“Before the pandemic, whenever we would do maps showing prevalence of chronic disease – so like obesity, diabetes, smoking, etc, – the same parts of town would also show up as having some of the worst health statistics,” Bridger said. “And so, what I think we are seeing here is this unfortunate collision between the COVID pandemic and this decades-long chronic health crisis in those parts of the city.”
There’s a higher proportion of uninsured people in these areas, too, Bridger said.
“So when you don’t have health insurance, you’re going to put off going to the hospital as long as you possibly can because you’re not sure how you’re going to be able to pay for that bill,” Bridger said.
As for the overall prevalence of the disease, Argumedo thinks it relates to how the community is set up.
“Houses tend to be smaller, tighter spaces. And then you have multigenerational families living in those small homes,” he said.
“You’ll have a younger adult who may have to go to work. They may spread it – obtain it through there, come home. Grandma gets infected, and then the rest of the household gets infected.”