COLUMBUS, Ohio — The following article was originally published in the Ohio Capital Journal and published on News5Cleveland.com under a content-sharing agreement.
A study done by Ohio State University researchers showed the COVID-19 pandemic had a particularly fatal impact on the Hispanic community.
Using CDC death counts separated by racial/ethnic group, the study showed that Hispanics constituted 40%, but only represented 19% of the population in 2020.
Deaths among the Hispanic population were disproportionately high in every age range below the age of 75, the study showed, and CDC surveillance data sited in the research found a county-to-county pattern as well.
“Overall and within each age group, whites are disproportionately underrepresented among COVID-19 cases,” the study stated. “In contrast, Hispanics suffer excess COVID-19 burdens across all age groups.”
The most deaths in the population happened a “working age,” ages 30 to 59, researchers found.
Addressing the argument that preexisting conditions played a role in the disproportionate level of death, researchers said they found “no evidence to indicate that Hispanics have higher rates of reported underlying comorbidity or disease than whites.”
The study found a “workplace vulnerability” as a possible cause for the uptick in deaths in Hispanics, and found that transmission of the disease from younger to older Hispanics was “not consistent” in the numbers they studied.
A survey cited in the study showed that Hispanics were overall more likely to wear a mask than Whites, but other than workplace exposure, researchers were “unable to evaluate other factors that may play a role in the excess COVID-19 case rates.”
Still, the data “shines a harsh light on the likely role played by occupational exposure in elevating death risk in this population,” the study stated, and work environments as a COVID-19 vulnerability should be studied further.
“Because low-wage and essential worker populations in the United States are disproportionately members of racial/ethnic minority groups, work environments, alongside paid sick leave policies, are obvious sites on which to focus efforts to address the alarming racial/ethnic disparities in COVID-19.”