Counties in the United States with large Black, Asian and Hispanic populations were hit harder by Covid-19 in the early months of the pandemic, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a new study published Wednesday, CDC researchers said more than a quarter of counties with large Asian or Black populations reported a high Covid-19 incidence rate in the first two weeks of April last year. The CDC defines high incidence as more than 100 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in the total population.
At the time, about 11.4% of all counties had a high Covid-19 incidence rate, compared with nearly 29% of counties with an above-average share of Asian residents and nearly 28% of counties with an above-average share of Black residents, the study indicates.
“Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have placed many racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk for Covid-19,” researchers wrote. “CDC continues to work with local and state health departments to improve reporting of race and ethnicity data for individual cases.”
Over the first two weeks of August, nearly two-thirds of counties in the US were seeing a high number of cases. More than 92% of counties with an above-average share of Black residents and nearly 75% of counties with an above-average share of Hispanic reported a high incidence of Covid-19.
By December, nearly all counties in the US had a high Covid-19 incidence rate, the study says.
Researchers indicated the findings in the study do not necessarily mean that a disproportionate number of cases occurred among certain racial or ethnic groups and acknowledged that race and ethnicity data for Covid-19 cases was not fully reported for a “proportion” of cases.
The findings are the latest indications of that people of color have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Earlier studies have found that these groups are at higher risk of infection, deaths and hospitalizations in most parts of the country.
The CDC data shows that Black and Hispanic people are about three times more likely than White people to be hospitalized with Covid-19 and about twice as likely to die from the disease.