New data confirms Black and Latino communities hit hardest by coronavirus pandemic

People of color were hospitalized at five times the rate of whites

A healthcare worker wait for patients at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing site at the Duke Energy for the Arts Mahaffey Theater on July 8, 2020 in St. Petersburg, Florida.(Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

The coronavirus pandemic has killed thousands, left millions out of work and devasted the economy. Black and brown people have borne the brunt of its devastation, according to new data.

People are color are the ones who have been “hit the hardest” since the start of the pandemic, Politico reported. A quick and steady increase in red states in recent weeks have highlighted the disparity. Despite the illness ravaging “Trump country,” the government response has been scattershot and minorities are feeling it.

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“Despite the shift to red states, it’s clear that the disproportionate impact is taking place in communities of color,” said Greg Millett, an epidemiologist and director of public policy at amFar, an AIDS research group that is monitoring the pandemic’s impact on minorities. “The one constant for this whole COVID-19 crisis is that communities of color remain at highest risk.”

A patient is tested for coronavirus at a testing site in the Anacostia neighborhood June 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump claimed over the July 4 holiday that cases of the virus were “totally harmless” despite the daily surges. Florida, Arizona, and California have experienced spikes in infections in recent weeks, leading to more hospitalizations and hot spots.

Many Black and Brown people in these areas are vulnerable as they have historically been underserved in the health community. Furthermore, they’ve been more exposed to the virus as they are often front line workers and live in crowded spaces where COVID-19 can more easily spread.

“It’s not that somehow we’re genetically inclined to get,” coronavirus, Millett said but the contributing factors do not help.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report in June that showed the stark contrast in how the illness has impacted Americans based on color lines. Blacks and Latinx were hospitalized with the coronavirus at nearly five times the rate in comparison to white Americans. Native Americans were hospitalized at a rate of six times greater.

The inequities are being starkly exposed in red states Alabama, where 45% of coronavirus deaths have been Black people, despite making up just 27% of the population.

“The health disparities here in Alabama with regard to health care access was already a significant problem, and Covid-19 just made it worse,” said Dr. Ricardo Franco, a professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “Basically, if you’re Black in Alabama, you’re almost twice as likely of dying of COVID-19 than if you’re white.”

For health care professionals, the high rate of infections and deaths that are crippling minority communities is not a revelation. It is how it’s always been.

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“All Covid did was accelerate the inequities that we already know,” said Martha Moore-Monroy, a public health lecturer at the University of Arizona, “People can’t ignore it anymore.”

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