In L.A., Race and Income Remain Major Factors in Coronavirus Deaths

Black and Latino Angelenos are dying at higher rates than their white neighbors

A new report by the Los Angeles County Office of Public Health reveals that Black and Latino residents are still far more likely to die from the coronavirus than white Angelenos.

The study found that while there are 14 deaths for every 100,000 white residents, the coronavirus mortality rate among Black residents is double that, with 26 out of 100,000 dying from the infection, the Los Angeles Times reports. Black people make up 8.2 percent of L.A. County’s population, but they represent 13 percent of COVID-19 related deaths. And while 27.6 percent of the county is white, they make up 29 percent of the death toll.

Latinos are also at a higher risk than whites. With 22 deaths for every 100,000 residents, Latinos make up 40 percent of the population and 49.3 percent of all deaths. By comparison, Asian Americans make up 14.5 percent of L.A. County and 17 percent of all deaths.

Poverty also remains a significant risk factor. The study finds that people who live in high poverty areas are nearly four times more likely to die from coronavirus than residents in low poverty areas. In impoverished communities, 41 in 100,000 succumb to the virus, while the toll in more affluent areas in 11 in 100,000.

The study confirms a disturbing trend first reported last month about the correlation between wealth, race, and death in California as L.A. struggles to recover from the pandemic.

“The data remains deeply disturbing and it will require a lot of collaboration and work with our partners to address the inequities,” director of public health Barbara Ferrer said.

Another leading factor in survival is a person’s health before they become infected. Of all COVID-19 deaths here, 40 percent of the victims were adults under 65 with underlying health conditions—a criteria met by 35 to 40 percent of all L.A. County residents.

“I know sometimes folks think there’s a very tiny group of people who are at an elevated risk of serious illness from COVID-19. But here in L.A. County, it’s one out of three of us who has an underlying health condition that can put you or your loved one at a much higher risk for serious illness related to COVID-19,” Ferrer said.

RELATED: What We Know About L.A. County’s COVID-19 Cases

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