What We Know And Still Don't Know About Who Is Being Killed By Coronavirus In LA

Signage at a COVID-19 testing site. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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Across the country, African Americans and Latinos are dying at higher rates of COVID-19 than their white neighbors. This is also true for L.A.'s black community and other communities of color.

But it's not for L.A. County's Latino community in general. At least, not from the county data we have so far.

Why? It's a bit of a mystery.

Data from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health — which covers L.A. County excluding Long Beach and Pasadena — shows that 38% of COVID-19 victims thus far were Latino.

That's compared with Latinos' 49% share of the county's overall population.

However, all of the L.A. County residents who have died so far are adults: There have been no confirmed local deaths so far of juveniles under 18 from COVID-19, according to a county public health department spokesperson.

So we compared L.A. County's reported death rate for COVID-19 victims by race and ethnicity to each group's adult-only population in the county, wondering if disaggregating kids from the mix made a difference.

For Latinos, the gap narrows slightly when you don't count kids, which is not surprising given that Latinos skew younger: Latino children make up more than half the county's under-18 population. Still, Latinos remain underrepresented in the county's coronavirus death toll even when excluding children: they make up 38% of those known to have died while accounting for 45% of the adult population. But the share of Latino COVID-19 victims continues to grow, and concerns remain about cases going unreported.

Not much changes for black adults: They are still the group being hit the hardest, making up 13% of L.A. County residents who've succumbed to COVID-19, but just 8% of the county's adult population — which is the same as their share of the county's general population.

The same goes for Asian adults: They remain slightly overrepresented, making up 18% of the county's COVID-19 fatalities while Asian adults make up only 16% of the county's over-18 population. (They make up 15% of the county's general population.)

As for white adults: They represent 28% of county residents known to have died from COVID-19, on par with their 29% share of the adult population. (Their share of the general population including kids is a bit lower — 26% — since white Angelenos skew older.)

And as we've reported, in spite of their small numbers in L.A. County, Native Hawaiian/Pacific islander residents are dying at a rate that far surpasses their tiny share of the population.

It's not yet possible to do a comprehensive age-group-by-race breakdown of COVID-19 victims in Los Angeles, because the county, unlike the state, hasn't disaggregated the data in that manner. State figures show that younger adult black and Latino Californians are dying of the virus at elevated rates.

And as the county continues to report, those living in poor communities have the highest rates of death, as compared with other socioeconomic groups.

Dana Amihere contributed to this report.