Latinx and Black Populations in Illinois are Disproportionately Impacted by COVID-19

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Illinois, Latinx and Black communities have been disproportionately impacted by the virus. Despite lockdown restrictions being implemented in mid-March, Illinois experienced a surge of cases between March and June of 2020, especially within these communities of color.

According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Latinx community in Illinois experienced the highest number of cases on Apr. 30 with 559 confirmed cases, making up 42.6 percent of all COVID cases on that given day.

A potential factor contributing to this outbreak in Latinx communities is that 20 percent of Illinois’ agricultural workers, food and beverage manufacturing and processing workers, grocery wholesalers, and workers in retail grocery and other food and beverage stores are immigrants, and 36 percent of immigrants in Illinois are from Mexico. These workers are considered, “essential workers,” who serve in the frontlines despite pandemic conditions.

Additionally, the second hardest hit demographic in Illinois is the Black population, which saw its highest number of confirmed cases on Apr. 9 with 320 cases, making up 37.5 percent of cases on that given day.

As vaccinations begin to roll out to the broader population of Illinois, many have advocated for Latinx and Black communities to be prioritized because of the higher rates of positive cases within these communities; however, vaccines have yet to reach these populations in Illinois.

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