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Job Loss Due to COVID-19 Hits the Latinx Community Hardest

The spread of COVID-19 has resulted in thousands of job losses across the country, reports say. But a new survey has found that, when it comes to New York, the Latinx/Hispanic communities have been hit the hardest. 

In a tracking survey of 1,000 New York City residents by the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, 41% of the Latinx/Hispanic community said that either they or a household member had lost their job in the last two weeks. In comparison, just 24% of white and Asian respondents, and 15% of black respondents said the same. 

“It’s likely because the Hispanic community, many are in service jobs like restaurants or hotels,” said Professor Scott Ratzan, a senior scholar at CUNY SPH, who led the survey. “We do the survey in English and Spanish, and [job loss is] higher among the Spanish-speaking community.” 

The findings were first published in the Journal of Health Communication.

Of all respondents, a majority of people in households earning less than $50,000 reported losing a job, according to the survey. Meanwhile, 42% of people with children reported losing a job, compared to 27% of those with one or no children. 

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For many, the illness causes mild symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath. But the virus can cause severe illness like pneumonia and can even be deadly for the elderly and those with existing health problems, according to The Associated Press.

There are more than 400,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 18,000 deaths from it across the globe, according to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine data tracker for the disease. Meanwhile, the illness has all but upended the economy, with one estimate projecting that the number of unemployment claims in the U.S. could soon hit 2.25 million.

“It’s shocking how quickly this has affected people in terms of their economic situations, with their jobs,” Ratzan tells SUM. “Still, less than half the people in New York City think their chances of getting sick with coronavirus are high.”

The survey is the second of eight planned by CUNY SPH to track attitudes and outcomes related to COVID-19. It was published by JHC Impact, a blog of the Journal of Health Communication.

“We thought it was really important to track the genesis of COVID-19 and how people are living their lives,” Ratzan says. “While the virus can affect anybody indiscriminately, certain populations are being harmed more … these numbers are telling that we have challenges in our response and need to be evidence-driven in how we respond from a public health and communication perspective.” 

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New Yorkers and COVID-19 (week 2)
Journal of Health communication: International Perspectives , 2020

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Scott Ratzan (Distinguished Lecturer, Community Health and Social Sciences) | Profile 1