Latino COVID-19 deaths hit ‘horrifying’ levels in L.A. County, health officials say

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Iris Martinez, right, stands with her friend Grace Salgado before the casket of Martinez’s father, Rafael Martinez, who died of COVID-19. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Iris Martinez, right, stands with her friend Grace Salgado before the casket of Martinez’s father, Rafael Martinez, who died of COVID-19. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

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The COVID-19 death toll among Los Angeles County Latinos is reaching frightening levels that the county’s top health officials have called “frankly horrifying,” prompting new calls for the government to do more to help essential workers and people living in dense, overcrowded conditions.

The illness has long hit Latinos in disproportionate ways. Poor Latino neighborhoods are highly susceptible to the spread of the coronavirus because of dense housing, crowded living conditions and a higher proportion of essential workers who are unable to work from home. Officials think people get sick on the job and then spread the virus to family members at home.

When the latest surge began in November, the number of Latino residents in L.A. County who were dying from COVID-19 daily — on average, over a two-week period — was 3½ per 100,000 Latino residents.

The latest data show how that number has skyrocketed: 40 deaths per 100,000 Latino residents.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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