Covid ‘Decimated Our Staff’ as the Pandemic Ravages Health Workers of Color

January 6, 2021 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified January 19, 2021

As stated in this article by Kaiser Health News, emergency room nurse Maritza Beniquez saw “wave after wave” of sick patients last spring. Soon, it was her colleagues at Newark’s University Hospital — the nurses, techs, and doctors with whom she had been working side by side — who ended up in the ER. “So many of our own co-workers got sick, especially toward the beginning; it literally decimated our staff,” she said.

Sadly, by the end of June, 11 of Beniquez’s colleagues had died. Like many of the patients they had been treating, most were Black and Latino. “We were disproportionately affected because of the way that Blacks and Latinos in this country have been disproportionately affected across every [part of] our lives — from schools to jobs to homes,” she said.

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has taken a toll on Black and Hispanic Americans. Those disparities also extend to the medical workers who have taken care of them. According to Kaiser Health News, people of color account for about 65% of fatalities in cases in which there is race and ethnicity data.

A recent study by The Lancet found health care workers of color were more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to test positive for the virus. They were also more likely to treat patients diagnosed with COVID, more likely to work in nursing homes, (major COVID hotspots), and more likely to cite an inadequate supply of PPE.

Share this

Related Articles

                                Leave a Comment