As infections skyrocket, COVID-19 hits ethnic group in Hawaii particularly hard


HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – A third of all COVID-19 cases in Hawaii are people from the Micronesian community, according to a recently released analysis of state data.

The group is also five times more likely to contract the virus than the population as a whole.

“Not only most cases, most transmissions,” said DeWolfe Miller, an epidemiologist at the University of Hawaii, who called the report astonishing.

The analysis showed infection rates for various ethnic groups, with Pacific Islanders reporting 527.5 patients per 100,000 population, a significantly higher rate than other ethnic groups.

For comparison, Filipinos had 99.4 infections per 100,000 people.

Here are the breakdowns for other ethnic and racial groups:

  • Whites: 68.9.
  • Chinese: 65.6
  • Native Hawaiians: 58.6
  • Japanese: 51.4 Japanese
  • Blacks: 33.8

The Micronesian community accounted for 34% of all cases over a ten-day period, July 17-26.

This is up from 25% in the previous period.

Miller said the numbers underscore the need for more education and awareness.

“You have to do something with this community, you have to reach out to community leaders and start taking action,” he said.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green said there are several reasons the people of Marshalls and Micronesia experience higher rates of infection.

“We have language gaps, we have cultural considerations because some people are traditionally not open to testing and it is difficult,” he said.

Green has also said anything that makes it difficult to contact Trace.

He said, for example, that there is a COVID-19 patient in a household of 22 people.

“It’s going to be a COVID explosion. It’s a big concern, ”he said.

State Heath director Bruce Anderson also said he was concerned about living conditions and multigenerational households.

“A lot of people living in a small apartment, many generations living in an apartment, of course, this is a condition where you can easily pass the disease from one person to another,” he said.

Anderson added that the Department of Health is working with church and community leaders to raise awareness and hopefully stop the spread.

“We do a lot of outreach, we try to reach these communities, using interpreters and we are making progress,” he said.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.


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