One in Four Latinas in the U.S. Have Lost a Family Member to Covid

Latinas and Covid BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.

A year and a half into the pandemic of the new coronavirus, there are still many things we don’t know. From its origin to its long-term repercussions, much will be discovered over time.

The same goes for its collateral effects on our lifestyle, health, and even work dynamics.

All of us, every single one of us, has been affected in one way or another by Covid-19. Still, statistics indicate that the impact is doubly devastating in communities of color, especially women.

We’ve talked about the impact of the pandemic on Latina’s economy before, especially after UnidosUS released its research findings last February. Latinas are much more likely than white women to be single parents; 68% of Latinas have sole responsibility as caregivers to their children, and, since the beginning of the pandemic, 36% of Latinas have seen their family responsibilities increase “a lot.”

Delving a bit deeper into the economic impact on Latinas’ lives, a new report by the American Association of University Women found that overrepresentation in frontline occupations, low wages, lack of health insurance, and no access to medical care “exacerbated the pandemic’s assault on the lives of Latinas.”

“Latinas have had to choose between going to work to earn critical income or staying home, either to care for their children or [to] address their own health needs,” the study concluded.

Moreover, as if that were not enough, a new survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of a group of reproductive rights organizations revealed that at least 24% of Latina women have lost a family member to the coronavirus, Newsweek reported.

The survey also found that Latina women are at least 5% more likely to become ill or have a family member fall ill with Covid-19 than other women of color, including black women and Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) women.

Overall, nearly 80% of Latina women have reported being personally affected by the pandemic, either because they have become ill, lost a family member, lost a job, been evicted, or had difficulty making payments. At least 37% of Latina women also reported experiencing mental health difficulties throughout the pandemic, compared to 29% of Black women and 34% of AAPI women.

According to a report by the American Psychological Association, the impact of the pandemic has exposed pre-existing inequalities in U.S. society and underscored the severity of the lack of access to health care for communities of color.

And now, the long-term consequences may be much more complicated.

“Traumatic loss, combined with inequities in resources, is a risk factor for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and long-term mental and physical health consequences,” the report explains. “Exposure to multiple traumatic experiences and social inequities are well-established mental health and medical liabilities for low-income communities and people of color, already persistently contributing to disruption in educational attainment, the school to prison pipeline, and disproportionate representation in juvenile justice and chronic poverty.”

Similarly, the report describes the troubling phenomenon of losing an entire generation of elders at the hands of the new virus, where the pain and grief are compounding an already stressful situation.