Pandemic reduced life expectancy of black Californians, study finds – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Research shows that the life expectancy of black Californians has dropped by nearly 3.8 years during the pandemic. (Shutterstock)

If you follow social media or go out in public and count the number of masks worn, you might conclude that the COVID-19 pandemic is over. People have started posting photos of their summer vacations and family reunions again. Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks displays entertained thousands of uncovered faces across the country.

But neither the Center for Disease Control (CDC) nor the World Health Organization has said the pandemic has run its course and statistics and death tolls across California tell a painful story about the indelible mark that the pandemic has left on all of us.

A study by university researchers, including representatives from UCLA, recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that during the pandemic, black Californians and other minorities experienced a reduction disproportionate life expectancy compared to white Californians.

The JAMA study also found that for Californians living in the highest versus lowest income census tracts, the gap in life expectancy narrowed from a pre-pandemic difference of about 11, 5 years to 14.67 years in 2020 and 15.51 years in 2021.

Between 2019 and 2021, research shows the life expectancy of Black Californians decreased by nearly 3.8 years, from 74.8 years to 71 years. Life expectancy for Latinx Californians dropped nearly 5.7 years, from 82.5 years to 76.8 years and for Asian Californians the decrease was 3 years, from 86.6 years to 83, 5. Life expectancy for white Californians fell just 1.9 years, from 80.5 to 78.6 years.

“This disparity, like other racial and ethnic inequalities, has its roots in social determinants of health as well as structural barriers resulting from systemic racism that have helped perpetuate disparities for generations,” the researchers said. in the study.

The study found that economic factors, including the likelihood of Black and Latino Californians working in front-line jobs, increased their exposure to the COVID-19 virus, coupled with the increased need for them to travel to work in person to survive the pandemic financially, were possible contributors to life expectancy. lessen.

“Families of lower socio-economic status are more vulnerable to economic instability and were less likely to access income support programs during the pandemic, raising concerns that tensions caused by the pandemic may have deepened the health disparities related to income, race and ethnicity,” said the study reported.

As of July 11, only 68% of black Californians had received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and only 25% of black children in California.

Government-supported programs and additional funds allocated in the budget for Medi-Cal coverage for undocumented immigrants are a few steps that have been taken to address some of these disparities.

BlackandVaxxed.org is a statewide California public awareness campaign designed to empower the black community with the facts and information needed to make informed decisions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Created in partnership with the California Department of Health, the organization provides a compilation of workplace safety initiatives and vaccine information on its website.

Information on how and where to receive COVID-19 vaccines can be found here.

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