We have to work at decreasing the healthcare access gap in minority communities. Here’s why!
Black, Hispanic, Native Americans hospitalized at 4 times the rate of non-Hispanic whites
Minorities continue to be hit especially hard by the coronavirus, with hospitalizations at four times the rate of white people over eight months, according to the CDC. There were 70,825 hospitalizations reported to the CDC from March 1 to Nov. 7, reports CNN, and the age-adjusted hospitalization rate for Hispanic or Latino Americans was 4.2 times the rate of non-Hispanic whites. For American Indian or Alaska Natives, it was 4.1 times the rate, and for non-Hispanic Black people, it was 3.9 times the rate. The virus also appears to disproportionately affect communities of color in terms of cases and deaths. In California, for example, Latinos represent more than 60% of infections but 39% of the population, per the AP.
Dr. Lisa Cooper of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity points to problems with access to health care. She also notes Latinos and African Americans have higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other health conditions that can make them more vulnerable to COVID-19. Jarvis Chen, a social epidemiologist who studies social inequalities in health at Harvard, adds that more people of color may be exposed to the virus through jobs in health care, public transportation, and food production, and may not have the financial support to stop working if they get sick. She tells CNN that the findings should signal how health officials should roll out personal protective equipment and potential COVID-19 vaccines. “The demographics … should really direct us to think about how do we target populations that will benefit the most in terms of protecting them.” (Read more coronavirus stories.)