On March 10, Loretta Mendoza Dionisio became the first person in Los Angeles County known to have died of COVID-19.
Dionisio was 68, had diabetes and had just returned from a trip to her native Philippines. That made her a precursor of the coming pandemic in more ways than one.
For a variety of reasons, Filipino Americans have been hit hard by the novel coronavirus. People with roots in the Philippines account for about one-quarter of the Asian Americans in California, yet data compiled by The Times show that Filipino Americans account for at least 35% of COVID-19 deaths in the state’s Asian population.
Of 48 Filipino Americans known to have been infected with COVID-19 in Southern California, 19 have died, according to the Philippine Consulate General of Los Angeles. Although the data may be skewed by a small sample size, this puts Filipino Americans at a 40% mortality rate, significantly higher than the overall 3.7% mortality rate in the U.S., according to research by Johns Hopkins.
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