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American Indians are 3.3 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19

"It's having a very scary toll. A lot of new cases yesterday. They get it twice as often than the privileged Caucasian community," said Dr. Baker.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego American Indian Health Center's Medical Director Jonathan Baker said the American Indian population in San Diego continues to be hit hard by the COVID-19 virus. 

"It's having a very scary toll. A lot of new cases yesterday as the whole county is experiencing. They get it twice as often than the privileged Caucasian community," said Dr. Baker. 

And the reason behind this is because he says it, "hits hard in people of color for many reasons: economic, not good access to income or housing or access to medical care. People of color don’t see the doctor as much as rich white people. They are almost set up to become victims of viral disease. Their stress is higher which includes economic stress and trauma," said Dr. Baker. 

In fact, a recent poll by NPR says 74% of American Indians struggle with depression and stress and that Native American communities in the United States have higher rates of infection and are 3.3 times more likely to be hospitalized. 

"If it's early stages, treat it with Tylenol and Motrin. Vaccinate. Stay safe. Take care of self at home. Get in touch with a doctor as fast as you can," said Baker. 

This week, he says he has been doing telemedicine for patients to prevent the spread to healthcare workers. He has advice to stay healthy in 2022. 

"More isolation. Go back to where we started in 2020: isolation, avoiding indoor spaces. We need to make this better," said Dr. Baker. 

Dr. Baker says luckily American Indians in San Diego have seen little to no cases of Flurona, a new term for the combination of the flu and coronavirus.

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