Public Health. 2020 Nov 28;190:93-98. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2020.11.021. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: The objective of the study is the identification of racial differences in characteristics and comorbidities in patients hospitalized for COVID-19 and the impact on outcomes.
STUDY DESIGN: The study design is a retrospective observational study.
METHODS: Data for all patients admitted to seven community hospitals in Michigan, United States, with polymerase chain reaction confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 from March 10 to April 15, 2020 were analyzed. The primary outcomes of racial disparity in inpatient mortality and intubation were analyzed using descriptive statistics and multivariate regression models.
RESULTS: The study included 336 Black and 408 White patients. Black patients were younger (62.9 ± 15.0 years vs 71.8 ± 16.4, P < .001), had a higher mean body mass index (32.4 ± 8.6 kg/m2 vs 28.8 ± 7.5, P < .001), had higher prevalence of diabetes (136/336 vs 130/408, P = .02), and presented later (6.6 ± 5.3 days after symptom onset vs. 5.4 ± 5.4, P = .006) compared with White patients. Younger Black patients had a higher prevalence of obesity (age <65 years, 69.9%) than older Black patients (age >65 years, 39.2%) and younger White patients (age < 65, 55.1%). Intubation did not reach statistical significance for racial difference (Black patients 61/335 vs. 54/406, P = .08). Mortality was not higher in Black patients (65/335 vs. 142/406 in White patients, odds ratio 0.61, 95% confidence interval: 0.37 to 0.99, 2-sided P = .05) in multivariate analysis, accounting for other risk factors associated with mortality.
CONCLUSIONS: Higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes in young Black populations may be the critical factor driving disproportionate COVID-19 hospitalizations in Black populations. Hospitalized Black patients do not have worse outcomes compared with White patients.