Alarming disparities are detected among the African-American community, but there is no data on the impact among Latinos
Even though there are no statistics showing the impact of the coronavirus in the Latino community, in the country they are already observed alarming ethnic disparities, so there is an urgent need to start collecting information on race and ethnicity.
Dr. Tung Nguyen, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and director of the Asian American Health Research Center He said that in Chicago, 52% of cases and 69% of deaths are from African American residents who make up only 30% of that city's population.
In Michigan, he mentioned that only 14% of the population is African American, but 33% of cases and 41% of deaths are of that race; while in Louisiana, 70% of deaths are of African-Americans, when they constitute only 32% of the population of that state.
"A disparity seen in other states like North Carolina and Washington D.C."
Dr. Nguyen's remarks were made during an online conference organized by Ethnic Media Services on the subject. Access to Health and Public Services during the Pandemic.
The doctor urged to ask the local departments of Public Health. collect and report information by race and ethnicity.
This while in the world, until April 8, he said, 1.4 million cases of coronavirus were reported, and 83,000 deaths in 184 countries.
In the United States, there are 400,000 reported cases with 13,000 deaths, but New York continues to be the hardest hit with 140 cases and 5,400 deaths.
All to protect us
Pediatric physician Stacie L. Walton said that to flatten the curve, "We need home, social distance, and wearing masks when they are in public places to work in all communities, including African-American."
But also, he affirmed that we must recognize that there are many minority people who cannot work inside the house, and work outside. "That is why these measures to protect yourself are even more important, "he stressed.
Daniel Turner-Lloveras, assistant professor of medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said that something needs to be done to help groups that were vulnerable before the pandemic, such as the African-American and Latino communities, and any others facing barriers to accessing health care.
"We have to make sure that everyone, documented and undocumented, has equal access. We need to stop the arrest of immigrants seeking health care, since we have had reports of arrests, and that has to stop, "he said.
And he added that overpopulation in prisons and detention centers should be eliminated because they are an opportunity for the virus to spread throughout the country.
Tests and treatments
Kerry Talbot, federal defense director for the organization Immigration Hub, said Congress-tested recovery packages do not offer enough financial support or health coverage for immigrants.
"We are concerned that during this crisis, we really we need to make sure that everyone, citizens, residents, Beneficiaries of DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals -, and TPS – Temporary Protected Status – as well as undocumented people have access to tests and treatments. Without this, we are putting all of our communities at risk, ”he said.
There is a state option for Medicaid, he said, but it does not protect undocumented immigrants, not even those who have recently received their green cards.
Also, he said they want to make sure that immigrants know that they are not going to be punished by public charge, if they seek health services during this emergency. Public charge is a newly established rule that can limit in some cases, access to residence to those who receive certain public benefits
But Talbot pointed out that there is money that will help some immigrants to be tested for coronavirus in their community health centers, to which the recovery package has given 3.3 billion dollars., even though it does not contain specific provisions to help them.
He added that they are very concerned about detained immigrants, as they have received many reports this week that they are acquiring the coronavirus.
“They live in very close conditions and it is very dangerous for them. So we think they should be released, starting with older adults; or those with serious illnesses.
Where's my check?
Sunita Lough, assistant commissioner of the Tax Collection Service (IRS), recalled that the relief package will provide $ 1,200 to those with a social security number, and $ 2,400 to couples who file their tax returns, but always and when they have a social security number.
"There is only one exception. If you are a military husband with Social Security and your wife has a personal identification number (ITIN), you are eligible."
He reiterated that those without a social security number are not eligible.
And the most recurring question they ask them is what to do to receive the economic stimulus check.
“Those who have made tax returns in 2018 and 2019, do not have to do anything because they will make a direct deposit to the bank account used for the tax refund; or, in the latter case, a check will be issued.
Lough revealed that Around April 17, they will have an application available on the web called ‘Where is my payment for the economic impact", Similar to the" Where is my refund ".
“With the social security number, you will be able to find out when you will receive it and what type of payment. If you did not provide a bank account on your 2018 and 2019 tax returns, as soon as the website opens, you can give us the information to make direct deposit. So you will receive the money faster than through a check, "he said.
Sebastián Sánchez, a lawyer for the Bet Tzedek Legal Services Employment Rights Project, said that unemployment benefits are not available to undocumented immigrants, even if they have been paying taxes, or have an ITIN number or not.
Nor, he said, will they have access to any of the benefits approved in the coronavirus economic recovery package.
However, he revealed that they can benefit from sick day pay and disability insurance in California because they are state-administered benefits.
"If your pay stub shows that you have paid state taxes, you are eligible. The problem is that on forms to request payment, you are required to have a social security number, when most undocumented workers use a fake number or someone else's. If they do that, they can commit perjury, ”he clarified.
The recommendation given is to use paper applications to request sick or disability days instead of online, and leave the space of the social security number blank.
"Maybe when the Employment Department contacts you, they will ask you for your pay stubs and your W-2 forms to prove that you are the person who pays those taxes," said the lawyer.