Wednesday, April 22, 2020

COVID-19 Rate for Latinx and Black Residents Three Times That of White Residents, According to New Analysis


COVID-19 Rate for Latinx and Black Residents Three Times That of White Residents, According to New Analysis
Despite Progress, State-Reported Data Obscure Inequities and Hinder Action

Boston, MA – The Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) today released an updated analysis of state COVID-19 data, showing that, per capita, cases for Latinx residents are more than three times that of White residents, while per capita cases for Black residents are more than two-and-a-half times that of White residents.

“While there are still gaps in the data that should be addressed, we have enough data to say with a high degree of confidence that Black and Latinx residents of Massachusetts are suffering from COVID-19 infections at rates far higher than Whites,” said Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association. “The Baker Administration should release data in a way that makes this reality clear, and more importantly, should act aggressively and urgently to address these staggering inequities.”
“We’ve long known that people of color are more vulnerable to illness and disease because of the social determinants of health—jobs, housing, access to preventative health care. Now that these inequities are clear for all to see, we need and expect action from state government,” said Helena DaSilva Hughes, Executive Director of the Immigrants Assistance Center. “We all want fresh, affordable seafood from the legendary fish houses of New Bedford, but look who makes that possible—mostly black and brown people who are “essential workers” but who don’t get paid sick leave and whose wages aren’t enough for anything but shared and crowded living spaces. We must act now to ensure that all people have access to safety during the pandemic and equal opportunities for health afterwards.”
“The public release of clear and transparent demographic data is essential if Massachusetts' public health interests are to make meaningful and rapid progress in fully addressing this pandemic crisis.” said Juan Cofield, President, NAACP, New England Area Conference. “Such data will better inform the communities most affected and it will be instructive of their need to implore better protective measures.  Additionally, it will provide a road map for all to understand where more resources are needed to eliminate the pandemic crisis.”
Clear and transparent data is critical for environmental justice communities like Chelsea to advocate for themselves, organize and create change,” said Maria Belén Power, Associate Executive Director at GreenRoots. “It is no surprise or mystery that Latinx, Black and Brown communities are suffering at disproportionate rates. The class and racial disparities and inequities have existed for decades and generations, COVID19 has only exacerbated them and exposed them. 
Last week, the Task Force on Coronavirus and Equity, coordinated by MPHA, called for better public data and action plan on inequities in COVID-19 impact, and has previously called on the Legislature, Attorney General, and Governor to take a series of actions to address equity in the face of the outbreak.
The analysis from MPHA uses data beginning April 8th (the day of the Public Health Order requiring collection of race/ethnicity data) and calculates per capita rates for each racial/ethnic group. Although a considerable number of reported cases are missing race/ethnicity, the differences between the per capita rates for cases in which race/ethnicity is recorded reveal serious inequities that are likely to persist as additional data is collected. Per capita cases among Asian residents appear to be approximately 60% that of White cases, according to the analysis. However, data do not allow an analysis of variability between subgroups of Asian residents, which likely conceal inequities among some subgroups.

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