Sunday, February 5, 2023

Creating liberating content

Texas Student Kobe Mcadoo...

A Brazos County grand jury handed down an indictment on Friday against the...

US: The Most Illegal...

Cuban and Nicaraguan immigrants have been arriving in large numbers in the U.S....

US National Guard Shoots...

According to officials in the United States, a member of the National Guard...

Cigarette Smoking Rates are...

Many Americans have quit smoking in the past few years. A poll on...
HomeCOVID-19With Low Vaccination...

With Low Vaccination Rates, COVID-19 Outbreak is Becoming More Deadly for Black Californians

He got his first shot at COVID-19 in the parking lot of Center of Hope Community Church last week, sitting in a plastic folding chair and rolling up his sleeve. He was the last person in the family to get vaccinated after putting it off for over a year, and only agreed to it so he could be there when his son is born this summer.

“My mom has been trying to get me vaccinated forever, since the (vaccines) came out,” Moore recalled according to Calmatters.

“My partner got it quick, and her kids got it as fast as they could. She wasn’t playing around. She was like ‘Don’t miss out on the baby.’”

His knowledge of those who have contracted COVID-19 and died is extensive, as he knows a number of people who were affected by the disease. He doesn’t go outside very often, and wears a mask. Nevertheless, he is suspicious of how the vaccine was developed. “I just don’t trust the government,” he explained.

Since vaccinations have become more widely available, COVID-19 has become deadlier for Black Californians. Vaccine hesitancy may be a contributing factor. While death rates have risen for other races with higher vaccination rates, the increase has not been as dramatic.

Black Californians have died ten times more from COVID-19 since last summer, according to a CalMatters analysis. That surpasses Latinos and all races except Pacific Islanders, whose mortality rate is 14.7 per 100,000, according to state data.

Although the death rate from COVID has declined statewide in the past week, it has increased among African Americans.

California has had 5,544 Black deaths so far due to the virus.

Professor Kim Rhoads of the University of California, San Francisco, said the growing death rate among African Americans is not surprising. “Disparities aren’t new. They aren’t new to COVID,” explains Rhoads, who organized the clinic where Moore received the vaccine.

When vaccines became widely available last summer, the disparity grew worse for Black residents, according to a study from UC Santa Cruz and UC San Francisco researchers.

Black middle-aged Californians make up a growing and disproportionate share of the deaths in California, while Latino and other minority groups see their numbers decline: In March 2021, Black people aged 40-64, who make up roughly 5% of all middle-aged Californians, accounted for 6% of deaths in COVID-19. According to a study, their numbers skyrocketed a few months later, accounting for 21% by last July.

Read More: One-Half of the Residents of a Border Town in Texas Forced to Live Without Water 

In contrast, middle-aged Latinos accounted for 66% of all COVID-19 deaths at the start of March 2021, but that proportion fell to 30% by last July, mirroring their proportion in the general middle-aged population.

Data through November indicate continuing disparities, according to researcher Alicia Riley.

Why did the vaccine benefit Latinos, but not Black Californians?

What’s puzzling to me is that they have a really different story in terms of who’s dying,” said Riley, a UCSC assistant professor of global and community health. “Are the people who were at risk of dying in the Latino community actually being reached with vaccination, whereas somehow that’s not happening for Black Californians as effectively?”

Black Californians’ increased death rate shows “who was left behind when everyone else was kind of moving on out of the pandemic,” Alicia Riley, uniVersity of California, SantA Cruzadded.

In addition to poverty, lack of health insurance, distrust of the health care system, and higher rates of health complications like diabetes, many other factors may also be contributing to this trend.

Black Californians’ increased death rate during the pandemic is an indication of “who was left behind when everyone else was kind of moving on out of the pandemic,” Riley said.

Study data did not reveal significant differences for other age groups, although state statistics suggest Black children also do worse than other races.

In California, Black children are second most likely to die from the virus, with 1.2 deaths per 100,000. Compared to Black children, Pacific Islanders are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than any other race.

It is likely that factors deeper than vaccination disparities play a role in African American deaths.

Researcher Rhoads said pre-existing health conditions may also contribute to the disparity in death among Black cancer patients. High death rates may also result from structural factors such as poor quality health care, she said.

“If we just say comorbidities, then we’re blaming the victim number one and we’re washing our hands of any responsibility,” Rhoads added.

Blacks and Pacific Islanders threaten by ‘back to normal’

Advocates and community health organizers like Rhoads are concerned by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement that California is moving into another phase of the pandemic.

COVID-19 deaths continue to be disparate according to the new state action plan. A total of $1.7 billion will be invested over the next five years in diversifying health care labor, as well as $65 million for establishing a community partnership and strategic communication office.

However, it offers little immediate action in terms of fixing disparities, and no specific programs are included to support Black communities.

A new $27 million contract was announced on Thursday by the state’s health department for the purpose of supplementing vaccination efforts in underserved communities, including African American communities.

Community advocates are worried, however, that Newsom’s rhetoric about “turning the page” on the pandemic may keep groups from making progress that have not yet caught up.

“We still have growing death rates and case rates. How can we move forward in the pandemic when we’re still suffering?” asked Karla Thomas, Policy Director for the UCLA Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander COVID-19 Data Policy Lab.

Throughout the pandemic, Pacific Islanders have been hit the hardest by COVID-19. Their mortality rate is nearly twice that of the statewide rate and nearly six times higher than the lowest rate of 2.5 deaths per 100,000 people among those who identify as multi-racial.

“We still have growing death rates and case rates. How can we move forward in the pandemic when we’re still suffering?” Thomas questioned.

Thomas said there is reason to believe the state’s vaccination numbers are inaccurate since data shows Pacific Islanders are nearly 100% vaccinated. The number is sometimes higher than 100%. According to Thomas, of the 50 people at her church in San Bernardino, only two (including her) have received vaccines. A funeral occurs in her community more than twice a month on average.

“I’m really concerned that we’re not taking an equitable approach to mitigate the pandemic among (Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander) communities and other communities of color,” Thomas said.

She criticized lifting the state’s mask mandate on Feb. 15 and the governor’s endemic plan.

Thomas’ sentiments were echoed by Rhoads.

Read More: Your Electricity Bill Will Reduce Right Away If You Unplug These Appliances!

The pandemic “is not over. It’s not for people who aren’t vaccinated, who don’t have regular health care,” she stated.

Last week Rhoads and more than 35 organizations sent a letter to the state health department in part criticizing the state’s inconsistent and confusing messaging on masking. The health department’s initial criteria for lifting the indoor mask mandate included vaccination and infection rates that were unmet when the mandate expired.

The pandemic “is not over. It’s not for people who aren’t vaccinated, who don’t have regular health care,” Dr. Kim Rhoads, University of CAlifornia, San Francisco stated.

Specifically, Rhoads said that incidents like this undermine trust in government and scientific organizations, particularly among groups that did not have much faith in them to begin with.

Within a week, Rhoads and Tomas Aragon, State Public Health Officer, scheduled a meeting.

CalMatters reported that the state’s health department described vaccine equity as its “north star” in reaching marginalized communities, and that it would continue to partner with community organizations, ethnic media, translators and faith-based groups to reach them.

“This work is ongoing, and closing the equity gap across all California communities remains a priority to the state’s vaccination efforts,” the department released in a statement.

Get notified whenever we post something new!

Continue reading

Astronomers Discovers The Most Distant Galaxy Ever

It has been determined that the most distant galaxy discovered to date is a glowing red object in the early Universe. According to Science Alert, astronomers have discovered that the galaxy existed only 330 million years ago after Bing...

2 Men Gave Secret Service Agents Gifts by Posing as Agents

Several prosecutors on Wednesday filed charges against two men suspected of posing as federal agents in order to give free apartments and other gifts to agents of the Secret Service, including one assigned to the first lady's security detail. On...

Shell Faces a $5 Billion Hit from the Russia Exit

Following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, Shell warned it would take a $5 billion (4.6 billion euro) hit on its exit from Russia. Per the RFI report, Shell recently announced that its gradual withdrawal from Russia would result in impairments and...