Very little comprehensive information exists on the disparate outcomes of Black and white patients with COVID-19. The reports from health departments in cities and states suggest that African Americans are disproportionately more affected by COVID-19 than their white counterparts within the same community. The researchers in this study wanted to understand the apparent differences through a national study.
The researchers gathered case-level data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on patients with COVID-19, including 76,442 Caucasian American patients and 48,338 African American patients. The patients were between the ages of 0 and 80+. Information was obtained regarding the patients’ hospital stays, including ICU stays, ventilation needs, and death outcomes.
The researchers used multivariate Poisson regressions to determine if a patient’s race was a determining factor in COVID-19 outcomes. White patients were the reference group. The researches controlled for sex, age, and comorbidities.
It was discovered that disparities exist between Black and white patients. In general, African American patients were more likely to be younger and female, and had more comorbidities than white patients. As the age of the patients increased, the outcome disparity also increased between the two populations.
In conclusion, with 1.4 times the hospitalization rate, nearly twice the rate of ICU admissions, and a death risk 1.36 times greater, Black patients have been demonstrably more affected by COVID-19 than white patients. By understanding the unequal effects of the pandemic, healthcare workers can develop targeted action plans to better support the Black community and other minority communities .
Source: Poulson, M., Geary, A., Annesi, C., Allee, L., Kenzik, K., Sanchez, S., Tseng, J., & Dechert, T. (2021). National Disparities in COVID-19 Outcomes between Black and White Americans. Journal of the National Medical Association, 113(2), 125–132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnma.2020.07.009