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Pew found that Black and Hispanic Philadelphians know three times the amount of people who have died from COVID-19 than white residents. Credit: Ashley Ahn

A new Pew study found that in Philadelphia, COVID-19 has impacted people of color and the working class the hardest. 

Pew reported that only 12% of white Philadelphians know someone who has died from coronavirus, but for Black and Hispanic residents, that number is three times higher. 75% and 55% of Hispanic and Black residents, respectively, reported that they have faced financial hardship due to the virus, while only 32% of white respondents reported the same. 

Of those with salaries less than $30,000, 60% were laid off, furloughed, had their hours cut or pay reduced, or had their business close, Pew reported. Penn — the largest employer in Philadelphia — made the decision to not pay its furloughed dining staff for the semester, leaving over 100 employees without steady incomes.

Pew found that the majority of white residents as well as those holding college degrees have been able to transition their work to home while the majority of Black residents and those with less schooling have been unable to work remotely.

The survey also examined citizens’ reactions to how city officials have handled the COVID-19 pandemic as well as calls for police reform.

Nearly 60% of residents approved of Mayor Jim Kenney’s handling of the pandemic and 66% approved of Governor Tom Wolf’s response. A recent study by the University of Pittsburgh found that the restrictions imposed by the Wolf administration prevented approximately 6,000 additional deaths from the virus.

Citizens’ views of the Philadelphia Police Department have worsened compared to last year following a summer of Black Lives Matter protests throughout the city and country. Only 35% of residents think the police department’s actions are “good” or “excellent.”

In 2016, 60% of Philadelphians had “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of confidence in police to treat Black people and white people equally, Pew reported. That number has now dropped to 47%, with 52% of respondents this year having “just some” or “very little” confidence.

Only 11% of respondents said the police department is fine as it is, yet only 14% say they want to reduce the number of police officers.

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