The COVID-19 Crisis: An Opportunity To Build A Fairer, Healthier Nation

Articles, Publications | June 26 2020

By Nadia J. Siddiqui, Dennis P. Andrulis, Derek A. Chapman, Kimberly Wilson, Beth Jacob, Gail C. Christopher, Naima Wong Croal

As Americans struggle with the protracted impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is increasingly difficult to avoid some sobering truths. Although comprehensive data on COVID-19 cases by poverty, race, and ethnicity remain limited, every day new numbers emerge showing the virus’ disproportionate toll on the poor, the marginalized, and communities of color.

For example, dramatically increased COVID-19 mortality has been observed in US counties with the highest poverty rates (19.3 deaths per 1,000 in counties with ≥20 percent living in poverty, compared to a range of 6.5 to 11.1 deaths per 1,000 in higher income counties) and in counties with the largest percentage of persons of color (17.1 deaths per 1,000). In 85 percent of states (17 of 20) with reliable COVID-19 data on race and ethnicity, black Americans had higher than expected COVID-19 diagnosis rates based on their share of the population within the state—and in 70 percent (14 of 20 states), black Americans were more likely to die from COVID-19, according to our analysis of The COVID Tracking Project data as of June 18, 2020 (Read more).