People Of Color Disproportionately Hospitalized For COVID-19 In Arizona
Nationwide, COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted communities of color. As the virus becomes more widespread in Arizona, similar disparities are emerging.
40% of people who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 in Maricopa County have been Latino. But Latinos account for just 31% of the region’s population, according to county data. African Americans and Native Americans in the county have also been hospitalized at disproportionate rates.
Statewide, Latinos now make up the largest percentages of cases and hospitalizations, state data show.
“This isn’t going to be the last health crisis that we have,” said Dr. Brittane Parker, an Arizona physician who has worked with the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Health Equity and Community Engaged Research. “We need to see that there are gaps here. How do we fill them for the next time?”
Parker said lawmakers and healthcare systems should reexamine policies that might lead to disparities. She said limited access to healthcare, higher risk jobs, and lower wages can all contribute to long term negative health effects in communities of color.