Filipino Americans make up 30% of COVID-19 deaths in US nurses

Filipino and Filipino American nurses are dying from COVID-19 at disproportionately high rates, accounting for more than 30 percent of the 205 U.S. nurses who have died, though the group makes up just 4 percent of the total nurse workforce, reports The Mercury News. 

In California, where about 20 percent of nurses identify as Filipino, they account for nearly 70 percent (11 of the 16) COVID-19 deaths, according to the California Nurses Association.

Filipino American nurses are more likely to work in higher-risk roles within hospital systems, such as the intensive care unit, emergency medicine or telemetry units, where high-risk patients are under constant electronic monitoring — putting them directly in the path of COVID-19, said Catherine Ceniza Choy, PhD, a professor of ethnic studies at University of California, Berkeley.

"Filipino nurses, here specifically in the U.S., are concentrated specifically in inpatient critical care services," Dr. Ceniza Choy said. "Many of them are also caregivers at home, not only of children, but also their parents and other elders. And so part of the problem with the pandemic is these multiple layers of vulnerability and exposure."

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