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  • By Johanna Salinas

Micronesians, Filipinos identified as 'high risk' ethnic groups

Dr Annette David

Dr. Annette David

Among Guam’s ethnic groups, Micronesians and Filipinos have the highest number of Covid-19 infections and mortality rates, said Dr. Annette David, a consultant for the Guam Department of Health and Social Services.

David shared data on how the virus affects Guam’s ethnic groups during a press conference Thursday.

More than ethnicity, David said the widespread infection among these groups is caused by social and environmental factors such as the housing situation.

“There are social and environmental determinants that put some of our groups in a higher risk that others,” David said. “For our Chuukese and our Micronesian neighbors, it may be because they have a higher prevalence of underlying risk factors.”

She also identified the working environment as a possible factor.

“They may also be working more in essential businesses that expose them to the virus. If they live in multifamily homes, that high density may be facilitating the transmission,” David said.

For the Caucasian population, David said the high rate of infection may be caused either lack of access to PPEs or “they may not be as compliant with preventative measures.”

Nevertheless, she said Caucasians have a high recovery rate and low mortality rate.

David speculated that the infected Caucasian group may be “healthier and younger because they’re not dying as much.”

David hypothesized that socioeconomic inequity is taking place during the pandemic.

“The likelihood of dying we see that this was highest among Chuukese and Micronesians and also Filipinos,” said David.

She acknowledged that a combination of comorbidities and socioeconomics effect ones’ illness.

“The access to healthcare is very critical. They could be afraid to go and see their physicians because of the high rate of Covid-19," David said. "Therefore, their chronic medical care isn’t being optimally managed. One thing we have to think of is many people lost their jobs, therefore, may have lost access to health insurance. These are factors we have to consider when we look at data.”

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