COVID-19 in the South
Consistent with public health data, Black respondents report significantly higher levels of direct experience with family members getting sick and dying from coronavirus. Thirty-seven percent of Black respondents know someone diagnosed with coronavirus, compared to 31 percent of Latino respondents and 27 percent of white respondents. Twenty-one percent of Black respondents know someone who has died of coronavirus, compared to 12 percent of Latino respondents and 8 percent of white respondents.
Latino southerners indicate higher levels of economic impact from the pandemic and are more likely to know people who lost their jobs or had hours/pay reduced. Sixty percent of Latino respondents know someone who lost their job, compared to 55 percent of Black respondents and 51 percent of white respondents. Fifty-seven percent of Latino respondents and their family members have had their hours or pay reduced, compared to 49 percent of Black respondents and 42 percent of white respondents. Thirty-nine percent of Latino respondents say their economic situation has gotten worse as a result of the pandemic, compared to 32 percent of Black respondents and 26 percent of white respondents.
Most people, regardless of race, are seeing news stories about racial disparities and the impact of the pandemic, and they are generally hearing that it is impacting the health and financial situation of Black people and Latino people more than white people. However, only Black respondents believe that the pandemic has had a greater impact on Black people and Latino people than white people.
When given information that Black southerners have contracted the coronavirus and died at a higher rate than the rest of the U.S. population, all three groups attribute this to historical, social, and economic factors rather than bad life choices. But there are sizable racial gaps between the proportion who believe this (70 percent of Black respondents, 60 percent of Latino respondents, and 54 percent of white respondents).