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Long-lasting impact of COVID-19 on Latinos won't be felt for a while

“This is going to be something we’ll find more out retrospectively like after a battle,” Dr. Rojelio Mejia with Baylor College of Medicine said.

HOUSTON, Texas — Health experts continue to warn about the disproportionate affects coronavirus is having on the Hispanic community.

Dr. Rojelio Mejia, assistant professor of infectious diseases and tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said the problem most likely won’t get fixed during this pandemic and the real impact won’t be known until it’s over.

“This is going to be something we’ll find more out retrospectively like after a battle,” Dr. Mejia exclaimed.

He believes poverty has played a major role in why the Latino community has been hit hardest by COVID-19.

He said Hispanics living paycheck to paycheck just don’t have the luxury of staying home.

“So these are the people who were still cutting lawns, working in construction, working in places where they were exposed so they had higher exposure because they couldn’t quarantine,” Dr. Mejia said.

He said that leads to higher infection rates.

Dr. Mejia said once sick they go home to more people.

“In the Latino community we have our grandpa, our grandma, our abuelita, our tia who stays with us and so you have more people in a smaller environment,” he said.

Dr. Mejia said there’s nothing genetically different but the lack of proper healthcare and greater chances of underlying health issues like diabetes and smoking can make the outcome of COVID-19 worse.

He said, “This is all about a social system, a social network that these populations, Latinos, don’t have and so when they get another insult meaning another infection, another problem, it’s multiplied.”