Long COVID impacts Latinos at a higher rate

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Four years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic subjected people all over the world to health care concerns, and years later, a percentage of those who battled the virus are finding the effects still linger. We were joined by Arizona State University professor, Gilberto Lopez from the School of Transborder Studies, who explained the symptoms of long COVID and its impact on the Hispanic community.

“Long Covid can be described as a continuation of symptoms after someone tests negative for Covid after they’ve been healed from Covid-19,” Lopez said.

The term “long COVID” is being used to describe situations where the virus last for years and produces extreme fatigue, heart issues, breathing problems, memory loss, rashes and other debilitating issues. There can be over 200 different symptoms. About 31% of the Arizona population are Latino and they accounted for a shocking 27% of COVID deaths in the state. Latinos were 2x likely to die from COVID and only 20% of Latinos are vaccinated.

“Latinos have the lowest rate of having health insurance. That means they have the lowest likelihood of having a primary care physician that they go to regularly. What that means is that they are not getting healthcare,” Lopez said.

Latinos, who have had COVID in the past may not realize the symptoms they are experiencing symptoms of long COVID.

“That speaks to the way we transmit information clinical information to the community. We need to do a better job about making sure that this crucial information about health comes to the a Latino community,” Lopez said.

Latinos are more likely to take on lower wage jobs like, working in agriculture and those jobs are less likely to provide medical insurance and benefits. Lopez’s personal background gave him the insight to see that Latinos didn’t have access to the same quality information.

He decided to launch a Latino Long COVID awareness campaign in order to help get information out to the Latino community. Lopez created an animated artistic cartoon with Latino references as a platform to help inform and educate the Latinos about long COVID.

Gilberto Lopez, Professor, School of Transborder Studies, ASU

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