The spread of false information around COVID-19 within the Latinx community has misled millions, leaving a smear of ignorance that’s resulted in placing the community at the highest risk for infection. For this reason, local health officials need to do a better job at not only regulating but enforcing stricter COVID-19 safety guidelines. Latinx communities are contracting and dying from the virus at a rapid rate due to the spread of misinformation within the community. Systemic racism within these highly impacted areas has played a major role in the spike of COVID-19 cases. These communities need better access to valuable resources such as more COVID-19 testing sites and increases in vaccine rollout efforts.
Health officials in these highly impacted communities have been trying to actively stop the spread of COVID-19, and these efforts have been ignored by the general public. These guidelines seem to throw people off when they realize they can’t send their children to school while shopping centers and outdoor dining venues continue to operate normally. This general sense of false security and lack of empathy for others results in people not caring enough to follow safety precautions. It’s vital that individuals who are familiar with these communities, such as the youth, local leaders and community activists, have the resources they need to help spread accurate information to those who need it the most.
The Latinx community’s inability to take the pandemic seriously has them now facing severe repercussions. Members of the Latinx community face higher chances of being infected by COVID-19, getting hospitalized and dying from the virus. The spread of false information within the community is more deadly than the virus itself. Some believe that the entire pandemic is a hoax, while others believe people are overreacting. Much worse, elders in the community are actively spreading misinformation. It has only heightened with the recent release of the vaccines, as many believe that if you are administered a COVID-19 vaccine, you are letting the government place a tracking chip into your arm, while others believe the vaccine will give you cancer. When people in these communities get infected, many won’t even visit a hospital because of rumors that they are actively letting COVID-19 patients die. False information needs to be stopped from circulating and instead be replaced with facts. This needs to come from within the community itself and larger social media corporations, where the majority of this false information is being posted and shared. People need to be properly educated on the real harm this virus can cause.
Systemic racism has played into the development and mishandling of major issues currently facing the community. Members in these communities are facing great challenges with accessing the resources they need to stay alive. Something as simple as registering for a COVID-19 testing appointment can be a major obstacle. The virus is attacking people who have no other option than to work these blue-collar jobs. Workers in the fast food, warehouse, agricultural and janitorial industries have no other choice but to risk being exposed every time they step foot outside their homes. Many individuals in these communities lack access to affordable healthcare. Without proper healthcare, many fear they won’t be able to keep up with medical bills. The pandemic has left millions in a difficult situation where they have no other option than to prioritize monetary survival over physical. Until the Latinx working-class receives real help in the forms of accessible healthcare, stimulus checks and vaccinations, we’ll most likely continue to watch the number of infections grow in this country.
The continuation of false information spreading within the Latinx community will only result in more people getting infected. The community needs to start listening to their local and state health officials and holding not only themselves, but others around them accountable for following all the COVID-19 safety guidelines. Instead of fighting against the restriction, the community needs to be proactively working to make them fit their unique needs. Advocating for better representation in vaccine groups and making sure they have access to reliable information. These are the conversations that should be taking place, not ones that only result in direct damage to the community itself.