Coronavirus killing more Black and Hispanic kids: CDC study
Black and Hispanic children were at higher risk of the coronavirus if they had underlying health issues such as asthma and obesity
The coronavirus is disproportionately killing far more Black and Hispanic children, according to a new study by the CDC.
A federal statistics report released Tuesday by the CDC showed that 75% of youth-related deaths from COVID-19 have been minorities. Black, Hispanic and Indian children were dying at rates much higher than their White peers. This startling statistic is despite the fact that these groups make up only 41% of the U.S. population.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that there have 391,814 known pediatric cases and 121 deaths between February and July. The numbers represented those under the age of 21.
“This is the strongest evidence yet that there are deep racial disparities in children just like there are in adults,” John Williams, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, told The Washington Post. “What that should mean for people is steps like wearing a mask are not just about protecting your family and yourself. It is about racial equity.”
Two of the possible underlying factors that are contributing to the high rate of deaths were asthma and obesity. These are health issues that many youth suffer from and most of the kids that died had at least one when they died from the virus.
The CDC also noted in their report that social disparities were also factors in life and death when it came to COVID-19. Gaps in education, living conditions and income inequality made some of those exposed to the health pandemic more vulnerable.
“On one hand, the small total number of deaths is reassuring. You’re talking about hundreds of thousands of children infected, and only 121 killed,” said Frank Esper, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s. “At the same time, proportions at which minority groups are dying are hard to ignore.”
These figures align with minority adults being more susceptible to the coronavirus. As theGrio reported, Black America has been hit with COVID-19 at a rate far outpacing other races. The respiratory disease has exemplified the environmental and societal issues.
At the height of the pandemic in April, Black people in Milwaukee made up just 26% of the population but account for nearly half of coronavirus infections and a vast majority of coronavirus-related deaths
“COVID is just unmasking the deep disinvestment in our communities, the historical injustices and the impact of residential segregation,” Dr. Camara Jones, currently a Harvard University visiting fellow, told ProPublica. “This is the time to name racism as the cause of all of those things. The overrepresentation of people of color in poverty and white people in wealth is not just a happenstance. … It’s because we’re not valued.”
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