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Black Americans more likely to test positive for coronavirus, study finds

Gino Spocchia
·2 mins read
Coronavirus testing being carried-out in Los Angeles, California  (AFP via Getty Images)
Coronavirus testing being carried-out in Los Angeles, California (AFP via Getty Images)

Black Americans are twice as likely to test positive for coronavirus than white Americans, says a new study examining the racial disparities of the current pandemic.

Research carried-out by the Epic Health Research Network Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) showed how Hispanic, Black, and Asian patients were more prone to contracting Covid-19 - and more likely to require hospitalisation from it.

The report, published on Wednesday, analysed the health records of 50 million patients from 53 health systems across 21 states, laying bare the racial disparities at play amid the United States’ coronavirus pandemic.

According to the study, Hispanic patients were over two and a half times more likely than white patients to have a positive test result.

At the same time, Black and Asian patients were nearly twice as likely as white people to test positive.

BAME people were, overall, more likely to require higher levels of care upon taking a test, said the study, requiring oxygen or ventilation at the time of diagnosis.

For serious treatment, Hispanic patients were the worst off, with hospitalisation rates four times higher than that for white people, or 30.4 per 10,000 people needing treatment, compared to 7.4 per 10,000 for white patients.

Among Black Americans, some 24.6 per 10,000 needed hospitalisation - more than three times the rate of white Amercians - said the report.

Death rates for both Black and Hispanic patients were also double that of white patients, with Asian people also significantly affected, KFF said.

Christopher Alban, vice-president of clinical informatics at Epic, told The Guardian that the study “adds nuance to our understanding of inequities in our Covid-19 response by showing racial and ethnic disparities that persist when comparing populations with similar health and socioeconomic status”.

More than 6.6 million people have contracted the coronavirus in the United States, with more than 196,000 deaths, according to John Hopkins university data.

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