As a nutritionist, perhaps I’m more acutely aware than most of the often overblown claims made for ‘brain boosting’ foods and supplements. Take oily fish: fantastic, tasty, super-healthy, it almost goes without saying. But browse online and you’ll find no end of articles claiming that eating salmon, mackerel and sardines helps ‘support brain function’ amid other claims.
Sounds great. Problem is, there’s no good evidence for it. In fact, last year a study of more than 8,000 adults revealed that the amount of oily fish consumed throughout a person’s lifetime made no difference to their chances of developing dementia.
Blueberries, dark chocolate and even coffee are also often cited without any real evidence. Don’t even get me started on goji berries.
The truth is, there’s no one magic nutritional bullet, or way to ‘eat to beat’ dementia. It’s just not that simple – and I only wish it were.
Popular in countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy, the Mediterranean diet includes small amounts of non-fatty meat, poultry and fish, along with wholegrains and unsaturated fats
Tech spots first sign of disease
Scientists are investigating whether Fitbits, phones and smart watches could soon be used to pick up subtle signs of dementia years before symptoms show.
It is currently diagnosed using memory tests and brain scans, but only once symptoms have appeared. Also, many trials of treatments fail because they are tested on people whose disease is too far advanced, after they have suffered significant damage to their brain. Experts hope by picking it up earlier, measures could be taken to prevent decline.
Researchers are now testing whether the gadgets could be used to analyse the owner’s behaviour, such as their sleep and speech patterns and walking gait, and that if certain things start to change in tiny ways the user could not possibly notice themselves it may be a sign they are at risk of developing dementia.
The landmark study, called Early Detection of Neurodegenerative Diseases (EDoN), will analyse these normally imperceptible changes – such as how quickly people type text messages and emails – among those who then go on to develop dementia.
Professor Carol Routledge, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, who is spearheading the project, said: ‘The stage you want to detect these diseases is ten or even 20 years earlier than we do today, before it’s too late. If we could, with these new and emerging technologies, we could intervene with lifestyle advice, or therapeutic drugs.’
Last week, a major study suggested a blood test could be used to spot Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia, years before symptoms start. The test looks for traces of tell-tale proteins in the blood that might indicate a person is at risk.
That’s not to say, however, that diet doesn’t play an integral role in brain health. As we’ve learned, metabolic diseases – such as heart disease and diabetes – are responsible for the lion’s share of dementia cases in the UK. It’s hardly surprising, then, that diets proven in multiple scientific studies to reduce the risk of such conditions, also benefit the brain.
We’re talking about the Mediterranean diet – long recognised to halt the development of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and, also, dementia.
Popular in countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy, it includes small amounts of non-fatty meat, poultry and fish, along with wholegrains like brown rice and wholemeal bread and unsaturated fats like nuts and olive oil, and plenty of fruit and veg.
Studies have found the rates of dementia in participants who ate this way are up to 40 per cent lower than those who do not.
Interestingly, eating this way seems to have more impact on brain health than a traditional weight-loss diet. A ground-breaking study from 2013 – the Predimed study – found that overweight individuals prescribed a Mediterranean diet that included olive oil and nuts every day for six years were less likely to develop dementia than those on low-fat plans.
And Swedish research involving more than 2,000 healthy over-60s found that sticking to this type of diet was linked to a slower rate of cognitive decline and thinking skills.
Some scientists believe the healthy fats abundant in the Mediterranean diet, found in nuts, fish, olive oil and some meat, may reduce the inflammatory molecules in the brain that affect our ability to process information.
But the simple fact is that eating lots of veg, fruit, wholegrains and lean protein fills you up, helping portion control and reducing the risk of obesity, which is one of the biggest risk factors for poor heart health, diabetes and, therefore, dementia.
High blood pressure is another leading trigger of dementia – it damages the tiny blood vessels that provide oxygen to the brain.
One in four Britons suffer from it and according to Government figures, 80 per cent of cases are caused by lifestyle habits, including diet.
Most Britons know the link between salt intake and high blood pressure, yet we still eat on average, half a teaspoon more than our recommended daily limit. Too much salt in the bloodstream can lead to a build-up of excess fluid, increasing strain on blood vessels which leads to rising blood pressure.
Some scientists believe the healthy fats abundant in the Mediterranean diet, found in nuts, fish, olive oil and some meat, may reduce the inflammatory molecules in the brain (file photo)
So, what IS the truth about oily fish?
Omega-3 helps brain cells to communicate and protects them from damage
It’s true that diets high in oily fish, such as tuna, salmon and mackerel, are associated with a reduced risk of a host of diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and – up to a point – dementia.
Indeed, the NHS recommends that we all eat at least one portion of oily fish a week.
But is it really ‘brain food’, as its vocal supporters claim?
A type of fat called omega-3, which is abundant in the cells of oily fish but which is also produced by our bodies, help our brain cells to communicate and protects them from damage.
Omega-3 has long been proven to be important for cognitive development and memory in adults. But the evidence showing that regularly eating oily fish prevents dementia remains weak.
Some research has shown that people who eat lots of oily fish are less likely to get dementia, but other studies show the opposite.
And research has not yet been able to show that eating more oily fish increases the amount of omega-3 in the brain enough to boost cognition.
Experts believe the association between diets that are high in oily fish and reduced dementia risk may instead be due to the fact that those who eat fish-heavy diets are generally healthier.
As for taking regular omega-3 supplements, large-scale reviews have shown that the benefits are minimal, not just for dementia but also for the prevention of cancer and heart disease.
While most excess salt can be easily avoided by reducing intake of packaged pizzas and smoked meats, some Mediterranean-style foods may counter the effect of salt, too.
Vegetables that are high in potassium, such as sweet potatoes, peas and broccoli, can help to restore the fluid balance in the bloodstream, keeping blood pressure stable.
Now researchers are studying an eating plan that combines a Mediterranean and a blood-pressure reducing diet – low in salt, red meat and sugar – designed especially to target brain health.
Studies have shown the plan – Mediterranean-Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet, or MIND diet, for short – reduced the risk of developing the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and slowed cognitive decline. The American scientists identified a list of 15 of the most crucial dietary habits to adopt, which are detailed in the panel on the right. Those who ate plenty of leafy green vegetables and some types of berries had particularly low risk.
Another healthy habit, surprisingly, is drinking alcohol – but not too much of it. The US scientists found that a small glass of wine most nights was harmless and may even be beneficial.
It’s not fully understood why this is, but some studies suggest that a small quantity can prevent stickiness in the blood that supplies the brain, while red wine contains antioxidants linked to brain health.
And what about carbohydrates, which are often given a bad rap?
It’s true, high blood sugar levels – as seen in those with type 2 diabetes – are linked strongly to dementia. But problems may start earlier than once thought, with even slightly raised blood sugar – not yet in the diabetic range and dubbed prediabetes – being linked to increased heart and brain disease risk.
But despite popular beliefs, it isn’t necessary to drastically cut carbohydrates to achieve a healthy blood sugar level. In fact, it could be a bad idea. ‘It’s wrong to focus solely on carbs as the culprit, when regular exercise and weight loss actually have a bigger impact in the long term,’ explains Dr Lisa Gatenby, a registered nutritionist specialising in brain injuries.
Although low-carb diets do lead to weight loss in the short term, in the long term they’re no better than other diets, such as low-fat or low-calorie plans.
‘Cutting out foods such as wholewheat bread and pasta and oats could be detrimental to brain health, as wholegrains are recommended as part of both a heart health and inflammation-dampening diet that is also dementia-friendly,’ adds Dr Gatenby.
Not only does fibre reduce the risk of bowel cancer, by helping digested food move through and out of the body, it has also been proven to help prevent fatty deposits building up in the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. It also keeps blood pressure steady, which provides a better supply of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
Wholegrains like brown rice and wholemeal bread are included in the Mediterranean diet. Another healthy habit, surprisingly, is drinking alcohol – but not too much of it (file photo)
What’s the difference… between Alzheimer’s disease and frontal variant Alzheimer’s disease?
The key difference between the two forms lies with the parts of the brain affected in early stages.
In frontal variant Alzheimer’s disease, which affects roughly one in 50 sufferers, the frontal lobes – responsible for personality and habitual tasks – are damaged, so the patient may act aggressively or inappropriately, and may struggle with simple tasks such as making a cup of tea. Memory loss appears far later.
In Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for the majority of cases, the frontal lobes are affected late on, and the first symptoms are memory loss.
It is, however, sensible to keep an eye on sugar intake, says Dr Gatenby. ‘Public Health England recommends keeping your intake of “free” sugars – added sugars and those found in syrups, honey and fruit juice – to 30g, or about seven teaspoons a day, but there’s no evidence that cutting out sugar completely has specific dementia protective properties. It’s the overall balance of your diet that matters and variety is key to health, so the odd sweet treat isn’t going to hurt.’
So now you know the crucial elements of a brain-boosting diet, but how do you put it into practice?
Thankfully, we’ve done the hard work for you, by creating a tempting selection of simple recipes – all perfect examples of the science-backed principles listed above.
On the following seven pages you’ll find hearty breakfasts – both sweet and savoury – tasty lunches packed with vegetables and delicious, heart-friendly suppers, prepared in a flash. There are puddings, of course, and even indulgent ice cream – at a far lower calorie cost than your favourite shop-bought brand. Each meal has been crafted using my expert nutritional know-how, and is designed to keep your brain in the best shape for as long as possible.
Try to use them as a model, using roughly the same quantity of all the main food groups, for most of your main meals.
And while this isn’t a weight-loss diet, all of these recipes stick to a moderate calorie count designed to prevent you from piling on the pounds, and leaving room for the odd treat.
So not only will these dishes help you ward off the UK’s biggest killer, but they may help you shift at least some of that lockdown weight, too.
Are you getting your daily dose of brain food?
Do you eat berries twice a week?
US scientists have identified 15 dietary habits as crucial for reducing dementia risk. How many do you stick to? For every ‘yes’ answer, give yourself one point.
DO YOU EAT….
- Green leafy vegetables six times each week
- A vegetable serving once a day, apart from green leafy vegetables
- Berries twice a week
- Wholegrains such as brown rice, pasta and bulgar three times a day
- Red meat or processed meat products less than four times a week
Do you drink one glass of wine or other alcohol (or a glass of purple grape juice) a day?
- Fish at least once a week
- Poultry twice a week
- Pulses three times a week
- Nuts five times a week
- Fried foods less than once a week
- Mainly use olive oil for cooking
- Less than one tablespoon of butter or margarine a day
- Cheese less than once a week
- Sugary foods/desserts/pastries less than five times a week
- One glass of wine or other alcohol (or a glass of purple grape juice) a day
You don’t need a full 15 out of 15. In a study involving more than 900 participants, who were followed for nine years, an average score of 9.6 resulted in a 53 per cent reduction in Alzheimer’s risk. Those who scored 7.5 saw a 35 per cent reduction in risk.
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Coronavirus outbreak spread to 929 meat plant workers in five weeks
Meat plants in the US and abroad have been especially hard-hit by coronavirus – and an outbreak at one South Dakota facility spread like wildfire to more than 900 workers in just five weeks, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report reveals.
Dozens of meat and poultry processing plants across the US have overwhelmed by coronavirus, which is transmitted easily in confined spaces with a high density of people in them.
The South Dakota plant’s outbreak quickly exploded from a first case diagnosed in March to 929 of its 3,635 employees by April 25.
Two of those employees died of the disease that has ravaged the world.
Yet, the processing plant did not begin to close down until April 12, by which point, 369 cases had already been confirmed, a fact that has the CDC urging similar facilities to take more aggressive action as soon as a first case is identified.
An outbreak of coronavirus at a Souh Dakota meat plant exploded from one case confirmed in March to 929 employees and 210 contacts by late April, a CDC report reveals
The CDC report does not name the meat plant its report describes, but the details appear very similar to those of a Smithfield facility near Sioux Falls that was the biggest coronavirus hotspot in the US for a brief time in April.
After the South Dakota Department of Health confirmed the first case of coronavirus at the plant on March 24, the meat plant did trace the person’s contacts there and tested them.
By April 2, that process had led to the diagnosis of 19 cases of coronavirus.
Following the identification of that considerable cluster, the facility stepped up its screening, testing anyone with coronavirus-like symptoms such as cough, fever or shortness of breath.
Even that modestly increased effort in testing turned up a massive number of additional infections.
As of April 11 – just two-and-a-half weeks after the first case was identified – 369 workers at the factory had coronavirus.
Nealy 370 people at the plant had already been infected by the time it began its phased shut down on April 12, a CDC graph shows
A dozen cases had been cause to test. Hundreds were cause for closing the facility down, which it began to do on April 12.
But the closure was done in phases and much of the damage had likely been done.
By the time the CDC finished its investigation of the factory – at the request of the state’s health department – 929 people had been infected.
That represented more than a quarter of the meat processing plant’s total workforce.
According to the CDC report, an average of 67 new cases were being identified a day at the peak of the outbreak at the facility.
Unsurprisingly, the virus spread most quickly through three departments where employees could not maintain six feet of distance between them throughout their long workdays.
The infection spread fastest in departments like ‘cut’ portion of the facility where employees work less than six feet apart from one another (file)
Nearly 40 employees and nine contractors had to be hospitalized.
Two of the employees died.
Infectious disease experts believe that people who are exposed over and over again to greater loads of coronavirus are more likely to get severely ill if they contract coronavirus.
A meat plant, in that sense, is a perfect petri dish for infections, as it spreads to workers who return day after day to work shoulder-to-shoulder in the confines of the facility.
In April, meat plants like the South Dakota one were considered the driving force of coronavirus hotspots across the US.
The CDC report sheds light on how outbreaks spread beyond the walls of the factories themselves.
Of the 2,403 contacts of the meat plant workers, 210 – about 10 percent – contracted coronavirus, too, illustrating how the single facility fueled the larger community’s outbreak.
‘This large outbreak of COVID-19 among employees at a meat processing facility highlights the potential for rapid transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in these types of facilities,’ the CDC investigators wrote in their report.
‘Factors that might have contributed to infection among employees at this facility include high employee density in work and common areas, prolonged close contact between employees over the course of a shift, and substantial SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the surrounding community.’
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Menopausal women may be denied entry to airports using temperature scanners for Covid-19
Menopausal women may be unfairly denied entry to airports, pubs and restaurants if they have their temperature checked, it is feared.
Temperature detection devices — used in the fight on coronavirus — measure heat in the skin, which experts say can spike during a ‘hot flush’.
Doctors behind an app for women going through say hot flushes could be mistaken for having a fever — a tell-tale symptom of Covid-19.
Dr Ornella Cappellari, of Meg’s Menopause, said: ‘It is paramount to put in place measures which will allow menopausal women unbiased treatment when entering places such as airports because they may be experiencing a physiological reaction.’
Temperature detection devices, such as handheld forehead scanners being used in restaurants and offices, are not considered reliable for spotting coronavirus.
The gadgets are not accurate at measuring the core body temperature and only give a rough estimate, scientists say.
And some people with Covid-19 never develop a high temperature, therefore would be allowed to breeze through temperature checks despite being contagious.
Menopausal women are feared to be unfairly denied entry to airports, pubs and restaurants if they get their temperature checked by scanners. Heathrow has started trialling temperature screening of passengers (pictured)
Temperature check devices work by measuring the temperature of the skin, so in theory, would detect the changes caused by a hot flush. They do not measure the body’s core temperature. Pictured, a nurse taking a travellers temperature at Sydney Airport
Putting a thermometer into an armpit, mouth, ear or other body cavity is known to be the most accurate way to measure temperature.
It gives a reading for the body’s core temperature, which may rise in order to help fight illness. A high temperature is regarded as anything within the range of 38°C and 41°C.
Temperature scanners — including thermal imaging and temperature ‘guns’ pointed at the forehead — do not measure the body’s core temperature.
HOW DO TEMPERATURE CHECKS WORK?
Temperature checks are done with either portable ‘guns’ pointed at the forehead or with thermal imaging cameras.
Both detect heat being radiated from the skin using infrared sensors.
Thermal cameras detect heat radiating from the body using infrared technology and estimate the core temperature. They measure heat distribution across the body.
Portable devices also use infrared sensors to detect skin temperature changes, but do not provide an image. They measure temperature in one spot, usually from the head, and give a number on screen.
However, both pieces of kit can only give an idea of temperature of the skin, and not inside the body, which is what a thermometer would do.
Therefore they are not as accurate as a medical device which takes a patient’s’ temperature.
But they may have some usefulness during the Covid-19 pandemic for spotting potential sick people.
If a person is flagged as potentially having a high temperature, they may be denied entry to a venue. But this would depend on the policy of each place.
They are controversial because a temperature above the normal range does not necessarily mean someone has the coronavirus – they may be unwell with something else. And people have variations in their temperature daily and women see fluctuations through their menstrual cycle.
They can also miss Covid-19 patients who do not have the symptom of a high temperature, or not symptoms at all.
The World Health Organization says thermal camera says temperature screening ‘may not be very effective’ as a singular tool for detecting Covid-19.
Instead, they measure skin temperature which, although tends to correlate with spikes in core body temperature, can vary depending on the environment and activity.
The devices can only make an estimation of core body temperature by measuring heat radiating from the skin using infrared technology.
For this reason, Dr Cappellari fears menopausal women will be picked up if they are having a hot flush.
A hot flush — which can last for several minutes — causes the skin to heat up.
It starts when blood vessels near the skin’s surface widen in an attempt to cool the body down.
Scientists believe the process is triggered by fluctuation in hormone levels, which drastically change during the menopause.
Dr Cappellari, a former University College London researcher, said: ‘Most women experience hot flushes, which can cause a rise in skin temperature detectable by Covid-19 temperature checks.
‘The menopause is a delicate phase of transition for most women. You can sail through it very easily — or not.’
Derek Hill, a professor of medical imaging science from University College London, agreed that a thermal camera may wrongly flag a hot flush as a high temperature.
He told MailOnline: ‘Hormonal changes results in blood vessels dilating. The thermal camera might pick it up because the blood goes to the skin.’
But he insisted that it was unlikely because temperature checks often focus on the forehead — the most clearly exposed area of skin.
Hot flushes tend to centre around the chest and neck, which are often covered by clothing, Professor Hill said.
Professor Hill added that it was unlikely any action would be taken against women going through the menopause for a number of reasons, and therefore is ‘not something to worry about’.
Firstly, if they were taken aside for further investigations, a thermometer would prove they do not have a fever.
And he said a hot flush will be over quicker than the time it takes for a thermometer check to be taken. A fever, on the other hand, is prolonged.
Professor Hill added that thermal imaging cameras are not designed to look for people who potentially have a fever, and are used more traditionally in medical research.
‘They aren’t designed or tested to do this,’ he said, adding that they are not medically approved, either.
An expert in medical imagine science admitted temperature detection devices may flag women having a hot flush as a potential Covid-19 case, but would unlikely result in any action (Fiumicino airport, Italy)
MHRA SAYS TEMPERATURE SCANNERS CANNOT DIAGNOSE COVID-19
The UK medicine health regulators warned in July that thermal cameras and other such ‘temperature screening’ products, some of which make direct claims to screen for Covid-19, are not a reliable way to detect if people have the virus.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) urged for manufacturers and suppliers of thermal cameras to avoid making such claims.
There is little scientific evidence to support temperature screening as a reliable method for detection of Covid-19 or other febrile illness.
Temperature readings come from measuring skin temperature rather than core body temperature. In either case, natural fluctuations in temperature can occur among healthy individuals.
Furthermore, infected people who do not develop a fever or who do not show any symptoms would not be detected by a temperature reading and could be more likely to unknowingly spread the virus.
Graeme Tunbridge, MHRA Director of Devices, said: ‘Many thermal cameras and temperature screening products were originally designed for non-medical purposes, such as for building or site security. Businesses and organisations need to know that using these products for temperature screening could put people’s health at risk.
‘These products should only be used in line with the manufacturer’s original intended use, and not to screen people for COVID-19 symptoms.’
Health Minister Lord Bethell said: ‘As pubs and restaurants begin to reopen, it’s important businesses do not rely on temperature screening tools and other products which do not work.
‘The best way to protect customers and minimise the risk of catching the virus is to always follow social distancing guidelines, wearing a face mask on public transport and enclosed public spaces, and regularly washing your hands.’
They can produce wrong results — either a ‘false positive’, when someone is detected as having a fever when they do not — or a ‘false negative’ — when they do have coronavirus but are not detected.
It can take several days for infected patients to develop a fever, meaning they may not show up on the devices. Some never develop a fever at all.
Therefore, they could be allowed entry into places while they are infectious.
Considering the inaccuracies, Professor Hill believes it is unlikely venues will be allowed to turn people away based solely on the readings of no-contact temperature scanners.
But it cannot be ruled out that some supermarkets and workplaces may deny entry if the a person’s reading is even suggestive that they have a fever.
The medicine regulator in the UK recently stressed that temperature screening products cannot be used to diagnose Covid-19 because there is not evidence to support their use — and reminded suppliers of they should not make such claims.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said in July: ‘As pubs and restaurants begin to reopen, it’s important businesses do not rely on temperature screening tools and other products which do not work.’
Temperature scanners are now in place at some UK travel ports, including Bournemouth Airport and Portsmouth ferry port, and are being trialled elsewhere.
Heathrow is currently testing thermal imaging in terminal 2 and will feed the results to the UK government.
It says for now there will be no action against holiday-makers who are detected.
However, when the trial launched in May, John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow Airport, told BBC Radio 4’s Today the technology ‘could be part of a future common international standard to get people flying again’.
Professor Hill said there will be many people who disagree with this because thermal imaging is not a reliable measurement of body temperature.
But he added: ‘Many people would argue, and I’d be one of them, it’s not necessarily wrong to use these device this way for mass reading.
‘But you’d be much better to measure it with an infrared thermometer [one entered in the ear] with a CE mark.
‘They certainly shouldn’t be used to say if someone has a fever. But they might be useful for detecting people who need a real temperature check.’
Alex Casson, an electrical engineer at the University of Manchester, said thermal scanners are not very sensitive.
He told MailOnline: ‘They’re only accurate to around 0.5 degrees so very difficult to get precise readings.’
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Coronavirus US: Families east of Portland’s 82nd Avenue at risk
Portland neighborhoods with mostly minority families and crowded public housing have higher rates of the novel coronavirus.
Stumptown has become a tale of two cities with blacks and Hispanics living east of 82nd Avenue, also known as Cascade Highway, at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
An analysis from Willamette Week found that residents of this area were more than twice as likely to fall ill compared to those living west of 82nd.
The towns with higher rates are far from where the nightly protests have been occurring, dispelling the myth that demonstrations are causing outbreaks.
Health experts say that people of color are more likely to have a lack of healthcare access, more chronic health conditions and are work so-called ‘essential jobs,’ putting them at higher risk of exposure.
Neighborhoods east of 82nd Avenue in Portland have been seeing higher rates of coronavirus, more than double, than towns on the west side (above)
ZIP code 97233, east of 82nd, currently has a case rate of 115.7 per 10,000 people compared to ZIP code 97201, to the west, which has a rate of 21.5 COVID-19 cases per 10,000. Pictured: Cars wait in line to be tested for coronavirus in Portland, July 14
An analysis shows ZIP codes to the east of 82nd have more crowded public housing, with a population more than double many areas to the west. Pictured: Cars wait in line to be tested for coronavirus, July 14
For the analysis, Willamette Week looked at rental house density for more than 30 ZIP codes in Multnomah County, where Portland is located.
It found several ZIP codes in neighborhoods such as Fairview and Gresham had a higher percentage of overcrowded households than the average in the county.
These areas, located east of 82nd Avenue, also have a higher number of cases than some of the city’s wealthier neighborhoods.
According to data from The Oregonian, ZIP code 97233, located in Gresham, currently has a case rate of 115.7 per 10,000 people.
Meanwhile, ZIP code 97024 in Fairview has a rate of 146.4 coronavirus cases per 10,000 residents.
The Willamette Week found that this means, east of 82nd Avenue, the rate of infection is 84 cases per 10,000.
This is much higher than Multnomah’s countywide rate of 56.7 infection per 10,000 people and nearly double the rate on the other side of the avenue.
Neighborhoods located in inner Portland, west of 82nd Avenue and where more affluent families are located, had better rates.
The Oregonian data shows that ZIP code 97212, where Irvington is located, has a case rate of 18.0 per 10,000.
Additionally ZIP code 97201, which is downtown Portland has a rate of 21.5 COVID-19 cases per 10,000.
The ZIP codes west of 82nd Avenue not only have higher average household incomes, but are also less dense.
For example, 97201 has a population of 18,145 residents, according to The Oregonian. By comparison, 97233 has a population of 41,047.
That’s more than double the number of people, and likely contributing to the spread, health experts say.
Kim Toevs, director of communicable disease for the Multnomah County Health Department, told Willamette Week that crowded housing is definitely a factor driving up cases.
‘When folks are living together in a smaller house or when there’s more people in a household, it’s trickier for folks to figure out how to navigate not exposing their whole household if they get sick,’ she told the magazine.
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