Latinos Have Higher Rates of COVID-19 Because of ‘More Physical Affection’? Push-Back Against Dr. Wooten’s Claims

by on June 18, 2020 · 2 comments

in Health, San Diego

There’s been some push-back against San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten’s assertion about why Latinos have a higher rate of infection from the COVID-19 virus.

The head of the Chicano Federation of San Diego County, Nancy Maldonado, takes Wooten to task for her “simplistic explanation” of the impact of the virus on the Latino community.

On Wednesday at a press briefing, Wooten discussed the issues that could trigger county officials to reconsider the loosening up of the restrictions that have been in place due to the pandemic.

Wooten also reported that the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths have been disproportionately high in the Latino community. Wooten was not quoted directly but the SD Union-Tribune reporters put it this way:

Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said there are multiple reasons why the virus is having a more severe impact on the Latino community, including the presence of more underlying medical conditions and a tendency to show more physical affection. (OBRag emphasis.)

Latinos also may be more vulnerable because they often are front-line or essential workers and live in multi-generational and more-crowded households.

That was unsettleing to Nancy Maldonado over at the Chicano Federation. In a statement she made, Maldonado called this a “serious failure” to link the infection rates to “the historical disadvantages” that Latinos have faced in San Diego County. Here is Maldonado’s full statement:

Currently the Coronavirus is disproportionately affecting South San Diego Latinos. Analysis by researchers at UC San Diego has revealed that the high rate of infection can be linked to social and economic disparities and a system that has set up Latinos to be at the forefront of exposure and higher risk.

To state that the high rate of infection is linked to physical affection is a serious failure to acknowledge and address the significant link between COVID-19 infection and the historical disadvantages that have plagued Latinos in this county, including lack of access to healthcare and affordable housing.

We reject Dr. Wooten’s simplistic explanation of a pandemic that is destroying the lives of Latinos in San Diego and urge our Public Health Officer to instead act on available data to come up with a systemic and systematic solution to this national health crisis.

From the U-T:

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis of 1.3 million cases over five months this year found that Latinos represent about 18 percent of the nation’s population and made up 33 percent of patients in the study.

In San Diego County, Latinos represent 32 percent of the population and represent 67 percent of COVID-19 case; County data also shows Latinos represented 43 percent of the 327 COVID-19 deaths in the county.

Nationally, Blacks represent 13 percent of the population and made up 22 percent of patients in the study. In San Diego County, Blacks represent 4.6 percent of the population and represent about 4 percent of the cases.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Keith M June 18, 2020 at 3:49 pm

Dr Wooten lost all credibility with me in March, when she was asked about nail salons and hair salons:

“At a news conference the next day, a reporter asked Wooten to explain whether hair and nail salons should remain open, because some had decided to do so. Wooten said those businesses ‘might be considered essential’ and wouldn’t have to shut down if workers maintained social distance and wore face coverings.

” ‘If you get a pedicure, the person is at your feet — that’s about six feet,’ Wooten said. ‘If you get a manicure, you are across from a table. That might not be exactly six feet, but many of the operators are wearing masks.’ ”

“Wooten’s answer didn’t align with guidance from the CDC, which has said proper social distancing entails six feet of physical distance.

“Touching someone’s feet or hands for extended periods of time, like a manicure-pedicure that could last an hour or more, could actually fall into the category of ‘close contact,’ which the CDC defines as being less than six feet away from someone for a ‘prolonged period of time.’ ”

The CDC has said that close contact is the main way the coronavirus is spreading.


sealintheSelkirks June 19, 2020 at 3:42 am

Reality is going to hit really, REALLY hard. Listen to what this doc has to say and weep:

‘We’ve Only Delayed the Day of Reckoning’: ‘BradCast’ 6/16/2020

Guest: Univ. of Arizona infectious disease epidemiologist Dr. Purnima Madhivana on AZ’s ‘crisis mode’ surge in COVID cases, state officials’ deadly denial since prematurely reopening, and ‘believing in science’…

Stay home, wear a mask, or continue to act exactly like the ignorant peasant people who couldn’t read did during the Black Plague years of Medieval Europe. And suffer the consequences. Gee, and I thought we were all so much more ‘intelligent’ and ‘based in science’ because, you know, we’re MODERN people not like those barbarians…I mean, we landed on the moon once…



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