Far too many patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Georgia are black, new CDC data shows — a staggering 83%
83% of people in Georgia hospitalized with COVID-19 during March were black, according to a CDC report released Wednesday. Black people account for 32% of the state's overall population. The findings reinforce other national data showing that black communities have been the hardest hit by the virus in the US. "It is critical that public-health officials ensure that prevention activities prioritize communities and racial groups most affected by COVID-19," the report said. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Wednesday found that 83% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Georgia during March were black. "The proportion of hospitalized patients who were black was higher than expected based on overall hospital admissions," the report said. The CDC looked at demographic data from 305 coronavirus patients admitted to eight hospitals — seven in Atlanta and one in southern Georgia — and found that, out of the 297 cases in which race was known, 247 patients were black. Black people account for 52% of the overall population in Atlanta and 32% in Georgia, meaning they were significantly overrepresented in COVID-19 hospitalizations. The report came days after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp allowed some businesses in the state to reopen, despite pushback from some local officials. Georgia has over 26,000 reported cases of the coronavirus; according to projections, the outbreak there won't reach its peak until after May 2. Here's the breakdown of Georgia's coronavirus hospitalizations, by race.Black people in Georgia accounted for 83% of COVID-19 hospitalizations, compared to just 32% of the state's population.
The study doesn't account for every coronavirus patient in the state, and focuses primarily on Atlanta hospitals, but the disparity it found aligns with findings in California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Kansas, and North Carolina, as well as the US more broadly. In all of those places, black communities are being hit hardest by the virus. "We do not think people of color are biologically or genetically disposed to get COVID-19," US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said earlier this month. "But they are socially predisposed to coronavirus exposure and to have a higher incidence of the very diseases that put you at risk for severe complications from coronavirus." Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said earlier in April that the disparity most likely has to do with the prevalence of "underlying medical conditions — the diabetes, the hypertension, the obesity, the asthma." A CDC report released earlier in April found that 33% of the country's COVID-19 hospitalizations the prior month were black patients, though they make up 18% of the overall US population.
"When you're in the middle of a crisis, like we are now with the coronavirus, it really does have, ultimately, shine a very bright light on some of the real weaknesses and foibles in our society," Fauci said earlier in April. He added, "we will get over coronavirus — but there will still be health disparities which we really do need to address in the African American community." The racial disparity in the CDC's Georgia report was also stark relative to Atlanta's population, where most of the hospitals studied are located.
Public-health officials have repeatedly called attention to the racial disparities in the outbreak and said prevention and response efforts should focus on groups hit hardest. "It is critical that public-health officials ensure that prevention activities prioritize communities and racial groups most affected by COVID-19," the report said.