Since the beginning of the pandemic, we know that many racial and ethnic minorities live in communities that do not adequately reach test points, often in multigenerational families with less space to respect physical distancing.
Now, a new study by the US government has been published in the journal “Annals of internal medicineIt determines the lethal consequences of such disparities.
Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans caused a disproportionate number of an additional half a million deaths in the United States last year, according to the study, which examines deaths directly and indirectly related to COVID-19.
The researchers compared the number of people who died between March and December 2020 with the number of deaths that would have been expected based on pre-pandemic data.
There were over 477,200 deaths, more than double among blacks, Latinos, American Indians and Alaska Natives, compared to whites and Asians of the same age. About 74% of the excess deaths were related to COVID-19.
“Black, Hispanic, and Indian populations historically lived in low-income communities with less access to care and education than in wealthier white communities.“, Dice Harrison Lobdel, an emergency room physician in Austin, Texas, and a co-founder of the Wellness and Equity Alliance, who was not involved in the study.
“When the second blow comes, like COVID-19, the effects of this health inequality are magnified and the result is excess deaths in this population.“.
Interestingly, researchers have found greater variance in excess deaths from conditions unrelated to COVID-19, but historically these disparities have not received much attention in the media or in society at large.
Excess deaths among black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Alaska Native men and women were two to four times higher in COVID-related cases than in whites, according to the same study.
“When the epidemic ends, we will continue to have health inequalitiesSays Stephen Cohen, a social epidemiologist at the University of Rhode Island. “We still have to address these issues based on all causes of death other than COVID. These are symptoms of a much larger systemic problem“.
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