Latinos in America Continue to Face Disproportionate Effects of COVID-19; Overwhelmingly Support Inclusive Measures in HEROES Act
Poll finds 68 percent fear not being able to keep up with basic expenses; 31 percent of U.S.-born Latinos and 45 percent of immigrants still haven’t received federal stimulus funds
WASHINGTON, DC—A month after national pandemic recovery efforts have started, Latinos in America are reporting still being left out of meaningful relief, a national poll released today by SOMOS Health Care, UnidosUS and MoveOn fund shows. According to the poll, 50 percent of households are still reporting having difficulty buying or finding necessities such as food, household supplies or medicine.
Many of the economic indicators measured in this poll, conducted by Latino Decisions, either stayed the same or worsened when compared to a similar poll conducted more than a month ago. For Latinos who are employed, more than a quarter report that their employer still isn’t providing PPE or sanitizer and that they don’t feel safe going to their job. In terms of jobs and wages, respondents said they or someone in their household, 36 percent had experienced losing a job, and 46 percent experienced hours cut or pay cuts.
“We are a month into the recovery phase and our communities are still reporting having major issues meeting their basic needs. These aren’t isolated cases, and this isn’t about simply having a hard time paying a couple of bills. We are talking about huge percentages of Latinos in America reporting they are having trouble buying food and medicine,” said Henry R. Muñoz III, cofounder of SOMOS Healthcare, a network of community doctors in New York City. “When you have a stimulus program that leaves out more than 30 percent of the members of our community, it’s no surprise Latinos are feeling excluded. That’s why they are strongly supporting the HEROES Act and why they are putting so much trust in their local support systems and community doctors.”
When asked about stimulus checks, 31 percent of U.S.-born Latinos and 45 percent of Latino immigrants said they had received no payment at all, and more than half reported getting no break on their April, May or June rent or mortgage payments. Among Latino small business owners, 49 percent reported having difficulty accessing small business loans.
“The coronavirus pandemic is devastating Latino families, and the data confirms what we see in our communities. The HEROES Act is a major step in the right direction to ensure all hardworking, tax-paying families receive economic relief—now we need urgent action by the U.S. Senate,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “We must respond to this health and economic crisis as one American family and together we will recover.”
When it comes to reopening the economy, Latinos put far more trust in the state governors as opposed to President Trump. Eighty-one percent agreed that governors should re-open businesses on a schedule that works for their specific state using a gradual approach based on the advice of scientists and health experts, as opposed to 19 percent who agreed that governors should reopen businesses quickly and listen to the recommendations from President Trump.
“This poll confirms what we know in Nevada: our Latino communities are getting hit hard by the twin public health and economic crises of coronavirus,” said Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada.“ Many Latinos are on the front lines of the pandemic as first responders, health care providers and essential workers; others, including in our tourism and hospitality industries, have lost their jobs and are struggling to pay bills. I’m committed to doing all I can to getting more resources to protect Latino workers and support communities as Nevada continues to cope with COVID-19.”
Latinos were also heavily in favor (91 percent) of creating a new fund for small businesses and self-employment loans just for people who missed out on the first round of relief. More than a quarter of Latinos who own a business said that it has been shut down or seen a drop in revenue and 23 percent said they had trouble applying for small business/self-employed federal loan programs.
“This poll confirms that stimulus relief so far has left too many Latino families and small businesses behind. This is simply unacceptable, especially considering that Latinos make up a high percentage of essential workers. The House acted last week to right this wrong by passing the HEROES Act. Now it is time for the U.S. Senate to act and pass this important legislation,” said UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía.
To conduct the poll, Latino Decisions interviewed 1,829 Latino adults nationwide from May 10- 16, 2020. The invitation and survey were both available in English and Spanish. Overall, the full sample contains a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percent.
“This is our second comprehensive look at Latinos in America during this pandemic, and the poll data are clear that many Latino families are struggling right now,” said Matt Barreto, co-founder of Latino Decisions. “The first stimulus package left out so many people, who couldn’t access loans, or never received their stimulus checks while big corporations took loans and turned around and laid off workers. The Latino community is strongly supportive of the House-passed HEROES Act and wants to see the Senate pass a more inclusive recovery bill that provides health access and economic relief to everyone.”
How government responds to COVID-19 remains the top issue Latinos want Congress and the president to address, with 54 percent putting it in their top three. The second most important issue is lowering the cost of health care.
While 44 percent of Latinos reported approving of the way the president has generally handled the crisis, 67 percent agreed that he ignored early warning signs and because of his delays and incomplete response, thousands of Americans are now sick and dying. The president had the lowest trust rating for providing accurate information and helpful advice, out of 10 different categories, including local elected officials, health care personnel, community organizations and leaders and media entities. Community hospitals and medical professionals had the highest trust rating.
These ongoing polling results affirm the heightened need for a national response that truly addresses the economic, educational and health inequities being faced by the Latino community and many of their fellow Americans.