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Black Hispanics at Especially High Risk for Severe COVID

hispanic doctor and patient

MONDAY, Nov. 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Hispanic Americans have a higher risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes, including ending up in intensive care and dying, than non-Hispanic white people, a new study finds.

The risk is especially high among patients who are both Black and Hispanic.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data on more than 78,000 COVID-19 patients reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between April 5 and May 18, 2020. The analysis compared hospitalization, admission to intensive care, need for breathing support and death rates for several Hispanic subgroups.

Hispanic Blacks had the highest rate of co-existing health problems (51%) and hospitalizations (45%). Hispanic/multiracial patients were more often admitted to the intensive care unit (10%) and had the highest incidence of requiring mechanical ventilation (10%). They also had higher death rates due to COVID-19 (16%).

Overall, Hispanics had a higher risk of death than patients who were white and non-Hispanic, the findings showed. Compared with non-Hispanic whites, the risk of death was 1.36 times higher for Hispanic whites, 1.68 times higher for multiracial Hispanics and 1.72 times higher for Hispanic Blacks.

The findings were recently published online in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.

"Our results clearly show that Hispanic individuals are more likely to be hospitalized and die from COVID-19 infection than non-Hispanic individuals, with the worst outcomes among Hispanic Black individuals," said corresponding author Dr. Sarah Kimball, co-director of the Immigrant and Refugee Health Center at Boston Medical Center.

The findings underscore the need for more accurate collection of race/ethnicity data on COVID-19 patients, according to the researchers.

"The dilemma is that we know these disparities among racial groups aren't biological, and reflect the systemic impacts of racism and inequality. Yet, we need better data collection on racial and ethnic groups, in order to develop interventions tailored to address the COVID-19 disparities among specific patient populations," she said in a medical center news release.

"The better data we have access to, the more targeted we can be in our public health and treatment approaches to dismantle the effects of racism and the disparities that we see among different groups within the Hispanic community, which can help decrease COVID-19-specific disparities in these individuals," Kimball added.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 and racial disparities.

SOURCE: Boston Medical Center, news release, Oct. 27, 2020

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