A new report by The Washington Post examines the change in Covid-19 mortality that started in October 2021. From the beginning of the pandemic, the racial disparity between Black and white folks dying from the coronavirus was substantial. Black people were more than three times as likely to die from covid as their White counterparts:
Per The Washington Post:
“A Post analysis of covid death data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from April 2020 through this summer found the racial disparity vanished at the end of last year, becoming roughly equal. And at times during that same period, the overall age-adjusted death rate for White people slightly surpassed that of Black and Latino people.”
Black people were more likely to succumb to the disease because underlying health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity affect us earlier in life and at higher rates than white folks. However, the fall of 2021 marked the first time “the gap reversed with Black rates [of Covid mortality] lower than White rates.”
In addition, the virus is more vicious with unvaccinated adults — which statistics show are more likely to be Republicans — which leads to higher rates of both infection and death.
On the surface, the reason covid death rates have flipped is because white conservatives choose not to be vaccinated and look at prevention methods—such as wearing masks—as an impediment to personal freedom.
This is true, but but it turns out to be more complex than that. Data shows that more than 90 percent of covid deaths occur in people 50 years and up—and white people are disproportionately older.
According to The Post: “More than 40 percent of White people are age 50 or older, but less than 30 percent of Black people are in those older age groups. Hispanics are even younger, with less than 25 percent age 50 or older.”
It is important to note, though, Black rates have been higher than White rates in the major coronavirus surges—especially with the Omicron variant. The Root’s new covid series looks into the impact of the disease.