Why U.S. Hispanic People Got COVID at Higher Rates

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay reporter

MONDAY, May 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Workplace exposure to the novel coronavirus is a major reason for the disproportionate death rate of American Hispanics from COVID-19, according to a new study.

In 2020, Hispanics made up 19% of the U.S. population but nearly 41% of deaths from COVID-19, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Analysis of federal government data found that much higher percentages of working-age Hispanics (30-69) died from COVID-19 than working-age whites. For example, Hispanics aged 35 to 44 and 55 to 64 had higher than expected death proportions of 15.4 and 8 percentage points, respectively. In contrast, whites in these same age groups had mortality advantages of 23 and 17 percentage points, respectively.

A separate analysis of case estimates found a similar pattern of unevenly high COVID-19 infection rates for Hispanics, meaning that higher death rates among working-age Hispanics are consistent with greater exposure to the virus, according to the authors. The study was recently published in the journal Demographic research.

“There was no evidence prior to this article that really demonstrated that the excess cases belonged to precisely these working age groups,” said study co-author Reanne Frank, Ohio professor of sociology. State University.

“Particularly for frontline and essential workers, among whom Hispanics are overrepresented, COVID-19 is an occupational disease that spreads at work,” she said in a college press release. “Hispanics were on the front lines and they bore a disproportionate cost.”

Knowing that there is a link between essential work and a higher rate of death from COVID-19 should lead to improved workplace protection, said study co-author D. Phuong Do, Associate Professor of Public Health Policy and Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“If we know the source of the spread, we can tackle it head-on,” Do said in the statement. “This finding applies to any highly contagious disease. We cannot stop the economy – we have learned that. There has to be a way to protect workers and strengthen protection.”

Researchers said the findings questioned suggestions that disproportionately high death rates from COVID-19 among Hispanics and other minorities are due to pre-existing health conditions and / or quality health care lower.


“There is that impetus when we try to understand racial disparities in health – even news like COVID that has arisen very quickly – to obscure the role of structural factors, which include work environments,” Frank said.

“This evidence can hopefully set the record straight as to why the Hispanic community, as well as other groups overrepresented among frontline workers, have been so badly affected by this pandemic – that it ‘was because they were doing their job and getting in line, ”she said.

More information

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the racial / ethnic disparities of COVID-19.

SOURCE: Ohio State University, press release, April 29, 2021

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