California's Filipino American Nurses Bear Disproportionate COVID-19 Risks

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COVENTRY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 8: Filipina nurse May Parsons prepares Margaret Keenan, 90, to be the first patient in the United Kingdom to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech covid-19 vaccine. (Jacob King - Pool / Getty Images)

Filipino Americans make up about four percent of the nation's nursing workforce but account for more than 30 percent of its COVID-related deaths, according to data compiled by National Nurses United. In California, as in other states, Filipino American nurses are more likely to work in ICUs and bedside settings, which in part explains the staggering disparity. But other factors are at work too, including a legacy of discrimination against migrant nurses. We'll talk about the outsized toll the pandemic is taking on the state's Filipino American nurses and what we can do to address it.


Zenei Cortez, registered nurse, Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco Medical Center; co-president, National Nurses United

Catherine Ceniza Choy, professor in the department of ethnic studies, UC Berkeley; author of "Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History"