National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations
COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups
Recent studies released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)1,2 and the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) suggests a disproportionate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups. About 1 in 3 people who become sick enough to require hospitalization from COVID-19 were ethnic minorities. 3
“The study of about 1,500 hospitalized patients in 14 states underscores the long-standing racial disparities in health care in the U.S. It also echoes what has been seen in other coronavirus outbreaks around the world — people with chronic health conditions have a higher likelihood of developing a serious illness after being infected with coronavirus. Overall, the report found that about 90% of people in the hospital with COVID-19 had at least one underlying health condition. Half (50%) had high blood pressure, 48% were obese, 35% had chronic lung disease and 28% had diabetes and cardiovascular disease”.4 In 2013, the CDC released the “Health Disparities and Inequalities Report 4 examining some of the key factors that affect health and lead to health disparities in the United States. Significant findings revealed four major concerns on health disparities:
- Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Non-Hispanic
black adults are at least 50% more likely to die of heart disease or stroke prematurely
(i.e., before age 75 years) than their non-Hispanic white counterparts.
- The prevalence of adult diabetes is higher among Hispanics, non-Hispanic blacks, and
those of other or mixed races than among Asians and non-Hispanic whites. Prevalence is
also higher among adults without college degrees and those with lower household
- The infant mortality rate for non-Hispanic blacks is more than double the rate for non-Hispanic whites. Rates also vary geographically, with higher rates in the South and
Midwest than in other parts of the country.
- Men are far more likely to commit suicide than women, regardless of age or
race/ethnicity, with overall rates nearly four times those of women. For both men and
women, suicide rates are highest among American Indians/Alaska Natives and non-Hispanic whites.