Published Date: August 25, 2022

Summary: Filipinx Americans working in health care are at risk for COVID-19 death but lack consistent mortality data on health care worker deaths. The lack of disaggregated data for Asian subgroups proliferates anti-Asian structural racism as the needs of high-risk groups are systematically undetected to merit a proper public health response. Researchers work around this aggregated data problem by examining how the overrepresentation of Filipinxs in health care contributes to COVID-19 mortality among Asian American populations.

To overcome the lack of COVID-19 mortality data among Filipinx American health care workers, researchers merged data from several sources: Kanlungan website (the only known public-facing source of systematically reported mortality data on Filipinx health care workers nationally and globally), National Center for Health Statistics, and 2014–2018 American Community Survey. Authors examined county-level associations using t-tests, scatterplots, and linear regression.

Findings: A higher percentage of Filipinxs among Asian Americans was correlated with a higher percentage of COVID-19 decedents who are Asian Americans. The percentage of Filipinx in health care remained a strong predictor of COVID-19 deaths among Asian Americans even after adjusting for age, poverty, and population density. For every 1% increase in Filipinx among the health care workforce, the percentage of Asian American COVID-19 decedents increased by 1%.

The study shows that the overrepresentation of Filipinxs in health care contributes to COVID-19 mortality disparities among Asian Americans. Findings advocate for systems change by practicing anti-racist data agendas that collect and report on Asian subgroups for effective real-time targeted approaches against health inequities.

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