Minority coronavirus death rates outpacing those of whites

Sep 23, 2020, 4:25 AM

PHOENIX — The Atlantic’s “COVID Tracking Project” finds the coronavirus is killing racial minorities faster than whites nationwide.

The death rates are 2.4 times higher for blacks compared with whites, and 1.5 times higher for Hispanics, Latinos and indigenous groups.

Mayo Clinic internal medicine physician Dr. Mark Wieland said in webinar Tuesday that minority communities typically have more preexisting medical conditions and less healthcare access.

He added they also have “higher housing density, more housing insecurity to make social distancing harder, and less access to healthy foods which makes chronic disease management more difficult.”

Wieland said minorities tend to work in services deemed “essential” that require them to be at the workplace.

“Racial ethnic minorities are less likely to have the privilege of working from home,” Wieland said. “They’re less likely to have paid sick leave. They’re more likely to use public transportation or to carpool.”

Short-term, he wants more testing and racial data collection in their communities.

“Long-term solutions include authentic community-engaged pandemic preparedness and equitable vaccine rollout,” Wieland explained.

Wieland said public health department communication and outreach are improving to get minorities to take coronavirus tests and wear masks. He added both sides need to build more trust with one another.

He acknowledged all racial communities struggle with certain issues, like the future COVID-19 vaccine.

“There is some reticence relative to, ‘I don’t want to be the guinea pig, this vaccine is being rushed, and it’s politically motivated, and so I don’t want to be any part of that,'” Wieland explained.

Social media messages bombard all racial groups, but Wieland says they are more likely to respond to people in their social networks.

“These are people they know and can, at some point, touch,” he said. “And that doesn’t matter what platform that comes from.”

Bottom line, everyone needs help overcoming their fears and apprehensions about the Coronavirus.

“We need messages of empathy and hope,” Wieland said. “One, to sustain the effort, and two, because this is fundamentally a human experience based on interactions that are entirely human, and trust is based around that.”

Coronavirus prevention applies to everyone: wash your hands, keep a distance if possible, and if not, wear a mask.

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Minority coronavirus death rates outpacing those of whites