FILE PICTURE: People using face masks stroll along the ocean pier in Huntington Beach, California, U.S., July 23,2020 REUTERS/Mike Blake
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) – Latinos in California are becoming ill and passing away from COVID-19 at far greater rates than other groups, the state’s leading health authorities warned on Tuesday, prompting brand-new outreach and information collection efforts as cases surge.
Latinos comprise 39%of the population in the most populous U.S. state, however represent 56%of COVID-19 infections and 46%of deaths, the California Health and Person Solutions secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly, said in a conference call with reporters.
Of specific concern is the greatly Latino Central Valley agricultural area, where cases continue to skyrocket and health centers are becoming overwhelmed even as the rate of new infections may be slowing in the state overall, Ghaly said.
Specialists stated a perfect storm of office issues and cultural traditions in the Central Valley has caused a crush of cases that has ravaged numerous households. Lots of Latinos in the Central Valley are poor, operating in markets such as agriculture that have actually been deemed essential throughout the pandemic. Many employers have not reliably provided protective equipment to employees or implemented social distancing or rules needing masks to be used, measures essential to containing the infection, state authorities say.
In addition, cultural norms that foster big household events and include lots of multi-generational households have resulted in quick and lethal transmission of the virus, typically to older relatives who are less able to endure.
On Tuesday, Ghaly stated California would implement a brand-new technique of tracking COVID-19 as well as other transmittable diseases by requiring laboratories to ask the ethnic background, sexual orientation and gender identity of those they test.
Likewise of concern is a high death rate for African-Americans who contract the disease, although development has been made decreasing the group’s overall infection rate, Ghaly said. African-Americans comprise 6%of California’s population and account for 4%of COVID-19 infections but 8.5%of deaths, he stated. Whites, who make up 37%of the population, account for 17.5%of cases and 30%of deaths, state information show.
Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Modifying by Leslie Adler