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Latinos make up nearly 70% of coronavirus cases in San Diego County — more than three times as many as white residents

Latino communities hit hard by pandemic
Latino communities hit hard by coronavirus pandemic 02:13

The Latino community in San Diego County is being disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus, according to newly released data. They account for about two-thirds of the amount of confirmed coronavirus cases in the county.

San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency unveiled race and ethnicity data Wednesday of the county's nearly 9,900 residents who tested positive for the virus. Despite making up the 34% local population, about 67.4% or 5,517 of Hispanic or Latino residents had the virus.

That rate is much higher than white residents, who registered about 20.9% or 299 of the total; they make up about 46% of San Diego's population.

Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer, said there's multiple reasons why the virus is having a "severe impact" on the Latino community. Many of them are likely to be essential or frontline workers or many have underlying medical conditions, according to the county.

Other minority groups such as Asian, black or African American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander made up about 6.3%, 3.6% and 0.8%, respectively, the data showed.

A report by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), which was released this week, explained that when compared to the white population, blacks and Hispanics are four times as likely to live in areas where they are impacted by COVID-19 and unemployment.

"Blacks and Hispanics account for a significant portion of essential workers who continued to go to work, and they account for a significant portion of those who became unemployed due to the pandemic," the report stated.

According to the SANDAG study, Hispanic employees make up the largest percentage of essential workforce in building cleaning services (65%), grocery and drug stores (44%) and child care and social services (39%).

San Diego is the fifth most populous county in the U.S. In neighboring Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the U.S., nearly 36% of Latino/Hispanics have tested positive for the coronavirus — more than any other reported ethnicity or race. The second largest, Illinois' Cook County, Latinos/Hispanics made up about one fourth of the coronavirus cases.

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has race/ethnicity data for 880,868 people who tested for the virus. According to its numbers, the Hispanic/Latino population represents more than 33% of the nationwide cases of coronavirus. The group only trails white/non-Hispanic population, which makes up for 35% of the virus cases.

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