Black Individuals at Increased Risk for SARS-CoV-2 Infection

Risk increased for infection and hospitalization, but not mortality, for Blacks versus non-Blacks

sick patient in hospital bed

MONDAY, July 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Black individuals are at increased risk for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and hospitalization, according to a letter to the editor published online July 9 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Ayodeji Adegunsoye, M.D., from the University of Chicago, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort analysis to examine the correlation of race with SARS-CoV-2 infection and outcomes among 4,413 patients who underwent nasopharyngeal swab and SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction assays after clinical screening at the University of Chicago.

Overall, 17.8 percent of patients in the cohort tested positive; of these patients, 57.6 and 24.3 percent were Black and White, respectively. Patients who were positive for SARS-CoV-2 were more likely to be male (20.1 versus 16.5 percent), older (52.0 versus 44.5 years), and Black (24.3 versus 8.9 percent); consistent with other published data, SARS-CoV-2-positive Black patients were more likely to be female (62.5 versus 51.2 percent). Mortality was increased for Black versus non-Black individuals (1.9 versus 0.8 percent). In univariate models, Black race was associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and hospitalization (odds ratios, 3.30 and 3.77, respectively), but not mortality. In multivariable models, these results persisted (odds ratios, 2.16 and 1.51, respectively). The age-adjusted SARS-CoV-2-positive rate remained higher in Blacks (0.19 versus 0.07 in non-Blacks).

"The absence of actual racial differences in mortality may imply that our conceptual categories of race reflect health care disparities and environmental risk factors more closely than any perceived biological differences," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text

Physician’s Briefing Staff

Physician’s Briefing Staff

Published on July 13, 2020

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