Twice as likely to test positive for coronavirus in the USA

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Although external factors such as underlying health conditions or place of residence count, researchers at Yale University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have found a worrying trend: Hispanics in the United States are twice as likely to give positive in coronavirus tests.

The experts published a study in the journal PLOS Medicine that highlights “the urgent need to improve strategies to prevent and contain more outbreaks in the communities of racial and ethnic minorities in the US”, such as Hispanics and African Americans.

The study looked at all the people receiving medical care from the US Department of Veterans Affairs just before the pandemic and monitored them to identify who was tested for COVID-19, who tested positive for it, and who died in subsequent 30 days of taking the test.

Between February 8 and July 22 of this year, 254,595 people took the test; 16,317 tested positive for coronavirus. Of them, 11.4 percent were Hispanic, while 10.2 percent were African American, percentages that are more than double compared to the white population, which only reached 4.4 percent.

Christopher Rentsch, the lead author of the study, noted that although minority people with coronavirus “did not appear to have worse outcomes, our findings suggest that these communities face a substantial excess burden of COVID-19 infection.”

And while previous reports highlight that minorities are more likely to live in densely populated areas, share a home with multiple family members, or hold essential high-contact jobs, researchers cannot fully explain the reason for this disparity between Hispanic population and that considered white.

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“Understanding what is driving these disparities is vital so that strategies can be adapted to curb disproportionate epidemics in minority communities,” Rentsch added.


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