One-fourth of Latinos in the United States said they know someone who has been infected with COVID-19, according to a poll released Wednesday. Of those Latinos, one-third reported knowing somebody who died from the coronavirus.
The poll also found that 27 percent of those surveyed said they knew someone who wanted a test, but had not been able to get one.
"As long as we remain the largest uninsured population in the country, we're going to be susceptible to disproportionate impact when a health pandemic occurs," Janet Murguía, president of UnidosUS, the largest Latino nonprofit advocacy organization, said in a call with reporters Wednesday afternoon.
Latino Decisions conducted the poll on behalf of UnidosUS and MoveOn, a progressive public policy advocacy group, and SOMOS Community Care, a New York-based health care provider network for Medicaid enrollees. SOMOS was co-founded by Henry Muñoz III, a former Democratic party official who is associated with the Joe Biden's presidential campaign.
"For me, COVID-19 is a magnifying glass showing historic inequities, injustice and the lack of opportunities that our community has experienced. This was, over the course of the last few weeks, eye-opening and disheartening to see what was happening," Muñoz said.
Last week, pollsters asked 1,829 Latinos nationwide — including over samples of Latinos living in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Texas, New York and New Jersey — how the coronavirus pandemic has affected their daily lives. Their findings show that Latino communities continue to be disproportionately affected by the virus.
The poll found 60 percent of Latinos had either experienced a job loss or had seen reduced employment hours pay cuts. Twenty-two percent of those surveyed had experienced both.
Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto, D-Nev., said the new data confirms what she has heard anecdotally in her district.
"We already know that Latinos face barriers to access health care and serious health disparities that put them at a higher risk of chronic illnesses such as asthma and heart disease. And now, many of them find themselves being essential workers," she said.
Cortez-Masto and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, discussed the poll during the press call, stressing the need to allocate more aid to Latino communities as the Senate takes on the Heroes Act and a second round of coronavirus aid.
"For many politicians, even well-intentioned ones, the Latino community is still a blind spot," Castro said. "So this kind of work is important to shed a light on the impact of this pandemic, which has been both a public health emergency and an economic emergency for many Americans, but especially for many Latino Americans."