Minorities Bore the Brunt of U.S. COVID Deaths

Written by Stephen Rheinberg

HealthDay reporter

A new study finds that the ongoing coronavirus epidemic has hit minorities in the United States hard, causing more deaths among Hispanics and blacks than white and Asian Americans.

According to the report, these disparities highlight the need to address persistent inequalities that affect health and longevity in the United States.

What’s more, “focusing on COVID-19 deaths alone without examining total excess deaths—that is, deaths from causes other than COVID-19 as well as COVID-19—may underestimate the true impact of the pandemic,” added study author Meredith Sheels. She is a senior investigator at the US National Cancer Institute.

For the study, researchers compared excess deaths by race/ethnicity, gender, age group, and cause of death from March to December 2020 with data from the same months in 2019. The team used provisional death certificate data from the US Centers for Disease Control. Prevention and Population Estimates from the US Census Bureau.

The results showed that nearly 3 million people died in the United States between March 1 and December 31, 2020. Compared to the same period in 2019, the total number of deaths was 477,200, with 74% of these excess deaths due to COVID-19. .

After taking age into account, the numbers of excess deaths by population size among black men and women, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Hispanic men and women were more than twice those in white and Asian American men and women, according to the report.

The data does not explain the causes of excess deaths other than COVID. “Fear to seek health care during a pandemic or misattribution of causes of death from COVID-19 is likely to be responsible for the majority of non-COVID-19 excess deaths,” Shels said in a news release from The National. health institutes.

Excess deaths that occurred during the pandemic have led to increasing disparities in overall death rates in the United States, with the gap in age-adjusted all-cause mortality increasing between 2019 and 2020 for American Indian and Black Alaskan Native men and women compared to white men. and women.

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For example, investigators found that in 2019, total deaths among black men were 26% higher than for white men, but in 2020 it was 45% higher. The same goes for women. In 2019, total population-by-population deaths among black women were 15% higher than white women, but in 2020 it was 32% higher, according to the report published Oct. 5 in the Official Gazette. Annals of internal medicine.

Vaccination resistance can be a significant contributory factor.

Study co-author Dr. Eliseo Perez-Stable is director of the US National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities. He said, “Our efforts at the National Institutes of Health to help mitigate COVID disparities have largely focused on enhancing testing and vaccine uptake through community-involved research. However, hesitation about vaccines is a real threat, so we are addressing misinformation and mistrust from through collaborative partnerships with trusted community stakeholders.”

more information

To learn more about COVID-19, head over to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Source: US National Institutes of Health press release, October 4, 2021

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