A University of Washington (UW) study will research the impact long COVID has had on Hispanics in the state.
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Dr. Leo Morales, professor of medicine at UW’s School of Medicine, will lead the study. He said COVID has had a much bigger impact on Hispanics in the state than other groups.
“The rates of infection have been higher,” Morales said. “And more Latinx and Hispanics have died from COVID on an age-adjusted basis than other groups. [They’ve had] higher rates of hospitalization.”
The CDC reported in June 2022 that nearly 9% of Hispanic adults had long COVID, which was a higher percentage than non-Hispanic white adults (7.5%), Black adults (6.8%), and more than twice the percentage of non-Hispanic Asian adults (3.7%).
People with long COVID conditions can have a wide range of symptoms that can last weeks, months, or years after infection.
“There may be many Latinos in the state that don’t recognize they have long COVID,” Morales said. “If you have symptoms like fatigue, trouble thinking, pain, or difficulty breathing after you’ve had an infection with COVID you should seek care. You should talk to your doctor or find a doctor because you may have long COVID, and there are therapies that may be helpful for you.”
Information regarding the impact long COVID has had on Hispanics in the state is limited, Morales said.
“It’s more common in people who have had severe illness, people who have been in the hospital, for example,” he said. “Based on what we know about infection rates, and hospitalization rates, there’s a lot of concern that long COVID is much more prevalent than currently recognized among Hispanic or Latinx communities.”
The most important thing the study will do is influence the care and resources Hispanic communities receive in response to the impact of long COVID, Morales said.
“That’s really what the goal of the study is,” he said. “We want to understand how prevalent long COVID is, what kinds of symptoms people have, and what kind of impact it has on their health and well-being in order to help mobilize a response.”
The study will be funded by the UW Latino Center for Health, the UW School of Medicine, and the Allen Institute. Researchers will also work with the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic and Sea Mar Community Health Centers on the project. Researchers began collecting data in January.
“We expect to start seeing results from the study in early summer,” Morales said. “And we’ll be sharing those broadly with community members and policymakers here in the state of Washington.”