“The reason the virus hits black communities hardest has to do with the prevalence of underlying medical conditions — diabetes, hypertension, obesity, asthma.”
Jul 11, 2020
Business Insider – Since the start of the pandemic, the coronavirus has disproportionately affected communities of color in the US.
An April report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one-third of the nation’s hospitalized COVID-19 patients in March were black — despite the fact that black Americans make up just 13% of the population.
As coronavirus cases have spiked across the country, this disparity has only deepened. A new CDC report found that Black and Hispanic patients represented nearly two-thirds of coronavirus deaths among those younger than 65.
The researchers looked at data from more than 10,000 coronavirus patients whose deaths were reported from February 12 to May 18, and found that more than one-third of deceased patients under 65 were Hispanic and another 30% were black.
White people, meanwhile, represented around 40% of US coronavirus deaths of all ages and 55% of coronavirus deaths among patients ages 85 and older. That’s more than any other race, but white people make up a far portion of the US population: around three-quarters.
The fact that most young people dying of COVID-19 in the US are people of color highlights the racial disparities at play in the pandemic.
In an interview with Business Insider, Surgeon General Jerome Adams attributed some coronavirus outbreaks among communities of color to “social determinants of health.” Black and Hispanic people, for instance, are more likely to hold service-industry jobs that increase their risk of exposure.
Black Americans also account for 17% of frontline employees, despite making up 12% of the US workforce, according to a study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
In addition, black people more likely to have preexisting medical conditions that make them vulnerable to severe health outcomes.
“Health disparities have always existed for the African-American community,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US’s leading infectious disease expert, said in an April White House press briefing.
The reason the coronavirus hits black communities hardest, he added, has to do with the prevalence of “underlying medical conditions — the diabetes, the hypertension, the obesity, the asthma.” Read more.