In the past year, we have heard that Black people were disproportionately affected by the pandemic when it comes to job loss, access to vaccines, inadequate health care and more.
So it’s not surprising that a new study found that COVID-19 killed a disproportionate number of Black people, Latinos and Native Americans in the past year. The study concluded that the rate of death in these groups were two to three times higher than those of white and Asian people, according to NBC News.
Here’s more from NBC:
Of the 477,200 “excess deaths” last year, 351,400 people — or about 74 percent — died from Covid as the underlying cause, researchers said. The study said Black, Latino and Native American Covid-related deaths were “at least 2 times higher” than those of their white counterparts.
The disparities were similar when the 61,200 deaths that weren’t attributed to Covid were factored in, the study said. Deaths among Blacks and Native Americans were three to four times higher, and Latino deaths were nearly two times higher, compared to white populations, the study said.
It also found that these racial groups were more likely to die of other causes during the pandemic as well. The study determined that the rates can be attributed to “structural and social determinants of health with established and deep roots in racism,” NBC notes.
“These findings warn us that there is likely to be a severe widening of racial/ethnic disparities in all-cause mortality as longer-term data are released,” said Meredith Shiels, an investigator with the National Cancer Institute who led the study. “Although vaccination rates accelerated rapidly during the spring of 2021, racial/ethnic inequities continue and will further drive mortality disparities if not addressed with urgency and cultural competence, as has been done by tribal communities.”
According to CNN, the data used death certificate records from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Census Bureau population estimates to compare excess deaths by race, ethnicity, sex, age group, and cause of death from March to December for 2019 and 2020.
Here’s more from the report, according to CNN:
“The United States has seen profound racial/ethnic disparities in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths since the beginning of the pandemic,” the team wrote.
“The steady progress over the past 20 years in decreasing the mortality gap between Black and White persons has been rapidly eliminated by the COVID-19 pandemic and is likely to worsen as the full effect of the pandemic becomes apparent.”
The study also cites that Black and Latino people were more likely than white people to be exposed to the virus through work, densely populated neighborhoods, multigenerational households and public transportation. NBC also notes that American Indian/Alaska Native reservation–based communities have underfunded health care facilities.
Vaccine hesitancy among Black and Latino populations could have contributed as well, CNN reports. The Root reported last week that the vaccination gap between white people and communities of color has significantly narrowed.