Long after calls for more data on the disproportionate number of Covid-19 infections and deaths among Black Americans and Hispanic Americans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday released limited additional information, which revealed non-white and Hispanic Americans under age 65 are dying in greater numbers than white people in that age group.

The agency reported that more than a third of deaths among Hispanic Americans (34.9%) and almost a third of deaths among non-white Americans (29.5%) were in people younger than 65. That compares to 13.2% among white people under that age. 

Non-white Americans (median age 31) are younger as a whole than white Americans (median age 44), but Covid-19 deaths among those under age 65 exceeded their proportion of the population. The researchers found that 33.9% of people under 65 who died were Hispanic, yet they account for just 20% of the under-65 population in the U.S. Similarly, Black, Asian, and other non-white people accounted for 40.2% of deaths under 65, though they make up just 23% of those under 65 nationally. Black people accounted for 30% of deaths under age 65; Asian people and multiracial people accounted for 6.1% and 4.1%, respectively.

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Those numbers are in line with both clinical and social factors tied to Covid-19 infections and deaths, said Utibe Essien, a physician and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. He published a paper in May detailing the lack of comprehensive race, ethnicity, and language data related to Covid-19 testing, infection, and death rates.

Black Americans tend to be younger when they have chronic risk factors — cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, chronic pulmonary disease — most likely to be associated with Covid-19 infection and severe infection. It’s been known for decades that the rate of premature cardiovascular deaths is higher in Black Americans than white Americans.

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We have been worried about the lack of age-adjusted data,” Essien said. “Now that we have more age-adjusted data, we really are seeing that disparity.”

As for social factors, Black and Hispanic individuals are more likely to be essential workers and less likely to have had the choice of working from home over the last four months, he said.

For its report, the CDC culled data from public health records of 52,166 deaths in 47 jurisdictions between Feb. 12 and May 18 around the country. It requested more demographic and clinical information on 10,457 deaths between Feb. 12 and April 24 from 16 locations, such as race and ethnicity as well as underlying medical conditions and place of death. 

During the shorter time period, 93.9% of deaths were in New York and neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut, plus the state of Washington, reflecting widespread circulation of the virus in those states earlier this year. Coronavirus cases are now flaring in other hot spots around the country, such as Arizona, Texas, Florida, and California, including higher case counts among young people than earlier in the pandemic. 

Where people included in the CDC report died was also different: Younger people were more likely to be at home or in a hospital emergency room versus older people in hospitals or long-term care settings.

The CDC report called for more research before drawing conclusions. “Although these data did not permit assessment of interactions between race/ethnicity, underlying medical conditions, and nonbiologic factors, further studies to understand and address these racial/ethnic differences are needed to inform targeted efforts to prevent COVID-19 mortality,” it said.

The reasons for the dearth of racial and ethnic data are not clear, Essien said, noting that CDC depends on local health departments to gather and share demographic and clinical information. Some states still are not including race and ethnicity in test results, he pointed out.

“I do want to believe that the CDC is committed to this work,” he said. “A lot of these are structural factors that, of course, we can’t just snap and fix, but I hope our society and our health system are really starting to consider just how critical these are, especially during the pandemic.”

  • No, not genetic nor environmental. Behavior factor is far more pivotal for contagious diseases.

    • I think that is probably mostly it. Just taking more risks is enough to make one group more likely to get sick.

  • The circulating coronavirus does not profile people. It cannot “see” skin color or “detect” ethnicity. Thus the higher death rates among Blacks and Hispanics, if not a statistical artifact, must be caused by some factor in their genetics or environment. Until these possibilities are carefully investigated, it is premature to suggest the U.S.society and its healthcare system have somehow discriminated against these victims.

    • I can tell you straight off that as the posts above mention, it is BEHAVIOR that is causing the spread, illness, and deaths. In our city of 100,000 Blacks are out partying in the streets and after hours “clubs” in large groups of up to 200-400 people at a time. Images from video cameras tells the story. No masks and their conduct (Not going to go into the details of that) is leading to the spread with the highest cases in a county of 275,000 and two large urban areas of 200,000 combined within the zip codes with the largest Black / Hispanic population. That is not a racist comment. It is a factual comment. The statistics and video captured support it.

  • I don’t want to be mean to you, but the reason why NYC has the most cases is due to it being a city. The reason why NYC and states around the country did not want to shut down and have face masks early on is because it wasn’t taken seriously by the federal government. In pandemic responses we do follow the lead of the federal government and the truth is CDC and federal government failed. Many states were told they would have testing, PPE, and supplies which were not given promptly. NY isn’t the only state that started out with it at the same time many different states had the virus. It wasn’t just NYC and they’re not responsible to contain all the cases in the country especially because other states had it too. The rest of the US wouldn’t have fewer cases because you guys aren’t testing! Even without a lot of testing there is still such a high rate because you guys didn’t take it seriously not just the states, but the people until it was too late. You know what helped New Zealand, Canada, Scandinavia, and even places like South Korea? They have health care, they don’t let their homeless die in the streets, better safety net, supplied hospitals adequately, shut down quickly, supplied their own citizens with groceries (Korea, New Zealand, and Scandinavia). If America was warned in January and didn’t have their belief in individualism and lack of safety nets then maybe you guys would be better. What people NEED to realize is that pandemics exacerbate problems that were already there. Hospitals were not ready for a pandemic mass scale, I think you guys only got $1200, once? Not even everyone got it Native Americans only got $20 and they’re the people that lived in America first! Doctors without Borders is coming which usually handles third world countries. For so long America has been stripping workers of their rights and left you with no safety nets with the belief that you’re the best country in the world. The country will suffer because it opened early and allowed all the their CARES act money to go to big businesses. I honestly feel for the BLM protestors America is racist, it believes it can handle anything, but its money goes to the military and none really goes to you. Like America’s infrastructure is rated a D. I’m so appalled on how people in the country are just fine with having no benefits and still calling itself the best. Like although you guys are open you realize that none of us want you overseas.

    • Camisha I think you were replying to my question, which was, did New York spread it to the rest of the US?
      Most of what you wrote does not really answer that question, it is just kind of a rant against the US. The BLM protesters are operating under a delusion that cops kill a lot of black people – it is simply not true, the black crime rate, and violent crime rate, to be precise, is much, much higher than every other group- and as you know, the US has a great deal more violence than many other countries – but considering that the black violent crime rate is roughly 10 times greater than the national average for all other ethnic groups, the rates of being killed by police is in line. The media here will almost never report the huge different in crime rates, so ignorant people believe there is some persecution campaign, even murder, by the police, but it is a delusion. The reason I go on and on about this, when it does not relate to coronavirus, (it seems to not, I think that it is yet another race based myth that racism makes more black people sick) is that the country has been burning for about six weeks, all due to this myth, the riots have destroyed or damaged many tens of thousands of businesses, costing many billions or more likely tens of billions of dollars, of course the news media has not reported it, because they wish to portray only “peaceful protesters” when in fact, peaceful protests were often followed by massive rioting and looting and arson. Again, NO difference in ratss of police killing black people vs. white people when you take into account much different violent crime rates – – but my country is being burned up and torn apart by leftwing Marxis propaganda, for nothing – it is distressing.

      Now, back to coronavirus, to try to explain why what you wrote is incorrect

      1. Testing has not really been a thing in the US- certainly that was supposed to have been bad, I am not sure testing, for a disease, unlike STD, that soon become apparent to the infected person, and also like STD, is spread to easily, people do not know who they infect, is much use. The Federal Govt. did fail to get tests – it is unlikely it mattered.

      2 New York City has a large public health department. This department encouraged people to not do anything different to quell the epidemic, even after it was obviously a major public health threat – the structure of government in the US is different- state and city governments have much more power than other countries – and they made two huge mistakes, one was forcing nursing homes to take sick people who then infected the entire nursing home, killing many thousands who would have been spared if they had practiced truly BASIC sanitation – keeping sick people away, people knew about that before the germ theory of disease was formalized – and, taking precautions and banning large public events much earlier on.

      I can go on and on, I think this ia enough. Since I posted the question I read up on it in the New York Times and other publications, it is clear New York’s response was very poor and the virus spread from New York to the rest of the US.

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