COVID hitting Memphis’ Latino community especially hard


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As COVID-19 cases ravage Memphis and the rest of the nation, the virus is hitting the most vulnerable especially hard in one community. 

Latino children are suffering higher rates of COVID-19.

“Something that we are very concerned about is 40 percent of all the cases that are positive today are from children, and that is very disturbing,” said Mauricio Calvo, executive director of Latino Memphis.

He says some parents aren’t getting the right message.

“I spoke with a family, the mom tested positive, and she wasn’t sure if she should take her kids to be tested because they didn’t have symptoms. Now she’s scared and has infants at home and they could be infected,” Calvo said.

RELATED: Shelby County health officials urge residents to get tested if they show symptoms

Many say the rate of infection among children is a reflection of lack of quality health care, where they live, and parents who are essential workers.

They’re delivering our food, working in warehouses and construction and often times they don’t access to primary health care, don’t have insurance, and are living in multi-generational families and small homes where it’s easier to contract the virus, Calvo said.

Dr. Pedro Valasquez, a primary care provider working with the city-county COVID-19 task force, says families need to wear face masks, social distance and wash their hands — simple things that can save lives.

“In America we represent about 13 or 14 percent of the community, but in the current epidemic we represent about 27 percent of the mortality,” he said. “Yes, we die.”

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