June 25, 2022 – Key drivers for the decline were COVID-19 and overdose deaths.

The data vary by demographic group. COVID-19 was the leading cause of death among Hispanics, as well as non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islanders and American Indian/Native Alaskans, the data show.

Dr. Lilia Cervantes, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said she wasn’t surprised by the new numbers.

“The Latino community makes up the majority of the essential workforce,” said Cervantes, who is a member of the Colorado Vaccine Equity Taskforce. “During COVID, they’ve been the least protected. They’ve not been able to avoid public transportation. They’ve had to continue working sometimes even while ill and are the least likely to have healthcare coverage.”

Vaccination rates for Hispanics, the term used in state and federal health studies, lag other groups, both in Colorado and nationally. 

The data mirror national trends.

American Indians and Alaska Natives faced similar population-level health challenges. Both communities entered the pandemic with “longstanding pre-existing health disparities that made them especially vulnerable to more severe COVID illness and death,” said Michelle Sarche, a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor in the Centers for American Indian & Alaska Native Health and Department of Community & Behavioral Health at the Colorado School of Public Health.


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