(CNN)Each year, thousands of babies die suddenly and unexpectedly, and more than 3,300 young lives were lost in 2020. Rates remained stubbornly high in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, even as overall infant mortality dropped to a record low.
A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics found that the rate for Black babies spiked in particular, widening an already stark disparity.
About 1 out of every 6 infant deaths were considered sudden unexpected infant deaths, or SUIDs, a broad classification of deaths that includes sudden infant death syndrome, known as SIDS, along with accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed and other unknown causes.
While the SUID rate for White babies dropped to the lowest it has been since 2017, the rate for Black babies in 2020 was the highest it has been since then. Rates that were already about two times higher for Black babies in 2017 grew to nearly three times higher in 2020, the study found.