According to an analysis reported earlier this week by the Bay Area News Group, more than a third of the first 100 COVID-19 deaths in Santa Clara County occurred in just four ZIP codes—all in East San Jose.
The findings show that Latinos living in ZIP codes 95116, 95127, 95122 and 95148 are dying from the novel coronavirus at a rate disproportionate to their percentage of the population. Overall, Latinos make up 27 percent of county residents but account for 34 percent of the coronavirus deaths.
A report in the Mercury News stated that the death rate in the county’s four poorest ZIP codes is four times as high as that of the wealthiest ZIP codes. The analysis also revealed the 95116 ZIP code is one of the deadliest, accounting for 14 confirmed COVID-19 fatalities. Eight of those decedents lived within a block of North Jackson Avenue.
The aforementioned statistics don’t surprise Matt Warren, a staff attorney with the Western Center on Law and Poverty.
“I’m not surprised, and it’s really disappointing to see the virus hitting these communities so hard in particular,” he said. “We feel the Latino communities haven’t been invested in, so they don’t have the same resources to handle the pandemic. People in these communities work low-wage jobs and are less likely to be able to work from home, which means their economic survival is hindered by the stay at home orders.”
The inability of so many people who live in impoverished communities work from home means the chances of them contracting or spreading the virus is higher.
“For many people in minority communities, the fear of eviction and rent-payment is forcing them out of their homes, causing them to be infected, to infect their families, to infect other workers, and to perpetuate the problem,” said Chris Rios, a Milpitas resident who has spoken at public hearings in his hometown and San Jose about the need for cities to protect tenants from displacement.
The coronavirus has reportedly caused 129 deaths in Santa Clara County, and has infected 2,341 people, according to the latest official tally.
Statewide coronavirus numbers also paint a grim picture for certain minorities.
Latinos in the 18-to-34-year-old age group represent 45 percent of the population in California, but account for 60 percent of confirmed coronavirus-related deaths. In the 35-to-49-year category, Latinos account for 41.5 percent of California’s population but a whopping 71 percent of COVID-19 deaths.