New data shows Covid-19 infection rates are increasingly affecting poor and mostly minority communities, while the number of cases has risen more slowly in wealthier, mostly white areas, and the gap is continuing to grow.
A Los Angeles Times analysis finds Infection rates across South and Central Los Angeles and the Eastside have increased sharply and now lead all regions in the county, exceeding 600 infections per 100,000 people.
Poorer areas including Pico-Union and Westlake in Central L.A. and Vermont Square in South L.A. reported low infection rates in early April but now rank among the top 10 communities out of more than 300 countywide. The Times compared neighborhoods in which more than 25% of the population was living below the poverty line — defined by the Census Bureau as a family of four making less than $26,000 a year — with those in which the poverty rate was lower than 5%.
The shift shows the surge feared by public health officials did come to pass but was largely concentrated in the poorest, most crowded neighborhoods — areas with a lot of essential workers, more crowded housing and higher rates of underlying health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.
Early in the outbreak, health officials and experts warned that numbers showing higher infection rates on the Westside in predominately white, affluent neighborhoods such as Bel-Air, Beverly Crest and Brentwood were skewed by uneven testing that masked the true spread of COVID-19. Those areas have seen their fortunes improve after months of social distancing and economic disruption.
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