Blog by Sharon Franklin
On May 7, 2020 A group from the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. has steadily climbed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local governments continue to release data about the characteristics of people who have developed serious illness when infected with coronavirus, as well as the number of hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19. The emerging national and state level data suggest that serious illness resulting from coronavirus disproportionately affects people in communities of color, due to the underlying health and economic challenges. Notably, adults with low incomes are more likely to have higher rates of chronic conditions compared to adults with high incomes, which could increase their risk of serious illness, if infected with coronavirus.
The Key Findings Show
In a previous study this research group found that approximately one in five adults (21%) ages 18-64 have a higher risk of developing serious illness, if they become infected with the coronavirus due to underlying health conditions. In this study they found that American Indian/Alaska Native and Black Adults are at higher risk of serious illness if infected with coronavirus than White adults. More than one in three (34%) American Indian/Alaska Native and 27% Black Adults are at higher risk of serious Illness if infected with the Coronavirus, greater than other racial and ethnic groups.
More than one in four (27%) Black non-elderly adults who are at a higher risk of serious illness if infected with the coronavirus, compared to about one in five (21%) of White adults.
More than one in three (35%) non-elderly adults with household incomes below $15,000 are at higher risk of serious illness if infected with coronavirus, compared to about one in seven (16%) adults with household incomes greater than $50,000. See Figure 2.
Conclusion: American Indian/Alaska Native and Black Adults are at higher risk of serious illness if infected with the Coronavirus, compared to White adults; and A larger share of non-elderly adults with lower household income compared to higher household incomes have a greater risk of serious illness if they are infected with the coronavirus.
- Because of underlying health conditions that are more prevalent among American Indian/Alaska Native and Black non-elderly adults especially with incomes less than $15,000.
- Individuals with low incomes who work in jobs defined as essential such as grocery store workers, delivery drivers or home health aides may often put themselves at higher risk of contracting coronavirus than others who are able to shelter in place and follow guidelines for social distancing.
- Lack of health insurance could also pose challenges to people seeking treatment for COVID-19, which could disproportionately affect non-elderly adults with low incomes and people in communities of color.
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