From March 6, when the first diagnosis of COVID-19 in Denver, Colorado was confirmed, to October 6, more than 10,000 adults living outside of detention, long-term care, or shelter settings were diagnosed with the disease. More than a thousand were hospitalized, and 165 people died as a result of the disease.
Of all of the adults diagnosed with COVID-19, an analysis by Denver’s public health department found, 54.8% were Latinx. Latinx adults comprised 62.1% of those hospitalized, and 51.2% of those who died, the analysis found.
In a city where only about a quarter of adult residents are Latinx the findings, reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, highlight systemic drivers of disease spread that public health systems must address to alleviate disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on Latinx populations across the nations, the authors write.
Those drivers include inequitable access to employment, health services and housing that lead Latinx populations to be over-represented in frontline jobs with limited or no paid sick leave, that increase risks of exposure, the likelihood of going to work while ill, and transmission in households of five or more people and limited access to testing for the virus.
“A constellation of community, system and individual factors, including systemic discrimination, likely lead to health inequalities that have been amplified by the COVID-19 epidemic,” the authors write.
They call for public health systems to work with community and social service organizations to address unmet needs.