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Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published the first national data about the racial and ethnic disparities in the impact of COVID-19. While these data are still very preliminary (from only 580 cases of hospitalization because of COVID-19 from some states), the CDC reports: “Among patients with race/ethnicity data (580), 261 (45.0%) were non-Hispanic white (white), 192 (33.1%) were non-Hispanic black (black), 47 (8.1%) were Hispanic, 32 (5.5%) were Asian, two (0.3%) were American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 46 (7.9%) were of other or unknown race.” Significantly, race and ethnicity data is reported for 92% of these cases.

The report finds: “..in the COVID-NET catchment population [states from which these data were reported], approximately 59% of residents are white, 18% are black, and 14% are Hispanic; however, among 580 hospitalized COVID-19 patients with race/ethnicity data, approximately 45% were white, 33% were black, and 8% were Hispanic, suggesting that black populations might be disproportionately affected by COVID-19. These findings, including the potential impact of both sex and race on COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates, need to be confirmed with additional data.”

Unfortunately, the CDC does not report the catchment population data for Asians, and for American Indians/Alaska Natives and it is not clear whether Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander data is combined with the Asian data, or not reported at all.

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These data are based on the disease surveillance reports that CDC has been receiving about all COVID-19 cases:

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Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and the TriCaucus, have called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to report more data on the race and ethnicity of individuals being tested and treated for COVID-19.

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National medical associations, led by the American Medical Association, have similarly called for the reporting of race and ethnicity data related to COVID-19.

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