The Atlantic

What’s Behind the COVID-19 Racial Disparity?

Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.
Source: Getty / The Atlantic

COVID-19 is killing black Americans with horrifying precision. Black Americans get the disease at a higher rate than white people do. Retirement homes with black residents become outbreak clusters. Black people die of COVID-19 at a higher rate than white people do—and that rate is even higher than it may seem, according to a study released last week by Yale University’s Cary P. Gross and co-authors. When you account for age—black people are on average younger than white people, and should therefore be expected to die at a lower rate, not a higher one—black mortality is 3.57 times white mortality.

A multiplier of 3.57 is a national shame. After all, the virus knows no race or nationality; it can’t peek checks for it, and provides the discrimination on the virus’s behalf. The effects of that discrimination are found in the morgues.

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