’The virus is moving in’: why California is losing the fight against Covid | US news | The Guardian
Latinos in LA county, many of whom are working essential jobs, are also contracting the virus at more than double the rate of white residents. The toll in working-class neighborhoods has been especially devastating for undocumented people, who have been unable to access aid.
Farm laborers with Fresh Harvest in Greenfield, California. Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted the state’s farmworkers.
“It’s really dire for our folks. They have a right to paid sick days, but that doesn’t mean that right is respected,” said Marissa Nuncio, an advocate for garment workers in LA who have faced Covid outbreaks at factories where they are manufacturing masks. Nuncio said nine months into the pandemic, she still gets calls from infected workers who are struggling to access tests and are afraid to go to the hospital. “They just say, ‘I hope I’m able to recover from this at home.’” The new lockdown measures do little to address those inequalities because they lack support for workers, said Marta Induni, the director of research at the Oakland-based non-profit Public Health Institute. “We have the confluence of factors where people are facing financial instability, and feel like they have no choice but to work even if they get sick,” she said. “And particularly in California, we have a large population of undocumented people who have been demonized by the federal government and are especially vulnerable.”
Activists hope that California will take those inequalities into account as it develops a plan to distribute Covid-19 vaccines. California is on track to receive 327,000 doses in its first shipment, which will reach hospitals in the coming days. The state aims to give the vaccine to 2.16 million people by the end of the year, starting with healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities.Officials have pledged to consider racial equity in distribution efforts, but there is a long road ahead to build trust in the vaccine and to reach the hardest-hit communities