Comorbidities increase the risk of death for patients with COVID-19, however, little is known about how comorbidities affect immigrants, as well as their prognosis in the case of contracting the virus. Therefore, this article aims to determine which comorbidities are associated with the probability of death among immigrants in Mexico.
We use a sample of migrants (N = 3,567) registered in the public database published in the National Epidemiological Surveillance System of the Mexican Ministry of Health; the technique used was a Probit regression.
The results show that comorbidities commonly associated with death from COVID-19, are not significant when present in immigrants, also, migrants have fewer comorbidities than the native born. These findings could be explained by the Healthy Immigrant Effect, which states that migration is a self-selection process, in which those who migrate are the healthiest. However, the cases of migrants who have died from COVID-19 are related to the time they have taken to go to hospitals and to problems of access to health care.
The immigrant populations (especially those in transit and refugees) do pose certain challenges to public policies in the countries of destination, so specific measures need to be taken in order to protect immigrant communities from the spread of the virus. It is important to improve the conditions during the migratory journey, avoiding overcrowding, as well as testing in various places (shelters, immigration controls, among others) in order to determine the levels of positivity in this group. However, the detection of more cases of COVID-19 among immigrants, should not equal to the denial for entry. Formal mechanisms should be put into place to guarantee the right to asylum and non-refoulement, even for migrants who test positive for the virus.