A recent study has found that Asian Americans have a significantly higher mortality rate from COVID-19 than the rest of California residents.
Data obtained from the San Francisco Department of Public Health revealed that 16 of the 31 people who died from COVID-19 in the city since the outbreak started up as of May 5 are of Asian descent.
Asian Americans, who make up over 15% of all Californians, also account for 16.7% of the deaths statewide. These figures set the proportion of death to cases involving Asians at 8.6% while for all Californians is at 5.6%.
UC San Francisco scientist Dr. Tung Nguyen, who authored the study, noted that such findings were too significant to ignore, the Asian Journal reports.
“It was shocking to find out that over half of the deaths in San Francisco from COVID are Asian-American,” Dr. Nguyen was quoted as saying. “It wasn’t until I saw the data from California that I thought this was something that we need to make the community aware of.”
The researchers noted that the findings raise multiple concerns such as the lower rates of testing among Asian Americans, their employment in essential services, limited access to and quality of health care due to income or language barrier or underlying medical conditions, among others.
Due to the small number of deaths and lack of age-adjusted data, the research team pointed out in their paper that the results are still preliminary. Dr. Nguyen highlighted factors such as the high rate of diabetes among Filipino Americans, and the liver cancer sufferers among Southeast Asians are often obscured when looking at the overall population.
“To address this possible disparity, we need better data collection and transparency, more research, and dis-aggregation of data by Asian national origin groups to inform clinical risk stratification and help policymakers design a safe and phased re-opening strategy,” the authors pointed out. “Understanding the reasons for disparities in COVID-19 incidence and mortality is critical for protecting all vulnerable communities through policies to address health disparities.”
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