Fronteras: COVID-19 Infections And Deaths Among Latinos; Cross-Border Contact Tracing | Texas Public Radio

Fronteras: COVID-19 Infections And Deaths Among Latinos; Cross-Border Contact Tracing

May 29, 2020

The number of Latinos who have died of coronavirus complications in the U.S. narrowly outpaces the rate of white fatalities. One San Antonio researcher believes the number of Latino deaths may not be as accurate as it’s being portrayed.

Dr. Rogelio Sáenz — professor of demography at the University of Texas at San Antonio — decided to investigate if the statistics for the Latino population are somehow skewed.

Audio Pending...

Dr. Rogelio Sáenz is Dr. Rogelio Sáenz a professor of demography at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

What Do We Know About COVID-19 Infections And Death Among Latinos?

More than 100,000 Americans have officially died of coronavirus complications. Researchers believe that number could be higher. APM Research Labs show that the numbers of COVID-19-related fatalities among Black Americans is 2.4 times higher than that of white Americans.

The same research shows the number of Latino fatalities is slightly greater than that of whites.

Dr. Sáenz examined COVID-19 data dashboards of 38 states and said these questions surrounding race result in scattered and incomplete information about Latinos.

“So Latinos, a high proportion identify racially as white, so their infections and their deaths are included in the white population,” said Dr. Saenz. “So, that becomes extremely difficult to compare, for example, whites and Latinos because Latinos are double counted.”

Read Dr. Rogelio Sáenz’s report here:

What do we know about COVID-19 infections and deaths among Latinos? by Texas Public Radio on Scribd

Cross-Border COVID-19 Contact Tracing

Texas has performed almost 1 million COVID-19 tests, but testing is only the start in tracking how the coronavirus has made its way across the Lone Star State. 

Contact tracing is the next critical step to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and this process may be more difficult in communities along the U.S.-Mexico border, where residents interact binationally with relatives, friends and coworkers.

Contact tracers work to identify members of the infected person’s household and other close contacts who were exposed to the virus who need to self-isolate. The goal: keep them from spreading COVID-19 to more people.

In binational border communities, bilingual contact tracers are crucial as residents switch between English and Spanish, as well as go back and forth across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Though closed to all but essential travelers to contain the virus, a significant number of U.S. citizens and legal residents cross over to visit relatives and do essential jobs in both countries.

Along with cross-border activity among residents, U.S. border cities are also grappling with the challenge that comes with their southern neighbors who are running on different timelines for testing and restarting economic activities.

In the meantime, tracers are warning people they are all at risk of carrying the virus and could be spreading it to others on both sides of the border.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter @NormDog1 and Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter @terrazas_lauren.