Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, and COVID-19
The coronavirus crisis has created widespread turmoil in the United States; however, it has most notably impacted marginalized communities. Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have faced series of discrimination and disparities in the heat of this pandemic. The xenophobia and racism in the United States have further amplified these issues.
Other factors have presented risks during this pandemic. Among other minority groups, AAPI are likely to work in demanding, front-line jobs which created a further risk for exposure to COVID-19. Socioeconomic determinants of health can be seen through the likelihood of AAPI to be living in lower income and densely populated homes and areas, impacting the ability to social distance and the unaffordability of healthcare. This can surface in ways including, but not limited to, the lack of insurance, testing, and lower-quality healthcare.
Similar obstacles exist in medicine. Asian-Americans are generally one of the most understudied groups in healthcare, creating a further barrier between the patient’s needs and the provided treatment. Language differences and English literacy can be an issue and impact the patient’s ability to be treated well. The socioeconomic difference and its correlation with the lack of insurance can lead these patients to seek lower-quality, inexpensive care. This consequently leads to increased hospitalization and mortality rates.
The relationship between healthcare disparities and the AAPI community is far from new. The pandemic has only begun to shed light on these issues. It is crucial for people and leaders to familiarize themselves with these concerns in order to address these underlying issues to work towards creating healthy policy agendas and continual research for a more equitable healthcare system.
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Wang, Daniel, et al. “Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in COVID-19: Emerging Disparities Amid Discrimination.” Journal of General Internal Medicine, vol. 35, no. 12, 2020, pp. 3685–88. Crossref, doi:10.1007/s11606-020-06264-5.