Hispanic populations hit hardest by coronavirus due to work, health, living conditions: Expert

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Half the population of Fresno County is Hispanic but they make up 66% of the COVID-19 deaths thus far.

Dr. Marina Roytman at UCSF Fresno cites three factors leading to the high number: living conditions, work circumstances, and health circumstances.

"When we look at living conditions, we know that oftentimes our Hispanic patients live in very crowded conditions. Especially, a lot of my patients are farmworkers," says Dr. Roytman.

Dr. Roytman says a large number of Hispanic people are essential workers at hospitals, stores, and even food processing plants, where we have seen a spike in coronavirus cases.

"They may not be able to easily afford to not work," says Dr. Roytman.

As for health circumstances, Dr. Roytman cites past studies which she says show black and Hispanic populations are more likely to postpone medical care due to the lack of insurance or the inability to afford healthcare.

"The pandemic simply highlights the inequalities that already exist," says Dr. Roytman.

73% of the COVID deaths in Fresno County were people 65 and older.

73% of the COVID patients who passed away also suffered from either hypertension or diabetes.

But Dr. Roytman says obesity, even among young people, is a growing risk factor for COVID.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.