COVID cases among Chuukese, Caucasians not in proportion to their populations on Guam

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One of Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero’s medical advisers says the COVID-19 cases among Chuukese and Caucasians are not in proportion to these two ethnic groups’ size in relation to the overall population of Guam.

Dr. Annette M. David said these ethnic groups’ proportion in the overall population was not being reflected in the cases diagnosed with COVID-19.

The Chuukese, for instance, represent only 7 percent of the Guam population but account for 14 percent of all COVID-19 cases on Guam so far. Caucasians also comprise only 7 percent of the island’s population but account for 11 percent of the total COVID-19 cases.

Dr. David, however, stressed that these statistics have nothing to do with race. She said there are many factors and variables that could be causing ethnic groups to be at higher risk than others.

For the Chuukese, David said one factor may be that they work more in those essential businesses that expose them to the virus.

“And if they live in multi-family homes, that high density may be facilitating the transmission,” the doctor said during the governor”s news conference on Thursday.

As for the Caucasian population, David said it may be that they may not have as much access to PPEs or they may not be as compliant with the preventive measures.

David further hypothesizes that Caucasian COVID patients are probably healthier and younger because they’re not dying as much.

“Also, if access to health care has been impeded because of the loss of employment, one of the interventions to consider is can we have emergency healthcare insurance for all those who have lost their insurance because they have lost their jobs,” the doctor said.

She added: “And it’s very important to have an outreach campaign so that everyone knows when to seek medical care if diagnosed with COVID-19.”

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