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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Up to 60% of COVID-19 Deaths in Some Counties Are African Americans

African American patient with Coronavirus

Nationwide — African Americans are reportedly dying at higher rates from coronavirus in the United States compared to whites and other ethnic groups, according to a new study. One of the main cited reasons is racial disparities in access to health care.

A new study and racial data from John Hopkins University has determined that in some counties across the U.S., mostly those with higher black populations, African Americans comprise 52% of all COVID-19 cases and 58% of COVID-19 deaths. That is despite US Census Bureau noted African Americans only represent 13.4% of the population in the United States.

The researchers, in collaboration with amfAR, the AIDS research non-profit, and Seattle’s Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access, analyzed COVID-19 cases and deaths using county-level comparisons from data from more than 3,100 counties from late January to mid-April.

After comparing counties that have higher numbers of Black residents (with a population of 13% or more) with counties that have lower numbers of Black residents, it was revealed that counties with higher black populations account for more than half of all COVID-19 cases and almost 60% of deaths

“Social conditions, structural racism, and other factors elevate risk for COVID-19 diagnoses and deaths in black communities,” wrote the scientists from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law.

“Structural factors including health care access, density of households, unemployment, pervasive discrimination and others drive these disparities, not intrinsic characteristics of black communities or individual-level factors.”

The research also showed that while a larger percentage of disproportionately black counties were in the South, “COVID-19 deaths were higher in disproportionally black rural and small metro counties,” the study cited.

Moreover, the research found that by April 13, there were 283,750 COVID-19 cases and 12,748 deaths in disproportionately black counties while only 263,640 COVID-19 cases and 8,886 deaths in all other counties.