More answers to your COVID-19 questions

ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton discussed the reason for the disproportionate number of people in minority communities who are getting sick.
3:15 | 07/06/20

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Transcript for More answers to your COVID-19 questions
We're back now with Dr. Ashton with answers to the questions you've been asking about the pandemic. There's never been a shortage of them, Dr. Jen. We'll begin with the first one, why is this a disproportionate amount of people getting sick in minority communities? There are multiple answers. It's a complex and complicated issue. I think medically, let's start with the fact that we know that people in black and brown communities and populations are at higher risk of pre-existing conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Also risk factors for severe covid-19 infection. Also possibly less likely to have good access to healthcare and covid testing, which of course is a massive problem at baseline. And more importantly, they're at higher exposure based on type of jobs that a lot of people in this population have, the essential workers, public transit, food services, I mean you name it, and so that's a major problem. In medicine when we identify risk factors the next step really it should be immediate is aggressively to target, lower those risk factors. Increase testing and die know ses and prevention. Now, we've been talking a lot about the rising coronavirus cases, this next question though is an interesting one, has the death rate actually dropped as some reports are indicating? This is really important and I want people when they look at this, because we have said from the beginning you have to take these numbers with a chunk of salt not a grain of salt. When you look at the death rate -- understand a lot goes into that calculation. Three main theories at this time, they're lower, number one, younger patient population being infected. Maybe the silver lining in that they tend to be at lower risk of death, doesn't mean zero risk but lower risk. Secondly, we've learned a lot more in very quick time about how to take care of these patients, clinically, so the medical care, the clinical care has definitely improved in real time very rapidly. Then unfortunately, there's a lag time between when people are exposed to when those cases are confirmed and unfortunately, deaths can lag, two, four, six weeks later. Next question, does high risk refer to the risk of contracting covid-19 or the risk of severe complications if you do contract it, or both? Both. Really insightful and important because as people are learning to stratify their own risk, I'm getting this question all the time. High risk individual means you have one of the many pre-existing medical conditions that weaken your immune system. Things like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, age, being a man, all of those things put you at higher risk. Then there's your circumstances, so being in a packed bar, higher risk than being on a mountain by yourself. There's high-risk situations and high-risk individuals. It's about putting them both together to figure out what your individual risk is. All right, Dr. Jen, as always, thank you so much. You can submit your questions to Dr. Jen on her Instagram @drjashton. We're going shift gears now

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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