The Latinx Epidemic in San FranciscoCommunity Journalism . Non-Fiction Literary Writer
Below please find the links to a series of articles and commentaries that I have written since June 2020 related to the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the Latinx population of San Francisco.
The Latinx COVID-19 Epidemic breaks a fever, as cases rises among City’s white population (November 19, 2020)
Excerpt: … But this surge is different in that it’s impacting a segment of the population that had remained less affected, until now. While the monthly count of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Latinx population has decreased by 50 percent since August, white people reported a 60 percent increase in new COVID-19 cases for the same period. Two months ago, white people represented 11 percent of all new cases, but in the last 14 days, they’ve come to represent 31 percent of all new confirmed cases. Which begs the question, what’s driving the change?
As indoor businesses reopen and people with expendable income in a pandemic for indoor dining and other commodities stepped outside-to-step-inside, the cases among the white population increased.
You add the numbers, but it appears that wealth inequality in a pandemic works both ways.
The Latinx Pandemic in San Francisco: Colfax washed his hands in public (September 17, 2020, El Tecolote)
Excerpt: … Stepping up to the podium, Colfax carefully washed his hands with hand sanitizer, only then removing his medical blue mask in a performative act of public hygiene, before launching into a report of COVID-19 in the City. …Then he made a startling admission that had it been made five months ago in April he would have saved lives. Colfax called the spread of the virus in San Francisco “the Latinx pandemic,” with over half of all new cases still represented by Latinx peoples, despite Latinx making up only 15 percent of the total City population.
Colfax then admitted that the City had not done enough to support peoples with origin in Latin America and the Caribbean who have been disproportionately impacted by this disease since the start of the viral spread in the City. The belated admission of responsibility was immediately lacquered over by his announcement of a new $5 million grant program for community partners to increase healthcare, contact tracing, access to testing, education and communication about the disease and available resources. …
Latinx population represents 61 percent of all new COVID-19 cases, as the City reopens (June 14, 2020, El Tecolote)
Excerpt: Transparency on the COVID-19 epidemic in the Latinx community continues to be badly communicated by the City. After much insistence on our part, a new all-time open dataset for confirmed COVID-19 cases by race and ethnicity was made available on Friday June 12 through the website Data SF Gov. We were undoubtedly not the only ones pressing for this information to be made public, but now that it is public, it seems urgent to report findings about the wildly disproportionate and on-going impact of COVID-19 on the Latinx community of San Francisco.
The Latinx population represents half (49.7 percent) of all confirmed COVID-19 cases, for which ethnicity is known, since the start of the epidemic. This is already an alarming statistic considering Latinxs represent 15 percent of the City population. No other demographic group by race or ethnicity has been so disproportionately impacted by the illness, except the Asian community which has suffered nearly half of all fatalities—20 out of 43—due to the novel coronavirus. ….
Part 1: Essential, Sick and Marginalized: Latinx people represent nearly half of all Covid-19 cases in the City (June 5, 2020, El Tecolote)
Description: This report is published in two parts. Part 1 reviews the City’s timeline of response in the first three months of the COVID-19 outbreak and existing data on Latinx workers as essential workers in the City. Part 2 hears directly from six essential Latinx workers who contracted COVID-19 in San Francisco while on the job during the initial lockdown phase and about their experience seeking and accessing help when they were sick.
ENGLISH / SPANISH
Part 2: Essential, Sick and Marginalized: Six essential Latinx workers tell their stories of falling sick to COVID-19 (June 11, 2020, El Tecolote)
Description: Prevention measures disproportionately have failed the Latinx community of San Francisco during the first months of the COVID-19 crisis. To be more specific, testing protocols failed the Latinx community. In the first part of this special report, a timeline of the outbreak and government response in San Francisco was covered that shows that COVID-19 containment efforts failed Latinx people disproportionately. The role of Latinx workers, both documented and undocumented, as essential laborers in the City was also discussed to document their overexposure to the virus, as well as their economic and social vulnerability in the face of the epidemic. According to City data published on June 9, Latinx people now represent nearly half of all cumulative COVID-19 confirmed cases in the City (49.1%), despite representing only 15 percent of the population of the City. In a week, since Part 1 of this report was published, this percentage jumped 2 percent points. COVID-19 cases have been steadily increasing in the Latinx community, even as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases slow down and testing rates go up.
In the first part of this special report, a timeline of the outbreak and government response in San Francisco was covered to explain why containment efforts still left Latinx people disproportionately exposed to COVID-19. The role of Latinx workers, both documented and undocumented, as essential laborers in the City was also discussed.
In this second part, we hear directly from six essential Latinx workers who contracted COVID-19 in San Francisco while on the job during the early lockdown phase about their experience seeking and accessing help when they were sick. Their word and wisdom as survivors of COVID-19 inspired this two part report, and led us to ask for answers.