Black and Hispanic Americans were disproportionately more likely to die from COVID-19 during the spring and summer months, which is a new indicator that coronavirus tolls are falling most on underserved and minority communities.
A new analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of more than 114,000 Americans who died of COVID-19 between May and August showed that 24 percent were Hispanic or Latino, although only approx. 18 percent of Americans are Hispanic-decent. .
Only 12.5 percent of Americans are black, but blacks accounted for nearly 19 percent of all coronavirus deaths during the four-month period.
About 51 percent of COVID-19 deaths occurred among white non-Hispanic Americans. Non-Hispanic whites account for 76 percent of the U.S. population, according to Census Bureau estimates.
CDC researchers said in Friday’s report that the disproportionately higher deaths among non-whites are likely to stem from various cultural and socio-economic causes. Minorities are more likely to live in multi-generational or multi-family housing; more likely to work in jobs that require their physical presence, such as meat packaging, service, and healthcare, and are more likely to suffer from underlying conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, that are bound to poorer outcomes among COVID-19 patients.
The new data also shows the marked geographical shift that the pandemic has made during the summer months. A first wave of COVID-19 cases sweeping through the Northeast gradually moved south and west, with just under half of all deaths linked to the virus in May occurring in northeastern states. This figure dropped to below 10 percent in July.
In southern states, the number of deaths grew alarmingly. In July and August, about 60 percent of all COVID-19 deaths occurred in the South, while Western states accounted for approx. 1 in 5 deaths.
Northeastern states, hard hit by a first wave of coronavirus infections, moved quickly to implement worm requirements and widespread test regimes. They also moved much more slowly to lift lockdowns and restrictions on facilities such as bars and restaurants, a contrast to southern and Sun Belt states that reopen early – and suffered through a devastating summer in which the virus ripped through younger adults.
CDC experts said the proportion of those who died who were over 65 and the proportion who were in nursing homes both fell during the summer months. It suggests that older Americans took more precautions as infections among younger Americans increased and that nursing home facilities became better at managing the risk after early outbreaks swept through guides in March and April.