KIMT NEWS 3 - Doctors at Mayo Clinic say the pandemic is disproportionately affecting Black, Latino, and Native America communities.
On Tuesday, the death toll in the United States from the coronavirus pandemid passed 200,000.
Dr. Mark Wieland is an internal medicine physician at Mayo Clinic. He says the latest figures show death rates are 2.4 times higher for African Americans compared to white people, and 1.5 times higher for Hispanic, Latino, and Indigenous groups.
"The higher infection rates and deaths in these minority, low socioeconomic status populations are related in part to existing health inequities," Dr. Wieland said. "Namely higher rates of chronic diseases that lead to worse COVID outcomes like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and so forth, as well as disproportionate barriers to health care access and utilization."
He says these health inequities lead back to structural racism. Many of these vulnerable groups live in places with higher density housing, making it harder to social distance. They are also more likely to be essential workers, and not have the luxury of working from home.
Back in March, researchers with the Rochester Healthy Community Partnership partnered with immigrant and refugee groups in Southeast Minnesota to become communication leaders.
In the first two weeks, they reached nearly 10,000 individuals across six different languages through nine different communication platforms.
"This bidirectional risk communication model is particularly effective," Dr. Wieland said. "It's responding in real time to the changing facts in the field and then getting those out to the populations in a way that's continuous and from the same trusted sources. That's where this risk communication model is particularly powerful."
Dr. Wieland said one of the biggest challenges during the pandemic is the ever-changing information. He adds since March, there's been a shift from medical questions to socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic.
If you'd like to learn more or get involved with Rochester Healthy Community Partnership, click here.