J Natl Med Assoc. 2020 Aug 7:S0027-9684(20)30149-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jnma.2020.07.009. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: There is very limited comprehensive information on disparate outcomes of black and white patients with COVID-19 infection. Reports from cities and states have suggested a discordant impact on black Americans, but no nationwide study has yet been performed. We sought to understand the differential outcomes for black and white Americans infected with COVID-19.
METHODS: We obtained case-level data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on 76,442 white and 48,338 non-Hispanic Black patients diagnosed with COVID-19, ages 0 to >80+, outlining information on hospitalization, ICU admission, ventilation, and death outcomes. Multivariate Poisson regressions were used to estimate the association of race, treating white as the reference group, controlling for sex, age group, and the presence of comorbidities.
RESULTS: Black patients were generally younger than white, were more often female, and had larger numbers of comorbidities. Compared to white patients with COVID-19, black patients had 1.4 times the risk of hospitalization (RR 1.42, p < 0.001), and almost twice the risk of requiring ICU care (RR 1.68, p < 0.001) or ventilatory support (RR 1.81, p < 0.001) after adjusting for covariates. Black patients saw a 1.36 times increased risk of death (RR 1.36, p < 0.001) compared to white. Disparities between black and white outcomes increased with advanced age.
CONCLUSION: Despite the initial descriptions of COVID-19 being a disease that affects all individuals, regardless of station, our data demonstrate the differential racial effects in the United States. This current pandemic reinforces the need to assess the unequal effects of crises on disadvantaged populations to promote population health.