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COVID financial fallout disproportionately impacts Latinas

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Latinas have been especially hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with many having to rely on their children as their only lifeline. Lilia Luciano takes a look in our CBS News series Women and the Pandemic.

Video Transcript

NORAH O'DONNELL: We're going to turn now to the pandemic's disproportionate toll on women. Women shoulder the COVID burden, and Latina women are among the hardest hit. Unemployment among Latinas more than tripled, and new data reveals a third of Latinas with families say they are behind on their rent, and one in five didn't have enough to eat. Particularly hard hit, the millions of those women who are undocumented. Tonight CBS's Lilia Luciano continues our series Women and the Pandemic.

LILIA LUCIANO: Esperanza Hernandez and her two daughters are living in this small apartment, with a shower curtain to create a bedroom.

ESPERANZA HERNANDEZ: [SPEAKING SPANISH]

LILIA LUCIANO: You've always felt that you've lived under the shadows, but at least before you were able to make ends meet.

ESPERANZA HERNANDEZ: [SPEAKING SPANISH]

LILIA LUCIANO: Undocumented, Esperanza has always worked full time. In November, she became ill with COVID and spent three weeks in the ICU. Her 19-year-old daughter Andrea, born in the US, now earns the family's only income, while also going to college.

ANDREA LUCIANO: Work, take her to the hospital, take care of my sister. I didn't expect to be responsible for every single detail within my household.

LILIA LUCIANO: The pandemic hit the service industry hard, eliminating jobs in restaurants, housekeeping, and childcare. For many undocumented women, their only safety net, their kids. No unemployment, no stimulus, no disability, no rental assistance.

ANDREA LUCIANO: Nothing. That's not available at all for her. So it's just, OK, how can I make ends meet?

SAUNDRA BRYANT: They were not eligible for the stimulus check, even though they work and have contributed taxes to our economy.

LILIA LUCIANO: Neighborhood food donations are a lifeline for Maria and her three American children. Her husband died in January of a heart attack. She and her son Leo, 21, were laid off from bakery jobs.

- [SPEAKING SPANISH]

LILIA LUCIANO: There is no work.

- [SPEAKING SPANISH]

LILIA LUCIANO: Leo's unemployment check is the only income.

- Give my mom some money to pay the rent, food.

- You can't afford to be poor. Being poor is the most expensive way of life.

LILIA LUCIANO: Esperanza and her daughters survived COVID, but they're not sure they can survive the fallout. Lilia Luciano, "CBS News," Los Angeles.