City officials in Boston are concerned that many Asian American residents may not be getting tested for the new coronavirus.
Boston’s Chinatown zip code, where half the residents are of Asian descent, is one of city neighborhoods with the lowest percentage of positive coronavirus cases, Marty Martinez, the city’s chief of Health and Human Services told the Boston Globe. Only 13% of those tested were positive, compared to the citywide cumulative percentage of 26%.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make up just less than 10% of Boston’s population but account for only 4% of confirmed COVID-19 cases and 6% of deaths, according the newspaper. At the same time, black residents, who comprise 25% of the city’s population, account for 38% of COVID-19 infections and 35% of deaths, in cases where the race and ethnicity is known. Latinos make up nearly 20% of the Boston population and account for 25% of cases and 11% of deaths.
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Paul Watanabe, a political science professor and director of the Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston who is on the mayor’s COVID-19 Health Inequities Task Force, thinks the numbers, though incomplete, show a low level of testing among Boston’s Asian American population. The percentage of deaths may indicate that those Asian Americans with COVID-19 are getting tested late.
“It suggests people might be contracting the illness, unknown that they got it, and going straight to death... without having their situation diagnosed through a positive test or being dealt with, more importantly,” Watanabe said.
On Saturday, activists who say Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is moving too slowly to restart the state economy held a rally in front of the Statehouse.
The group calling itself Super Happy Fun America said Baker should open up the state completely, even as Massachusetts continues to record hundreds of new coronavirus cases daily. Super Happy Fun America was the group that organized a “straight pride” parade in Boston last year.
Baker is taking a phased-in approach to reopening the economy and is set to outline more details of the second phase of reopening on Monday.
On Saturday, the state reported that the number of individuals diagnosed with confirmed cases of COVID-19 topped 96,300 as the state reported more than 789 new cases. The overall number of confirmed COVID-19-related deaths since the start of the coronavirus pandemic climbed to 6,768 as another 50 deaths were reported.