More African Americans are dying from coronavirus in the United States than whites or other ethnic groups, according to a new study.
Black Americans represent just 13.4% of the American population, according to the US Census Bureau, but account for more than half of all Covid-19 cases and almost 60% of deaths, the study found.
Disparities, including access to health care, are likely to blame, researchers concluded in a report released Tuesday.
The team of epidemiologists and clinicians at four universities worked with amfAR, the AIDS research non-profit, and Seattle’s Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access, PATH, to analyze Covid-19 cases and deaths using county-level comparisons.
Racial data is still lacking in many areas, and their analysis uses what data was available as of mid-April.
The results: They compared counties with a disproportionate number of black residents — those with a population of 13% or more — with those with lower numbers of African American residents.
Counties with higher populations of black residents accounted for 52% of coronavirus diagnoses and 58% of Covid-19 deaths nationally, they said.
“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.
“Collectively, these data demonstrate significantly higher rates of COVID-19 diagnoses and deaths in disproportionately black counties compared to other counties, as well as greater diabetes diagnoses, heart disease deaths, and cerebrovascular disease deaths in unadjusted analyses,” the authors concluded.
The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, is currently under consideration by a medical journal and has not yet been published.