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UCLA FSPH researchers investigate COVID-19-associated deaths in working-age Latinos

David Hayes-Bautista and Paul Hsu, both with the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, have found that over the past three months, there was a nearly five-fold increase in death rates among working-age Latinos in California

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Date: 
Thursday, August 27, 2020
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UCLA researchers have found that over the three months from May 11 to August 11, 2020, there was a nearly five-fold increase in death rates in all three groups defined as Latinos of "working age": young adult, early middle age, and late middle age.

"In the early days of the pandemic, we worried about the skyrocketing death rate for the elderly," said David E. Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (FSPH) professor of health policy and management and distinguished professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Now the virus is falling on the working-age population, and the young Latino population is disproportionately represented in this demographic."

Hayes-Bautista and Paul Hsu, assistant professor of epidemiology at FSPH and co-author of the report, "COVID-19‒ Associated Deaths in Working-Age Latino Adults," found the following:

 

  • Latino Young Adult (ages 18‒34). Young adult Latinos include college students and recent graduates beginning their lifetime labor force participation. While the absolute number of deaths in this group—and hence also their death rate—was very low, its rate of growth is nonetheless alarming. In the three months from May 11 to August 11, the death rate for this group increased by 473%.  
  • Latino Early Middle Age (ages 35‒49). Early middle-aged Latinos are consolidating their place in the labor force and are in the process of forming families and households. During the three months between May and August, the death rate in this age group grew just as alarmingly, by 386%.
  • Latino Late Middle Age (ages 50‒69). Late middle-aged Latinos, like most late middle-aged persons, are in their peak earning years. Death rates were far higher for this age group to start with, and during the same three-month period they grew by 471%.

The death rate is highest for late middle-aged Latinos. At 54.73 deaths per 100,000, it is nearly 25 times higher than the young adult rate (2.12), and nearly four times higher than the early middle-aged rate (14.23). COVID-19 is taking a high toll on Latino adults in their peak earning years. The report is published by the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture (CESLAC), part of UCLA Health.

“Anything that threatens the stability of our economy, like COVID-19’s inroads into the working-age population, needs to be taken seriously,” Hayes-Bautista said.

Data on COVID-19 deaths, stratified by race/ethnicity and by age group, were furnished by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) between May 11 and August 11, 2020. Population denominators to calculate the age-specific death rate per 100,000 were tabulated from the 2018 American Community Survey (ACS), the latest available.

The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, founded in 1961, is dedicated to enhancing the public's health by conducting innovative research, training future leaders and health professionals from diverse backgrounds, translating research into policy and practice, and serving our local communities and the communities of the nation and the world. The school has 690 students from 25 nations engaged in carrying out the vision of building healthy futures in greater Los Angeles, California, the nation and the world.