Coronavirus Is Killing Filipino Americans at Much Higher Rate: Report
Filipino Americans have a 40 percent COVID-19 mortality rate in Southern California, compared to the nationwide rate of 3.6 percent
Fatalities linked to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have higher rates in the Filipino American community.
Based on a limited subset of cases in the Southern California area, the Los Angeles Times found that Filipino Americans have a 40 percent mortality rate due to COVID-19. According to Johns Hopkins, the overall U.S. mortality rate is 3.6 percent.
Experts believe the higher risk factors among Filipino Americans could be tied to prevalent preexisting health conditions, poverty, undocumented status and lack of health insurance, among other factors.
"It’s the perfect storm," Adrian De Leon, an assistant professor in USC’s department of American studies and ethnicity, told the Times. "In terms of exposure to the pandemic, exposure to the virus, but also exposure to a lot of other factors too — like dense housing tends to be in places that have environmental hazards."
"People in certain ethnic groups are predisposed to working really hard ... but it’s more so because people need to continue to work in order to survive," added De Leon. "In a country that has such weak social security, such as the United States, you have people ultimately sacrificing much-needed health care for themselves for the opportunity to work and continue to make money for the family."
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The Times cited one recent study that looked into why Asian American people appeared to make up a large portion of COVID-19 fatalities. Published by Health Affairs, the study's authors noted that there may not be sufficient data to support their finding that the Asian American fatality rate was four times the normal, but urged for more research and for breaking down the data by Asian American national origin.
“At best, it should be disaggregated by Asian American national origin group and primary language,” Tung Nguyen, one of the researchers, told the Times of how to improve available data. “And then they should also invest efforts in collecting data so that there is a minimum amount of unknowns, because it is really hard to clarify disparities when there’s a big group of people who we don’t know anything about at all.”
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“Of all the nations in the world, we’ve had the most deaths from COVID-19. At the same time, we’re in the midst of ‘reopening our economy,’ exposing more and more people to coronavirus and watching numbers of cases — and deaths — skyrocket,” the experts wrote.
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