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Episode 15: The Hardest Hit

Adrian Florez


As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, some clear patterns have emerged. One is that people of color are being affected by this virus at higher rates than white people. 

In Washington state, the disparities are especially stark among the Latino population.

More than a third of the state's COVID-19 caseshave been Latino, which is way out of proportion to their 13 percent share of the general population.

Dr. Julian Perez sees this playing out at his Sea Mar Community Health clinic in White Center, south of Seattle.

He says about 40 percent of his patients are Latino, but they make up more than 80 percent of the positive COVID tests at his clinic. 

Dr. Perez says many of his patients work in the service industry and face pressure from their bosses. 

“Of course, if they're sick, they'll send them home. But they don't send them home very long. They usually call them two, three days later and say, ‘Are you in the hospital? No? Can you come back to work? Yes? OK, get back to work.’.... And then they come home and they're sick and they spread it to their family.”  

In this episode of Transmission, we dig into why the toll of COVID-19 is falling so unevenly across Washington’s population. 

We’ll also hear the story of Thomas and Antonia, proprietors of a beloved taco truck business and restaurant in Algona. They, too, felt pressure to continue working, even after Thomas started getting sick. He went to the hospital multiple times, but was not tested for COVID. Thomas died from the disease on April 2, at age 44.

Please consider giving Transmission a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. 

Listen on AppleSpotifyGoogleStitcherand NPR One.

Other News Transmission
Jennifer Wing is a former KNKX reporter and producer who worked on the show Sound Effect and Transmission podcast.
Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.
A Seattle native and former KNKX intern, Simone Alicea spent four years as a producer and reporter at KNKX. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University and covered breaking news for the Chicago Sun-Times. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times.
Will James is a former KNKX reporter and was part of the special projects team, reporting and producing podcasts such as Outsiders and The Walk Home.