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Dr. Fauci Speaks About COVID-19's Disproportionate Impact On Latinx Community

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks Zoom call on Thursday, Sept. 24.
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Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks Zoom call on Thursday, Sept. 24.

Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke at a webinar Thursday hosted by the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce where he discussed the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on the Latinx community and other people of color.

The U.S. death toll exceeded 200,000 deaths this week.

“The United States has been hit harder than any other country in the world with almost seven million cases,” Fauci said.

He added there are about 40,000 new infections every day throughout the country and that there is a “big disparity in increased incidence of infection and increased incidences of complications among minorities.”

“These bars show the rate of hospitalization per 100,000 population,” Fauci said, showing CDC data on the webinar. “Take a look at Hispanic/Latino, 348. Compare that to White/Non-Hispanic, 75.”

Fauci also discussed some of the reasons why he thinks the Latinx community has a big discrepancy between infections and deaths.

“It is likely that there are two factors. One, I think is more important than the other, and that is the accessibility to getting into good care as quickly as you possibly can,” Fauci said.

“Something that is even more important, and that is the increased incidence of the comorbidities that are associated with a poor outcome make it much more likely that both African Americans and Latinx are going to wind up having a severe outcome,” he added.

He said some of those comorbidities include obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease and hypertension.

Fauci also said he believes there are other reasons why the Latinx community has been disproportionately impacted.

“If you look at the jobs that Latinx have in society, as a demographic group, it much more likely puts them outside in the frontline in contact with people as opposed to what you and I are doing with a computer, so they don’t have the ability to protect themselves,” Fauci said.

“Number two,” he explained, “they don’t have as good access to healthcare and number three because of their lack of access to healthcare, because of the fact that many of them are, quote, 'illegal,' if you want to use that terrible term, that they’re afraid to get into a system that would give them good healthcare.”

Fauci said there are now four vaccines that are in advance trials with as many as 60,000 people per trial.

“We hope and I think that I’m cautiously optimistic that by the time we get to November or December we will know whether the vaccines are safe and effective,” Fauci said. “It’s conceivable, but unlikely that we will know by October, or earlier, but I think it’s likely going to be November and December.”

He also said the U.S. is premanufacturing the vaccines in anticipation of a success.

“If it works you save months, if it doesn’t, what you’ve lost is money. Government money, or tax payer money,” Fauci said. “The reason I say that is because we did think it’s taking that risk to get vaccines to people as quickly as we possibly can.”

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services estimates that there have been more than 723,000 cases in the state and more than 15,000 deaths.