LOS ANGELES — California’s Filipino Americans are dying at a higher rate from coronavirus relative to the state’s Asian American population.
The Los Angeles Times reports that while people of Filipino descent are one-fourth of the California Asian population, they represent at least 35% of Covid-19 deaths in that demographic. This rate is significantly higher than the overall 3.7% mortality rate in the U.S., according to research by Johns Hopkins.
The high fatality rate may be due to a combination of physiological conditions, occupational hazards, and potential economic and political insecurity, according to assistant University of Southern California professor Adrian De Leon who spoke to Los Angeles Times.
“It’s the perfect storm,” De Leon said, “in terms of exposure to the pandemic, exposure to the virus, but also exposure to a lot of other factors, too — like dense housing tends to be in places that have environmental hazards.”
Most Filipino fatalities were also seniors, with many in “multigenerational housing with their children or in nursing homes” and had health problems. Younger infected Filipinos are often in service jobs and health care, leading to higher infection rates. For example, California has the most number of Filipino nurses compared to any state, according to LAist. A fifth of all nurses in the state are Filipino.
Moreover, Filipino Americans in California, may be receiving less attention due to lack of data disaggregation. “Using ‘Asian American’ as an overarching label obscures a lot of the inequalities within and among communities,” De Leon said.
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