OU Medicine researchers find disparate COVID-19 outcomes for minorities in Oklahoma | Coronavirus

A study by the Journal of Oklahoma State Medical Association shows minority populations often experience worse outcomes of COVID-19 than other groups. 

According to a press release from OU Medicine, the study was a 12-week process of looking at disparities in COVID-19 cases. Researchers found in the first week of data reporting, white patients represented the majority of cases, with 71 percent. White people make up about 74 percent of the population. But by week 12, white case percentage dropped by 18 points. Conversely, the study estimates 12 percent of the population is Hispanic and Latino, but this group’s cases saw an increase in percentage of cases from 8 percent in week 1 to 20 percent in week 12.

According to the release, Dr. Janitzio Guzman, Amy D. Hendrix, Elise Knowlton and Dr. Kimberly Martin wrote “COVID-19 Related Racial and Ethinic Disparities in Oklahoma,” a research article looking at how COVID-19 has affected different populations in Oklahoma. 

In a video interview with OU Medicine, Martin said although the results of the study were interesting, they were not surprising. 

“While (these) findings were interesting in terms of the racial and ethnic minorities, we knew we were going to see all of those, from a lack of healthcare standpoint (and) insurance standpoint, we have a large amount of folks with underlying health issues,” Martin said in the interview. 

Martin said in the interview the rise in minority cases has much to do with lack of health care. 

“The thing that was the most interesting was that it wasn’t just in Tulsa (or) Oklahoma City, we were seeing (cases) in rural counties,” Martin said in the interview. “In some of these more rural areas, they potentially don’t have health care coverage as robust (as the bigger cities).” 

To solve issues with disparities in COVID-19 cases, Martin said in the interview broad access to testing and primary care is necessary.  

“Disparities (are) going to take a long time to work on,” Martin said in the interview. “But (continue to do) our three W’s: Watching your distance, washing your hands and wearing your mask, because (those) three things are really the most important thing to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

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