought back against multiple sclerosis, but he could not beat COVID-19.

Herrera died Jan. 14 after contracting the virus in December, according to his niece Jessica Salas.

“He was 47, so I think it was really young,” Salas said. “His life was cut really short.”

The husband and father of three is now part of a troubling statistic in Texas.

“The latest data they were still showing Latinos were dying about 3.5 times higher rates than the white population,” said Ph.D., professor of demography at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Rogelio Saenz.

Saenz found on average, a Latino dying of COVID-19 in the state had 20 years life-expectancy left.

The coronavirus, he says, is claiming the lives of more working-aged Latinos than other groups.

“Over half of all the dead in Texas are Latinos,” he said.

The pandemic has exploited longstanding gaps between Latino and white Americans.

The reasons for increased COVID-19 cases within the Latino community include: increased poverty rates, a lack of health insurance, multi-generational households, obesity rates, and a large percentage of people considered ‘essential workers’ unable to work from home.

“Texas is one of those states, one of 14, 15 states or so, that has not expanded Medicaid which makes it difficult to get healthcare,” Saenz said.

Unemployment numbers among Latinos have also increased.

 “It’s just been devastating,” Saenz said. “Not only in terms of the loss of life, which is massive and precious life, but you’re talking about the impact it’s having on housing, that it’s having on education.”

Saenz fears the economic and social gains Hispanics have made, particularly in the past decade, are being wiped out due to the pandemic.

“New homes that were being purchased, people were going to college,” he said. “Those gains that we were making, that’s going to set us back quite a bit.”

Herrera was the breadwinner for his family. His youngest child is 11, Salas said. Loved ones are now stepping in to help fill the void. They started a GoFundMe account to help with funeral and additional costs.

“Rent is definitely one of the biggest things,” Salas said.

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