MONDAY, May 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Exposure to the new coronavirus in the workplace is one of the main reasons for the disproportionately high COVID-19 mortality rate of Hispanics, according to a new study.
In 2020, Hispanics accounted for 19% of the U.S. population, but nearly 41 percent of deaths from COVID-19, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An analysis of federal government data revealed that much higher percentages of working-age Hispanics (30-69) died due to COVID-19 than working-age whites. For example, Hispanics aged 35-44 and 55-64 had higher-than-expected death rates 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.
An independent analysis of case estimates found a similar pattern of unequally high COVID-19 infection rates for Hispanics, meaning that higher mortality rates among working-age Hispanics are consistent with increased 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 paper that actually showed that the excess cases were found precisely in these working age groups,” said study co-author Reanne Frank, a sociology professor at the University. Ohio State.
“Particularly for front-line and essential workers, among whom there is an over-representation of Hispanics, COVID-19 is an occupational disease that is spreading at work,” it said in a university press release. “Hispanics were at the forefront and incurred a disproportionate cost.”
Knowing that there is a connection between essential work and a higher death rate from COVID-19 should lead to improved workplace protection, said study co-author D. Phuong Do, an associate professor of Public Health Policy and Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“If we know the origin of the spread, we can address it head on,” Do said in the statement. “This finding is applicable to any disease that is highly infectious. We can’t stop the economy, we’ve learned that. There has to be a way to protect workers and enforce protection.”
The researchers said the findings challenge suggestions that disproportionately high mortality rates among Hispanics and other minorities are caused by pre-existing health conditions and / or lower-quality health care.
“There is this impetus when we try to understand disparities in racial health (even new ones like COVID that came up very quickly) to obscure the role of structural factors, which include work environments,” Frank said.
“This evidence can certainly set the record for why the Hispanic community, along with other overrepresented groups among front-line workers, received such a strong blow from this pandemic, that it was because they were doing their job. and the line, ”she said.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have more to consider COVID-19 racial / ethnic disparities.
SOURCE: Ohio State University, press release, April 29, 2021