I Think There’s Under Counting of Covid-19

I took my friend to county general hospital because she had covid-19 symptoms. It looked like covid-19, but they would not give a test. She already had an appointment to get tested at a center tomorrow.

They’re rationing tests, saving them for more serious cases.

What the fuck?

Imagine if someone walked in and was told they wouldn’t be given the test. Most people will go get the test, but I’m pretty sure some people, without cars, would not get tested. They could get sick, and even die, and would not be part of the covid-19 counts.

I think there’s undercounting of covid-19 in the underinsured communities. (There may also be undercounting in insured communities!)

I wouldn’t be surprised if Boyle Heights has a lot of cases.

Early Surges of Cases in Brentwood

Early in the local epidemic, a lot of cases were showing up in Brentwood, an affluent community in the west side of Los Angeles. Needless to say, it’s got lots of white people.

The pattern continued, with cases showing up in the westside.

People in the eastside Facebook groups were saying it was because they got more testing. I think they were on to something.

Asians Dying, Not Showing Up in Counts

I look at the Los Angeles County stats, and I noticed that the share of deaths for Asians is 18%, so far.

It’s possible there’s more travel with Asia, so, you know, you get infections. The weird thing is the Asian communities in LA County keep showing low numbers of cases.

Looking at the April 18 stats for this page, I plucked out a bunch of cities and neighborhoods known for having Asian people. http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/locations.htm

The median value for the rate is around 115.

City, Rate per 100k
Artesia, 59
Covina, 116
Diamond Bar, 38
Gardena, 151
Torrance, 121
Monterey Park, 61
Norwalk, 86
Rosemead, 28
San Gabriel, 36
San Marino, 60
Temple City, 65
Walnut, 49
Chinatown, blank (probably in with Lincoln Heights)
Lincoln Heights, 73
Little Bangladesh, 137
Koreatown, 119
Eagle Rock, 131
Echo Park, 70
Northeast San Gabriel, 29
South San Gabriel, 79

Most of these cities fall into the lower part of the distribution.

The only pattern I see is that the numbers rise as you go westward.

Asians make up 14% of the LA County population, but are 19% of the deaths. Many if not most cities with many Asians report a lower density of cases than the median.

It’s been like this from the first report with a racial breakdown. Initially, I thought this was due to mask-wearing. (It was true – many Asian people were wearing masks in February, a month before LA County started to recommend mask-wearing.)

However, given the larger percentage of deaths, I wonder if it’s due to undercounting due to a lack of insurance, because AAPI communities, at least in LA, tend to lack health insurance through work. Many people work for small businesses that don’t provide group healthcare.





Leave a Reply