Studies suggest public transit use is correlated to higher coronavirus death rates, including contributing to the higher rate of African American COVID-19 deaths, according to The Wall Street Journal.
University of Virginia economist John McLaren's study, controlling for the use of public transit, found the racial disparity in deaths to be less pronounced than the entire population, per the report.
McLaren's study reflected racial death discrepancy remained even when controlling for income or insurance rates, too, the Journal reported.
In the other study, after controlling for race, income, age, climate, and other characteristics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers found a 10% increase in those who used public transit raised COVID-19 death rates by 1.21 per 1,000 people, per the report.
Taking the public transit is almost 3 times higher among Black commuters than white commuters, according to the U.S. Census, and Blacks are 3.5 times more likely to die of COVID-19, per the Journal, citing researchers at Yale University and the University of Pittsburgh.
The MIT study conducted by Christopher Knittel and Bora Ozaltun surmised close proximity to strangers on public transit leave them more vulnerable to getting sick.
But even U.S. counties with higher shares of those who drove or walked to work vs. telecommuting also saw higher death rates, which suggests leaving the home contributes to greater risk of COVID-19 death, too, per the MIT research.
The findings will further complicate reopening efforts as the Trump administration is reporting lower death rates despite increased COVID-19 positive cases amid enhanced testing capacity and executive nationwide, particularly in urban areas.
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