New CDC Data Confirms the Pandemic’s Outsize Impact on People of Color

Black, Native, and Latinx people are several times more likely to be hospitalized than white people.

Jae C. Hong/AP

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As coronavirus case rates and deaths reach record highs and ICUs across the country near capacity, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms the pandemic’s disproportionate toll on people of color. Black, Native, and Latinx people are between three and four times more likely to be hospitalized with the coronavirus than white people, according to data from March through November.

While elderly people are at a higher risk from the virus, the hospitalization rates for Black and Latinx people above age 65 are particularly high. Over the course of the nine-month pandemic, more than one in 100 elderly Latinx and Black people have been hospitalized with COVID-19.

The new numbers on hospitalizations echo data on disproportionate death rates by race. As my colleagues Edwin Rios and Sinduja Rangarajan wrote back in April, there are myriad reasons for the pandemic’s uneven impact:

Black Americans are more likely to work jobs that are considered essential—they’re grocers, fast-food workers, transit and postal workers. As a result, they risk greater exposure to the disease. Black people in the North tend to live in dense, historically segregated cities—Milwaukee, St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago—in which disease can spread quickly. Black people in the South, Louisianans excepted, live in states that did not expand Medicaid, leaving many of them uninsured. (A Mother Jones analysis found that six of the country’s 10 most vulnerable states, according to something called the “COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index,” are located in the South. In Mississippi, where 90 percent of counties are particularly vulnerable, Black people make up 38 percent of the state’s population and a startling 66 percent of COVID-19 fatalities.) Owing to factors like the siting of toxic dumps and new highways, Black people suffer disproportionately from underlying health conditions such as asthma and heart disease that elevate the risk of death in coronavirus patients. 

According to the APM Research Lab, as of early November, the coronavirus has killed one in 875 Black Americans, one in 925 Native Americans, and one in 1,275 Latinx Americans.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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