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Most of Georgia’s COVID-19 Hospitalized Are Black

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May 1, 2020 - Today in the world of coronavirus news.

More than 80% of patients hospitalized for the coronavirus in Georgia in March were African Americans, according to a new CDC study released Wednesday.

The CDC, headquartered in Atlanta, surveyed eight hospitals across the state, including seven in the metro Atlanta area and one in southern Georgia.

Among the 305 COVID-19 patients, 247 — or 83% — were black. Thirty-two patients were white, 10 were Hispanic and eight were Asian or Pacific Islander.

“The proportion of hospitalized patients who were black was higher than expected based on overall hospital admissions,” the study authors wrote.

Black patients weren’t more likely to require a ventilator or die during hospitalization, according to the study. They also weren’t more likely to have diabetes or heart disease, which could affect the severity of COVID-19, though about 74% of patients overall had conditions considered high-risk for severe COVID-19. Diabetes was most common in patients between ages 50-64.

“Given the overrepresentation of black patients within this hospitalized cohort, it is important for public health officials to ensure that prevention activities prioritize communities and racial/ethnic groups most affected by COVID-19,” the study authors wrote.

About 36% of the total positive COVID-19 cases in Georgia are African American, according to the state’s public health department, which is a little higher than the state population of 32%.

Similar trends have been documented in other states, according to CBS. In Maryland, black people make up 31% of the population and 45% of coronavirus deaths. In Louisiana, black people make up 33% of the population and 56% of coronavirus deaths.

Major cities such as New York, Detroit and Washington, D.C., have also reported racial disparities in COVID-19 cases, CBS said.

WebMD Health News Brief Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on May 01, 2020

Sources

CDC MMWR: “Characteristics and Clinical Outcomes of Adult Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19 — Georgia, March 2020.”

Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report.

CBS: “More than 80% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Georgia last month were black, CDC study finds.”

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