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Two Grassroots Organizations On Helping Latinos Combat Coronavirus

Volunteers and members of the Chelsea Collaborative Inc. pray before distributing food and packages of donated goods to people in need at the Pan Y Cafe in Chelsea, Massachusetts.
Volunteers and members of the Chelsea Collaborative Inc. pray before distributing food and packages of donated goods to people in need at the Pan Y Cafe in Chelsea, Massachusetts.

In virus hotspots across the country, Latinos represent more than 27 percent of COVID-19 deaths. But they only make up 18 percent of the population in these places, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Along with undocumented immigrants, they are also suffering from job loss and are receiving little to no financial help.

These communities are also among the least able to access the health care systems and unemployment benefits that could bring relief. And many can’t ask family or friends for help, because there’s a good chance they’re struggling, too. 

We checked in with community groups in northern Virginia and the San Francisco Bay Area, who are helping Latino communities get tested for coronavirus.  

Neighborhood Health is a chain of medical clinics serving more than 30,000 patients in northern Virginia. Most are Hispanic, low-income and uninsured. Medical staff have tested more than 800 patients so far at a pop-up testing site.

And the Mission District in San Francisco has the zip code with the highest number of coronavirus cases in the city — a quarter of them among Latinos. Researchers, backed by dozens of volunteers, have launched an ambitious effort to test everyone older than 4 years old in one neighborhood. 

We also spoke to families on the frontlines of the pandemic about how they are finding ways to survive and support each other. 

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