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CDC Finds COVID-19 Has Taken A Bigger Toll On Communities Of Color Than Previously Thought

Refrigerated trailers deployed at the Medical Examiner's Office in El Paso
Bodies are moved to refrigerated trailers, deployed during a surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) deaths, outside the County of El Paso Medical Examiners Office which is located next to a graveyard in El Paso, Texas, U.S. November 16, 2020. REUTERS/Ivan Pierre Aguirre

After re-evaluating its death data related to race and ethnicity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that the coronavirus is taking a much heavier toll on people of color than previously understood.

This second look has determined that Latino and Black people in the United States are dying at much younger ages and at a rate of almost three times that of white people in the U.S.

The revision came after Sen, Elizabeth Warren called on the CDC to adjust its data by age.

“By failing to adjust COVID-19 mortality rates by age in its public data releases, the CDC may not be providing an accurate assessment of the increased risk of death and serious illness for communities of color relative to White Americans of the same age,” she wrote in a letter to CDC Director Dr Robert Redfield.

Baylor College of Medicine Vaccine Scientist Dr. Peter Hotez has followed COVID-19’s impact on the Latino population in Texas, which he said was a historic decimation of a community.

“This is robbing the Hispanic community of a generation of mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters.”

Texas’ COVID-19 data reflects the nationwide trend. Latino people make up 39.7% of the state’s population, but represent 53% of statewide deaths related to the coronavirus.

This new data underscores a message about vaccines that Hotez has been adamant about sharing far and wide: At-risk populations need to be as close to the front of the vaccine line as possible.

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Bonnie Petrie can be reached at Bonnie@TPR.org and on Twitter at @kbonniepetrie
Kathleen Creedon can be reached at kathleen@tpr.org or on Twitter at @Kath_Creedon