New numbers show COVID-19 damage to communities of color; leaders call for better data collection

Discussion in 'Politics and Debate' started by kevinsmith2020, Mar 4, 2021.

  1. kevinsmith2020

    kevinsmith2020 Newbie

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    People of color across the country — and in Multnomah County — shoulder a disproportionate burden of illness and death(link is external) from COVID-19. Researchers at John Hopkins reports(link is external), for example, found Black and African American residents represent only about 13 percent of the population in states reporting data on race and ethnicity of COVID-19 cases. But Black residents account for about a third of COVID-19 deaths in those states.Those inequities extend to Oregon, where people of color are overrepresented in cases and more likely to experience complications from the virus. The most obvious disparity is this: Latinx people make up 13 percent of the state population and 27 percent of cases. That disparity is driven by an outbreak in Washington County, where nearly half of those who have tested positive(link is external) for the virus identify as Latinx — more than double the rate of Hispanic residents in Washington County. In Multnomah County: Black, indigenous and other people of color represent 40 percent of COVID-19 cases, despite comprising only 30 percent of residents. Latinx and Asian American residents appear more likely to be hospitalized from the virus, and many of those residents reported underlying health conditions. Most residents who have died of COVID-19 lived with chronic health conditions — conditions that occur at far higher rates among Black and African American residents.Black, indigenous and other people of color are also more likely to engage in public-facing essential work. And those same residents are more likely to experience severe symptoms and hospitalization because of higher rates of underlying chronic disease — disease stemming from centuries of unequal access to healthcare and inequitable opportunities for healthy jobs, homes and lifestyles. But health officials also caution that this emerging picture is incomplete. That’s because race and ethnicity data — who gets tested, who tests positive, who falls ill and who dies — is often still missing or isn’t being collected by medical providers. Public health officials say that kind of information is important when recommending when and how society should open back up. “This is data so needed for us to make decisions about policy, resources and how we’re going to fight this global pandemic,” Public Health Director Rachael Banks said Thursday as health experts detailed new data showing COVID-19 cases, complications and deaths. “But it’s important to understand the history that makes some people more vulnerable — not because of choices they’ve made, not because of their age — but simply because they were born Black or Brown,” she said. “This data is rich and powerful and has an additional story... and it’s not only our story to share.”
     

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