The novel coronavirus has already dealt an unprecedented economic blow to a large portion of American workers, with a record 9.9 million people filing for unemployment over a two-week span from March 16 to 29.
The full scope of the damage remains unclear, but researchers and labor force leaders say the financial pain caused by the crisis probably won’t be evenly distributed along racial lines.
The economic fallout from business closings and job losses is expected to have a greater impact on Black and Latino employees, who make up a disproportionate percentage of occupational sectors experiencing the income disruption amid the pandemic.
"When white America catches a cold, Black America catches pneumonia," Steven Brown, a research associate at the Urban Institute domestic policy research organization, told CNN Business.
Government data shows the outbreak is more concentrated in major U.S. metropolitan areas like New York City, New Orleans, and the nation's southeast where greater percentages of Black and Latino Americans live. In New York City, the virus is disproportionately affecting lower-income neighborhoods in Queens, Harlem, and the Bronx, which have denser populations of immigrants of color, African Americans and Hispanics.