Emerging data indicates that American communities of color are more vulnerable to coronavirus.

In New York City, the coronavirus is killing black and Latino patients at twice the rate of white patients, the New York Times reports.  In Louisiana, 70% of the people who’ve died of coronavirus are black.

ProPublica reported this week that “African Americans have contracted and died of coronavirus at an alarming rate.”

From that report:

The reasons for this are the same reasons that African Americans have disproportionately high rates of maternal death, low levels of access to medical care and higher rates of asthma, said Dr. Camara Jones, a family physician, epidemiologist and visiting fellow at Harvard University.

“COVID is just unmasking the deep disinvestment in our communities, the historical injustices and the impact of residential segregation,” said Jones, who spent 13 years at the CDC, focused on identifying, measuring and addressing racial bias within the medical system. “This is the time to name racism as the cause of all of those things. The overrepresentation of people of color in poverty and white people in wealth is not just a happenstance. … It’s because we’re not valued.”

In many places, including Texas, the data on race and coronavirus is incomplete. That’s partially because Hispanics and Latinos are often counted as white, so it’s likely that white people are overrepresented in the data. But it’s also because race isn’t being tracked very well.

Dallas County reported its data on race and coronavirus, with an asterisk noting that it is incomplete. Race had not been recorded in about 30% of cases.

The population of Dallas is about 50% white, 25% black and 42% is Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Recently released data from Dallas County also shows that of 383 patients hospitalized for coronavirus, 111 had diabetes, and 42 had heart disease. African Americans and Hispanics are far more likely than whites to have diabetes and heart disease and less likely to have medical care for those diseases.


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