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Wealthy L.A. areas have higher rates of coronavirus cases. Why those numbers are deceiving

The Los Angeles Times interviewed Chandra Ford, director of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health and associate professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, about how accessibility to testing may explain why wealthier communities are reporting higher infection rates than elsewhere at this point in the pandemic. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

As a potent new coronavirus continues its lethal spread across California, many of Los Angeles County’s whitest and wealthiest enclaves are reporting far higher rates of infection than are poorer neighborhoods of color.

Predominantly white, affluent areas such as Hancock Park, Bel-Air, Beverly Crest and Brentwood reported some of the highest per capita rates of confirmed cases, while many working-class and majority nonwhite communities such as Bell Gardens, Watts and El Monte reported much lower rates, a Times analysis of county health data through Wednesday shows.

But those disparities do not mean the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading more widely through rich neighborhoods than in poorer ones, public health officials and experts say. Rather, they are probably skewed by uneven access to testing and, in some instances, by wealthy residents who traveled internationally and had some of the earliest confirmed infections.