Essential Workers Don’t Want to Be Heroes, Diaz Says

Sonja Diaz, executive director of the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, was featured in an NBC News article about the impact of COVID-19 on Latinos in Los Angeles. More than 1 million COVID-19 cases have been reported in Los Angeles County, with a disproportionate effect on Latinos. While they make up about half of the county’s population, Latinos are hospitalized three times more often than white people, the article said. Across California, Latinos make up 40% of the population but account for 55% of confirmed COVID-19 cases and 47% of deaths. Many essential workers must report to work despite the increased risk of exposure to the virus. Black and Latino neighborhoods with high density, lack of green space and few grocery stores are particularly vulnerable. “People go to work not to be heroes but because they need money to exist,” Diaz said. “They’re more likely to live in communities that are not resilient to overcoming or surviving a pandemic.”

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