Kaiser Family Foundation released analysis this week regarding racial disparities during the COVID-19 crisis, by examining testing, infection, hospitalization, and death by race and ethnicity among patients in the Epic health record system. The Center for Medicare Advocacy (the Center), continues to highlight COVID-19 data and resources showing the correlation between low incomes, communities of color, and risks of illness and severity of illness, for and following infection with COVID-19. The Center aims to call attention to the ongoing, harmful health disparities exposed by the pandemic.
Key findings from the report COVID-19 Racial Disparities in Testing, Infection, Hospitalization, and Death: Analysis of Epic Patient Data include:
- People of color were more likely, compared to White patients, to be positive when tested and to require a higher level of care at the time they tested positive for COVID-19.
- Hispanic patients were over two and a half times more likely to have a positive result (311 per 1,000) and Black and Asian patients were nearly twice as likely to test positive (219 and 220 per 1,000, respectively) compared to White patients (113 per 1,000).
- Larger shares of Black, Hispanic, and Asian patients were in an inpatient setting when they tested positive for COVID-19 compared to White patients, and they also were more likely to require oxygen or ventilation at the time of diagnosis.
- Black, Hispanic, and Asian patients had significantly higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death compared to their White counterparts.
- Racial disparities in hospitalization and death persisted among positive patients even after controlling for certain sociodemographic factors and underlying differences in health, with Asian patients exhibiting the highest relative risk.
September 17, 2020 – K. Kertesz