SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The toll from the coronavirus in Santa Clara County is hitting neighborhoods largely populated by low-income people of color harder than anyone else, according to a new study.

An analysis by the San Jose Mercury News showed a third of the first 100 deaths from COVID-19 occurred in just four zip codes in East San Jose.

“The rich people, they don’t even need to go out. They can just stay home and be tended to. And the people around here? They struggle to survive,” said Carlos Madriz, who works as a cell phone salesman in San Jose.

The hardest hit areas in terms of cases and deaths happened in the 95116, 95122, 95148 and 95127 zip codes.

“It’s not surprising because you have the highest numbers of deaths and the highest amount of poverty in the same area,” said Beatriz Orozco, with the community advocacy group Amigos de Guadalupe.

According to Santa Clara County Department of Public Health statistics, Latinos are 27 percent of
the county’s population, but make up 38 percent of the COVID-19 cases.

“We know that a lot of our residents work essential jobs, they also work at jobs that are not providing them with adequate personal protective equipment,” Orozco said.

Last month, a group of mostly Latina McDonalds employees staged a strike to demand more personal
protective equipment to protect them on the job.

“There’s a problem in our health care system. There are deficiencies and lack of care for our working class citizen, in particular our service industries,” said President of the NAACP of Silicon Valley Pastor Jethro Moore.

Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez told KPIX 5 that COVID-19 is one of many health care issues that affect the poor who lack proper health care.

“This is an opportunity for us to demand at the top of our lungs of the Federal and State government, that every person in our community has health insurance and access to health care. Everyone,” Chavez said.

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