Episode 15: The Hardest Hit
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 cases have 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.
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