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Doctors theorize impoverished cities may have higher rates of COVID-19 infections

Posted at 7:02 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 20:02:40-04

WACO, TX — Physicians are theorizing cities with higher rates of poverty may have increased numbers of COVID-19 infections.

25 News spoke with Prathit Kulkarni, M.D.and Assistant Professor of Medicine in Infectious Diseases at Baylor College of Medicine, who explained it may be due to lack of available resources.

"Why those areas, in some instances, are more susceptible to the spread of infectious diseases is because sometimes in those areas, access to healthcare, access to testing, and in some occasions, access to do social distancing, might be difficult,“ explained Dr. Kulkarni.

According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, three Central Texas cities, Temple, Bryan and Waco sit far above Texas' state poverty average of 14.9%. Temple has a 17.1% poverty rate. Bryan's poverty rate is 22.6%. Waco has a poverty rate of 26.8%.

Dr. Kulkarni explains the most important action the public can take is precautions to flatten the curve.

"In my mind, the most important thing that we can think about is how you flatten that curve. Now I know that that’s a commonly used phrase in recent times, but I think it’s very important and very relevant,“ said Dr. Kulkarni.

With the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimating COVID-19 will cause 6,000 deaths across the state by August, Dr. Kulkarni explains our best bet is following structured social distancing, along with the CDC and WHO standard guidelines.

"Employing concepts of social distancing, that is maintaining a distance of as much as possible of 3 to 6 feet away from other people in our daily interactions, avoiding large groups of people, if possible, avoiding crowds, potentially teleworking from home if possible, avoiding contact with other ill persons to the greatest extent possible," Dr. Kulkarni said. "Also if you’re feeling sick, then the advice is to call your healthcare provider by phone in order to get some advice about what to do and potentially to get testing for coronavirus. In addition other important concepts of prevention are frequent hand hygiene and hand washing as well."