Clues to Heightened Risks for Latinos

Immigration status is the biggest predictor of COVID-19 infection status among Latinos in Massachusetts—followed by housing and work status, a new Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study shows.

COVID-19 rates are 5X higher than the state average for Latinos in one city, Chelsea—where two-thirds of the population is Latin. Almost half are recent immigrants, and about 70% of adults are essential workers, according to research published in Health Affairs yesterday.  

A Trump administration rule deterring immigrants from taking advantage of public benefits could play a part, too, making recent immigrants wary of calling in sick, says Jose Figueroa, a Harvard assistant professor. “It’s terrible policy at the worst time,” he said.

The risk factors do not explain the pandemic’s heavy impact on Black people, however, indicating a need for more research.


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