SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – This year’s Día de Los Muertos took on a different tune.The Day of the Dead celebrates the lives of lost loved ones and now comes at a time when the Latino community has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19.
Marie Acosta set a special candle out for her brother.
“I lost my brother two weeks ago to COVID-19 and I think it wouldn’t have happened if the messages hadn’t been so mixed,” she said. “Another woman here lost her father to COVID-19.”
This is the first year Acosta actually set up an altar outside Sacramento’s Latino Center of Art and Culture – the executive director is usually busy organizing this event and she knew this year it was especially needed.
“Our community has been one of the hardest hit, if not the hardest hit, by the virus, so we want to tell people be safe, wear your mask, wash your hands,” Acosta said.
“You got to take care of yourself, that’s the bottom line,” Raymond Vela said, “Wear your mask when you’re supposed to, wash your hands when you’re supposed to.”
“It’s so important because we’ve got to stay united with our community, be with your family especially during these times. This was one of the coolest ways to do it while social distancing right?” Vanessa Leylea said.
The latest numbers from the State Department of Public Health – show while the Latino community makes up less than 40 percent of the population in California – Latinos account for more than 60 percent of COVID-19 cases and nearly *half the number of COVID-19 *deaths in the state.
“This year takes on a special meaning because so many of our people have gone to the other side in such a tragic, tragic way,” Acosta said.
Just to give you some perspective, the Latino community in California has had more than 401,000 COVID-19 cases. Of those, more than 8,500 people have died.