As the coronavirus spread across the United States, sweeping through low-income, densely populated communities, black and Hispanic patients have been dying at higher rates than white patients.
Crowded living conditions, poorer overall health and limited access to care have been blamed, among other factors. But a new study suggests that the disparity is particularly acute for black patients.
The disparity remained even after researchers took into account differences in age, sex, income and the prevalence of chronic health problems that exacerbate Covid-19, like hypertension and Type 2 diabetes.
The finding suggests that black patients may have had limited access to medical care or that they postponed seeking help until later in the course of their illness, when the disease was more advanced.
Black patients were also far less likely than white, Hispanic or Asian patients to have been tested for the virus before going to the emergency room for care.