Latinos in San Fernando Valley have high COVID rates due to essential jobs, overcrowding and more

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COVID-19 infections are surging in Los Angeles County. Five of the 25 communities with the highest infection rates are in the northeast pocket of the San Fernando Valley. As of this past weekend, the city of San Fernando’s infection rate was more than double the county average. Why is the area being so hard hit by the pandemic? 

LA Times reporter Ruben Vives says many factors contribute to this, including disillusionment with the government, shame, and pre-existing health conditions from living in the area. Latinos also make up a large percentage of essential workers.  

“We have residents in the area that ... work at grocery stores, perform industrial jobs that increase their exposure to the coronavirus. … [They] lack access to health care, especially amongst immigrants,” he says. 

Overcrowding is also an issue. “You may have up to three families sharing a two-bedroom apartment, using the living room as a third living space. Some people live in garages and sheds because they can’t afford the high rents in the area. When one person gets sick ... everybody at home does too,” Vives adds.