Dr. Carlos Oronce, an Advanced Health Services Research Fellow at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, discusses the challenges of COVID-19 being exacerbated by a lack of good data; Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer for the Louisiana...
Dr. Carlos Oronce, an Advanced Health Services Research Fellow at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, discusses the challenges of COVID-19 being exacerbated by a lack of good data; Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer for the Louisiana Department of Health, says health departments in southern states are on the lookout for West Nile Virus; and ASTHO’s Health Equity Summit 2022 is set for Wednesday, July 27th
This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Tuesday, July 19th, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.
Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
Since the start of April and up until very recently, like last week, we've noticed that Asian Americans have experienced the highest case rates for COVID-19. And that was the first time in the course of the pandemic that we've seen that.
Dr. Carlos Oronce, a primary care physician in Los Angeles and president-elect of the Filipinx/a/o Community Health Association. He says missing data is a big part of the problem.
Because of things like language barriers, assumptions from the healthcare system or by public health workers about racial identity, or simply just not taking the effort to ask, Asian Americans are actually under-counted in our surveillance systems and within healthcare.
Oronce says the other challenge is having the right data.
And what we mean by that is having data specific for each of the ethnic groups that make up the Asian American umbrella and collecting data that aggregates everyone. "Asian American" really kind of treats the population is a large monolith, but we know that isn't true. And because of historical circumstances that shape immigration and exposure to certain social determines of health, there's a large variation in health outcomes within the communities.
Oronce reminds us data collection storage and dissemination are impacted by social and political factors, but he says the process needs to be impartial and objective.
So, we have to ask why we're not collecting certain data. And we can't simply say that it's too difficult, it's too hard. We've seen from community organizations and some healthcare systems that have partnered and sought feedback from communities that, you know, complete, accurate, and ethically collected race and ethnicity data in public health is feasible.
Public health departments in Southern states are on the lookout for West Nile Virus.
Louisiana State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter says his team has recorded much higher rates of the virus in mosquito pools this season and recently logged the first case of human infection. He's asking people to eliminate every puddle of water they can, no matter the size.
These are container mosquitoes, which means that they breed in small amounts of standing water. Any container around the house—a water bottle, a sauce, or a planter, even an item as small as an overturned bottle cap—can have enough water in it to host a mosquito breeding ground.
Kanter understands people are tired of public health messages, but he says it's easy for them to be part of the solution.
I think at this point, particularly after two and a half years of pandemic, people are tired. And they're also wary of mandates and obligations and those sorts of issues. This is none of that. This is a manageable disease with a vector population that families can really make a difference in controlling, and not all of our diseases are like that where people actually have agency in it. Families do have agency here, and I think there's power communicating it that way.
Finally today, ASTHO's Health Equity Summit 2022 is next week. The forum is set for Wednesday, July 27th. The agenda includes discussions about public health infrastructure and the current financing system in a health equity context. You can sign up using the link in the show notes.
That'll do it for today's newscast. We're back tomorrow morning with more ASTHO news and information.
I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great day.