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Latino community disproportionately affected as San Diego reaches grim milestone of 2,000 COVID-19 deaths

"His most important pre-existing condition was he was alive. And thanks to the pandemic, he's not alive," said Dotinga about his father who died due to COVID-19.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, California — The grim local milestone of more than 2,000 deaths related to COVID-19 across San Diego County comes as a new variant is picking up steam. And unfortunately, this is hurting the Latinx community more.

2,037 people have died of COVID-19 in San Diego County since the pandemic began and the Latino community is being disproportionately affected.

"Infection rates among Latinos in San Diego County was about 63% and deaths were about 50%. Now both of those numbers have decreased a little bit but are still very high especially when you factor in that Latinos make up 34% of the population in San Diego County," said Nancy Maldonado, San Diego Chicano Federation.

And Latinas are affected even more. "I think it's because of the responsibility that Latinas have in terms of taking care of the family and that doesn't go away even if they have symptoms or are not feeling well," said Maldonado. "There is a real story behind every single one of those numbers," 

There is a story behind the Dotinga family's experience with COVD-19.

"This is affecting more and more families each day and it's coming closer and closer to all of us," said Randy Dotinga.

Randy sees more than just a 2,037 death toll statistic. COVID-19 took his father Ralph Dotinga's life right before Christmas.

The 85-year-old survived two heart attacks, one cardiac arrest, a quadruple bypass, diabetes, and crippling falls, but not COVID-19.

"His most important pre-existing condition was he was alive. And thanks to the pandemic, he's not alive," said Dotinga.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is now warning that the new more contagious virus variant, first identified in Britain, could fuel huge spikes in COVID cases and is expected to spread widely and lead to further strains on our already overburdened health care system.

"We each play a role when we decide not to wear a mask and when we decide to get together with friends. And every time we do that, we are contributing to these numbers," said Maldonado.

This grim milestone locally comes as the CDC says the new virus variant of COVID is projected to become the dominant source of infection in the U.S. by March.


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