According to new federal data that shows the most comprehensive look at coronavirus in the United States, racial disparities are playing out not only in big cities like Milwaukee and New York, but also in smaller communities, resulting in an infection rate that is three times higher for Black and Latino people than it is for white people.
The federal data, which was released after The New York Times sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showed a clear picture that Black and Latino people have been affected in hundreds of counties in all areas, and across all age groups, the newspaper reported Sunday.
Further, the data, which covered characteristics of 640,000 infections stretching across almost 1,000 counties in the United States, showed that Black and Latino people are almost twice as likely to die from COVID-19.
“Systemic racism doesn’t just evidence itself in the criminal justice system,” said Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas, the city's third Black mayor. In his state, more than 40% of people infected are either Black and Latino, but the groups only make up 16% of the state's population.
“It’s something that we’re seeing taking lives in not just urban America, but rural America, and all types of parts where, frankly, people deserve an equal opportunity to live — to get healthcare, to get testing, to get tracing," said Lucas.
The disparities are also showing up among Native American and Asian people, the new federal data showed.
Overall, the disparities may even be worse than reported, because race and ethnicity information was missing from more than half of the cases, as were details about how people may have become infected. It also did not include cases from the recent infection surge.
Part of the reason for the higher numbers is that many Black and Latino people have jobs that do not allow for working from home, according to health experts. Further, many rely on public transportation, and, according to the American Housing Survey, Latino people are twice as likely to live in smaller spaces of less than 500 square feet per person than white people.
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