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COVID-19 is killing over twice as many Black Americans as whites, new report says

Sarah Gantz, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

PHIILADELPHIA -- Black individuals are nearly three times as likely to contract COVID-19 and twice as likely to die from the virus, compared to white individuals, according to a new report by the National Urban League.

Researchers have struggled to measure with precision the race gaps in COVID-19 because much of the early data reported by hospitals did not include information about patients' race -- as of early August, Pennsylvania has reported race data for about half of its cases.

But the National Urban League's State of Black America report adds to a growing body of research that has found the virus is disproportionately affecting Black and Latino communities -- a trend that is largely reflective of deeper health, economic and social inequality.

In an introduction to the report, National Urban League CEO Marc H. Morial called racism "the pandemic within the pandemic."

"The American people are seeing -- many for the first time -- the stark and deadly results of racism on an enormous scale," Morial wrote, referring to the intersection of the pandemic and widespread demonstrations against police brutality following the death of George Floyd.

Using data from Johns Hopkins University, the National Urban League report found that:


-- Black individuals were almost three times as likely to become infected with COVID-19 compared to white individuals and twice as likely to die of the virus. One in 1,450 Black patients died of the coronavirus, compared to 1 in 3,350 white patients.

-- Infection rates were even higher among Latino individuals, who are more than three times as likely to get sick, compared to white individuals. The COVID-19 death rate among Latino individuals was slightly higher than white patients.

-- Black and Latino patients were more than four times as likely to be hospitalized for the virus, compared to white patients.

Much of the report's national findings are in line with how the pandemic has played out in Philadelphia, where Black individuals are more than twice as likely as white individuals to contract the virus, according to data from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.


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