Coronavirus News: Minorities hit harder by COVID-19, data shows

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020
More positive signs, but mayor says NYC must remain vigilant
Dave Evans reports on the racial disparities among victims of COVID-19

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New data released by New York on Wednesday showed the coronavirus pandemic is impacting African Americans and Hispanics harder than others - a trend that was noted nationally by the White House coronavirus task force.

New York released new data on Wednesday showing the largest percentage of deaths in New York City is among Hispanics with African-Americans accounting for the second-largest percentage. In the rest of the state, the largest percentage of deaths is among the whites.

NYC Deaths

Hispanic: 34% of deaths (29% of population)

Black: 28% of deaths (22% of population)

White: 27% of deaths (32% of population)

Asian: 7% of deaths (14% of population)

Outside NYC

Hispanic: 14% of deaths (11% of population)

Black: 18% of deaths (9% of population)

White: 62% of deaths (75% of population)

Asian: 4% of deaths (4% of population)

"We are going to double down on the strategies that reach people who are the most vulnerable now because we are seeing these very troubling facts," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday.

Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said a number of factors are contributing.

"Fundamentally, what we are seeing across the country relates to the additional burden that poor people have due to underlying illness, the insurance status and additional burden of co pays. A whole host of reasons that we typically refer to as the social determinants of health," she said.

Doctors say with the data from the CDC and New York City, there can be a more targeted response not just in treatment but also in prevention.

"It's not that they're getting infected more often. It's that when they do get infected, their underlying medical conditions...wind them up in the ICU and ultimately give them a higher death rate," Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, explained.

Dr. Anthony Fauci comments on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on minority communities.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said the medical community has known for a long time that diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and asthma hit minority populations, especially African Americans.

Fauci said the virus is "shining a bright light on how unacceptable (the disparity) is," but there is not much that can be done right now except to try to give these people the best care possible.

Dr. Deborah Birx pointed out that data does not show that minorities are inherently more susceptible to the virus but that they are "more susceptible to more difficult and severe disease, and poorer outcomes."


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