Coronavirus infects and kills Black Americans at higher rates

Originally published at:


Here in America, land of the free, home of the brave…


But seriously, this is part of the reason Trump’s base feels like they can hold threatening rallies that block ambulances… because they think this means it won’t hurt “real Americans” like them, but it will only ethnically cleanse populations they see as undesirable or at least as not real Americans.


Hrm - so is this a genetic factor, or solely due to systemic racism leading to poverty and poorer overall health, with possibly the addition of systemic racism leading to providers providing poorer care. ETA And possibly more blacks working jobs that lead to more exposure vs working from home.


Seems to be reflected in the UK too.

And also that men are over-represented.


I seems like a lot would be covered by things like increased incidence of living in urban areas, you just added increased likelihood of having working-class “essential” jobs (often actually essential, unlike most upper-middle-class jobs), lack of access to healthcare. And apparently exposure to air pollution increases spread and lethality, for whatever reason or reasons, and that’s another thing minorities usually get in abundance, but is less often talked about. No idea if they have any way of “controlling” for all of that.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that recent travel to Wuhan or northern Italy are probably not factors.


“Twin experiments” say much about nurturing:

It has also become clear that health disparities due to racism increased the chances of becoming severely ill or dying. From New Orleans to Chicago, black people were at disproportionate risk of death. Higher levels of diabetes and hypertension can be linked to the stress of racism; asthma and respiratory problems are tied to the polluted air of many urban and industrial areas; and lack of long-term access to good medical care and food sources (due to poverty and discrimination) play their part.


Apparently, if you take the absolute horror of already-existing racial health disparity deaths and cram them all into just a few weeks, people actually start to pay attention.

Actually doing something about it is another story.


Systemic racism. It’s almost always systemic racism.


Yep. Groups like Native Americans and Latinos are being hit disproportionately hard, too. (Reservations are being absolutely hammered, from what I’ve read.) And then there’s all that evidence that, even controlling for pre-existing conditions, wealth and education, African Americans suffer worse medical outcomes.

Weirdly, systemic racism is… systemic. All the components of a racist society are also racist.


World Ends. Women, Minorities Hardest Hit

Hypertension is also much higher in African Americans than in whites (also compared to sub-Saharan Africa). Hypertension is an identified risk factor in worse COVID-19 outcomes.

tl;dr: While there may be a small genetic effect related to the body’s uptake of salt, the bulk of the difference seems to be environmental.


Things like this is why I subscribe to MoJo
I really wish this data was presented as likelihood ratios, though. Saying that in Missouri 6% of the population has 25% of cases is harder to digest than saying black Missourans are 5.2 times more likely than non-black Missourans to get covid-19. Or pointing out that in Wisconsin the likelihood of dying from covid-19 is 10x higher for black residents!

No. Because race is not genetic!


It seems that although the gender split for contracting Covid-19 is roughly equal, the mortality rate is worse for men.

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Race is a social construct. Genetic variance between groups of people is well documented, such as African-Americans more likely to have sickle cell anemia. Per the post above yours, hypertension is one too.

These are small variances, but can be statistically significant. But I am going to agree with @Mindysan33 that it probably is higher mainly due to systemic racism. It seems to be the over arching factor behind a lot of statistics. The “root cause”.

I just found out my ex-gf believes she has it. I asked if she got tested and she said, “They aren’t testing black people.” Anecdotal, but more evidence for it.

Its because they have the majority of the jobs that did not get to stay home and isolate.

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Possible role of subways and buses in NYC, which are probably used by minorities at higher per-capita rates. A new working paper explores circumstantial evidence for a significan role in NYC.

Going forward, there is probably a very good case for modifications to public transport like air filters/more fresh air and having surfaces like grab bars and subway hooks be made of antimicrobial substances or automatic periodic UV sterilization built in somehow. The answer is obviously not to avoid public transport, but to make public transport safer and better.


Given that the spread looks different in different parts of the country, genetics seem highly unlikely. All of the other things you mention come into play, but also our history of siting toxic land uses in minority neighborhoods, transportation availability, housing quality and a ton of other factors that are going to make most epidemics worse in the black community. Structurally almost all of our social constructs make this worse for nonwhite people.



I would hope that this would help us to make systemic changes like we’ve been needing to for decades… But white supremacy is a hell of a drug…


Just to clarify, the AHA article does not indicate that hypertension has genetic roots. There is a minor difference in how people take up salt that is genetic. That alone does not explain the 4x bias in hypertension. They put most of the weight of the difference on environmental factors.