LA Latinos mortality rate exceeds that of white residents

For years, public health experts have observed how Latinos have globally better death rates than white residents, although they are more likely to have lower incomes, chronic health conditions, and reduced access to health care.

Now, the historic COVID-19 pandemic has upended the so-called “Latino paradox” in Los Angeles County.

For the first time in the past decade, the death rate for Latinos in Los Angeles County has become worse than that for white residents, starting in 2020 — the first year of the pandemic — and getting worse l ‘Next year.

Latinos also experienced the largest percentage increase in death rates for all reasons among the four racial and ethnic groups analyzed by LA County between 2019 and 2021. The death rate for Latino residents of LA County increased by 48% over that period, from a rate of 511 deaths per 100,000 Latino residents to a rate of 756.

The increase in the death rate for Latinos was double the increase in the death rate for all LA County residents, which increased by 23%.

Black residents have long had the highest death rate in LA County, dropping during the pandemic from 835 to 1,027 deaths per 100,000 black residents. That’s a 23% increase in the death rate. Americans mortality rate from Asia increased 22%.

The mortality rate of white residents increased by the smallest amount – 7.5% – from 630 to 678 deaths per 100,000 white residents.

Calculations have been adjusted for age differences between racial and ethnic groups, are based on provisional data, and do not include deaths of LA County residents who died outside of California.

LA County officials say most of the increase in total number of deaths is directly related to the pandemic. Health officials estimate that there were about 16 500 extra deaths for every reason in 2020 compared to the previous year than what one would expect otherwise in LA County before the pandemic. About two-thirds of these deaths were directly charged to Covid-19.

Dr. Don Garcia, Medical Director of Clínica Romero, said the figures should be an alarming call to action.

Garcia argued that the overall numbers for Latinos must be disaggregated to even Starker’s Unmask disparities in death rates among the Latino population, including for marginalized groups such as “undocumented immigrants, non -insured, those who do not have access. ”

“Let a public hearing on this subject. Create a working group on this. Let a grouping of all the leaders and look at it – like any type of catastrophic emergency, “said Garcia.

“Kept the Latinos Close”

The concept of the Latin paradox was hardly a conundrum to Boyle Heights resident Carlos Montes.

The Chicano activist has witnessed a lifetime of caring between younger and older generations. Sons bringing food and hugs to their elderly mothers, daughters calling and texting fathers and aunts, and grandparents raising grandchildren were the norm.

The enduring sense of family “kept Latinos close,” helped lengthen lives and offset the disadvantages caused by chronic disease and inflammation.

For many Latinos, the close family ties have become a source of risk because Covid-19 took advantage of the close contact.

Montes, 74 years old, who lives in a community of active senior citizens, said he saw friends and neighbors die because of Covid-19 over the past two years. Some have tried to stay out there. But this kind of isolation was just too shocking to be maintained.

One of Montes’ close friends, an elderly grandmother, barely left her apartment, Montes said. The only time she would, he said, it was to visit his son. COVID-19 claimed his life last year.

“It’s hard to stay locked and she did a good job, but she probably caught the 19-Covid during these visits,” said Montes. “That’s all it took.”

Montes said he had taken a lot of personal care, always wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and receiving two booster injections of the vaccine Moderna. But he said that many Latinos had succumbed to misinformation.

“There was a lot of misinformation circulating on WhatsApp and that’s where the first and tias were reading,” Montes said.

Montes remembers being invited to Thanksgiving in 2020 by his girlfriend and son. It was a gathering of “at least a dozen people,” according to Montes, who declined to participate. The standards of family ties have wreaked havoc because Montes was informed in a week than those who had attended the party had contracted Covid-19.

“You have to remember these are Latinos who for the most part are not working from home,” Montes said. “We work in shops and factories, sell food and clean, and we go to meet people.

He added: “Being essential [workers] really hurt us because we got sick and then spread it to our families.

“You are much more vulnerable”

Researchers are intrigued for decades by the “paradox Latin” – that face high rates of poverty and uninsured, “you always see Latinos have a life expectancy far higher than what could be expect, “said Dr. Michael A. Rodriguez, science teacher community health and family medicine at UCLA.

The researchers highlighted family support, community cohesion and other social, demographic and cultural factors to try to understand the phenomenon and determine whether it could be exploited to benefit other groups as well, Rodriguez said.

In recent years, the Latin paradox has begun to show signs of erosion, with some data suggesting it began before the pandemic, he said.

Nevertheless, there have always been results and projections – before the pandemic – by which Latinos would have a relatively long life expectancy.

According to a report discussing the Latino paradox and published in 2015 by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Latinos had an overall death rate 24% lower than that of white residents, although Latinos were more likely to live below the poverty line and not having completed their studies. school and have reduced access to health care.

A much higher percentage of Latinos had no health insurance — about 42% — while 15% of white residents had no health insurance.

Latinos had mortality rates from cancer and heart disease lower than for white residents, said the CDC. Latinos were less likely to report that they smoked.

“Lower smoking rates among Hispanics, immigration of healthy immigrants, reverse migration of sicker or older immigrants, and higher levels of family support could help explain this mortality advantage for some groups. of Hispanic descent,” the CDC report said.

Latinos had higher death rates than white residents for diabetes, homicide, chronic liver disease, and cirrhosis.

Federal researchers have found that being born in the United States and staying there longer is associated with poorer health outcomes.

Dr. Efrain Talamantes, COO for AltaMed Health Services, suggested that the “paradox Latino” mortality has been linked to healthier environments than many Latin American immigrants grew up with before coming to the States STATES, the salutary effects which then melted over time and generations.

This type of protection “does not apply when it comes to a disease spread by people” as Covid, he said. And because Latinos made up a disproportionate number of workers who couldn’t work from home and live in households with many other people, they were at greater risk of the virus than others.

To make matters worse, many Latinos with chronic diseases have had their medical care interrupted during the pandemic.

“What we see now is that there are many patients who present and which have not been supported for a year or two,” Talamantes said. “They have a worsening of their diabetes. Worsening of hypertension. This makes them more vulnerable to serious diseases Covid, he said.

As a doctor practicing in Boyle Heights, he has seen families lose grandparents and parents, with a devastating effect.

“The number of families affected by the loss of a family member who at one time provided care or brought income to the household has been astronomical,” Talamantes said.

More and more patients began to appear, concerned about their ability to pay for groceries, rent and bills.

“Whole village approach”

Chinatown resident Raul Claros, 41, said despite its size and influence, the Latino community in Los Angeles is as much about the individual as the whole.

“We take care of each other’s families because we migrated here together and brought our families here to live,” said Claros, who is of Salvadoran and Costa Rican descent. “It’s the approach of the whole village.”

This intergenerational closeness of families sharing a home, having their children study and play nearby, and shared work has helped Latinos survive for generations, Claros argued. But the same factors that made the Latino paradox possible also gave oxygen to a viral disease that fed on human contact.

“The…village exploded in 2020,” said Claros, who co-founded the Reimagine LA Foundation, an organization dedicated to training community leaders. “The children survived but the grandparents died.”

The father of Claros was successfully treated for stomach and colon cancer for two years and was “going very well”, to the point that doctors spoke of forgiveness. He diagnosed Covid 19-December 23, the day of the anniversary of young Claros, and was intubated on 27 December.

Before the pandemic, visiting family members were helping to support Claros Sr. as he struggled against cancer. After the appearance of Covid-19, the challenge became how to maintain a safe distance with his father, said the young Claros. It was something emotionally difficult.

Nevertheless, on February 13, 2021, her father died of complications from COVID-19 and cancer. He was 64 years old.

“It hit him and took him out quickly,” said his son. “It was a process of seven weeks, but it was also an eternity together.”

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