LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles County health officials say Latinos are more than twice as likely to be infected with COVID-19 as compared to white people.
Health officials also say Latinos are dying in higher numbers than any other ethnicity, particularly because many of them are frontline essential workers who aren’t able to work from home.
That was the case for one dad who passed away and his heartbroken daughter is sharing his story.
Misty Diaz had just been told her father, her protector, wasn’t going to survive his fight with COVID-19. His kidneys were shutting down and the very next day he passed away.
“Never in my life did I think that my dad would die from this.”
Jose Pinales was an essential worker at a grocery store and was planning to retire later this month. The 62-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 on June 24. He was in the ICU five days later…unable to breathe…and on Wednesday, after sixteen days, Diaz got the dreaded call from the nurse.
“She was just very quiet and she goes, I don’t know how to tell you this, but your father just passed away, and I just started crying and I said I need you to be brutally honest with me, please be honest, did my dad die in any pain? And she said no, we made sure he was so comfortable, he could not have felt anything” Diaz told FOX 11.
Pinales’s story…is representative…of a larger trend…of Latinos dying of COVID-19 in higher numbers than any other ethnicity.
They’re represented by the yellow line on this graph according to LA County health officials.
“Latinos, Latinx community is more than twice as likely as white people to be infected with the virus, Latino and Latinx people are also twice as likely to die from the virus,” said Dr. Ferrer.
“This is due to many factors, multi-generational housing, their employment in essential functions that are not easily able to enjoy the privileges of telework amongst several other factors,” stated Dr. Christina Ghaly with LA County Health.
Pinales was one of those Latino frontline workers…a man with an unbreakable work ethic…and a tender heart. His final text to his little girl… “Love you and goodnight” before he was put on a ventilator.
“My dad never woke up once they put him down on that Monday. He was getting ready to retire on the 27th for this company that he’s been working for 30+ years, like we just planned his retirement party,” she added.
Instead, Diaz and her brothers have to plan his funeral instead…a family patriarch always there for his daughter who was born with Spina bifida.
She’s now a popular runner and adaptive athlete and she explained her final words to her dad before he passed.
“Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking care of me, and that he raised a really strong independent daughter despite having a disability, and that’s very rare.”
LA County Public Health says they are taking action to give more support to Latino communities through this pandemic. They plan to open up and increase testing sites in Montebello, South Gate, El Monte, East LA and several other cities.