In Long Beach, Dr. Visal Nga pulls out his Khmer to speak to Cambodian patients about the virus he suspects is striking them harder than other Asians.
Most are refugees like him who left behind a country riven by genocide. But post-traumatic stress disorder followed many of them to Long Beach — home to the most Cambodians outside of Cambodia. So did the familiar gnaw of poverty, and new problems — high rates of diabetes and hypertension — all factors linked to the worst outcomes for COVID-19 patients.
This is not to mention, Nga said, that many Cambodian Americans face heightened exposure to the virus from holding service jobs and living in large, multi-generational households.