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Latinx Iowans Reflect On Disproportionate Impact Of COVID-19

Iowa Department of Public Health
This graphic, created for Spanish-speaking Iowans, encourages workers to remember the "Three Cs": "cover" your cough, "clean" your hands and "contain" germs.

Hispanic and Latino Iowans make up only 6.2 percent of the state's population, but are disproportinately impacted by COVID-19, accounting for 27 percent of all positive cases, according to state data.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks to Latinx Iowans about their experiences and concerns regarding the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on their community.

Iowa's Latinx population has continued to grow in recent years, making Hispanics and Latinos the largest minority group in the state, and an instrumental workforce for major state industries including agriculture and food processing.

Meat-processing plants have most recently garnered national attention for becoming sites of some of the most concentrated COVID-19 outbreaks, putting workers at high risk for being exposed to COVID-19 — especially without adequate safety measures and protections in place.

Multiple members of the Iowa Latinx community join the show, including League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa (LULAC) political director Joe Enriquez Henry. He's calling on these facilities to provide more protections and healthcare for their workers. Chuy Tenteria shares his concerns about his father, who currently works at a plant in West Liberty.

Later in the hour, guests reflect on the unique role the Latinx community plays in the Black Lives Matter movement.


  • Joe Enriquez Henry, political director, LULAC Iowa
  • Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel, CEO of Proteus
  • Chuy Renteria, public engagement coordinator for Hancher, writer
  • Marlén Mendoza, president of LULAC Council 308 in Iowa City, independent policy consultant 
Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa