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African-Americans and other ethnic minorities in the US are far more likely to be infected with the new coronavirus than Caucasians, a finding that highlights the social divide and inequalities between the communities, according to a study in Houston, Texas.


African-Americans had an 80 per cent higher infection rate for the disease known as Covid-19, according to the study led by Dr Farhaan Vahidy with the Houston Methodist Hospital and released in a non-peer reviewed paper posted on medRxiv.org on Tuesday.


The infection rate for Hispanics was 70 per cent more than Caucasians, while the rate for Asians stood at more than 40 per cent higher.


The strong association between racial and ethnic minorities and Sars-CoV-2 infection demonstrated in our data highlights a potential catastrophe of inequality within the existential crisis of a global pandemic, the researchers said, using the clinical name for the coronavirus.


What happened in Houston might be happening in other US cities, they said.


The Houston metropolitan area is one of the most diverse and representative in the US, and our health care system is one of the largest systems providing care to Covid-19 patients in the Greater Houston area, the paper said.



The study analysed more than 4,500 patients recorded in the hospitals Covid-19 surveillance and outcome registry in a five-week period from March 5. The chance of infection was adjusted by the proportion of each ethnic group in the local population.



The high risk for African-Americans could be linked to living conditions, according to Vahidy and collaborators from other research institutes, including Texas A&M University. More African-Americans lived in areas of high population density and were less able to maintain the social distancing recommended by the World Health Organisation, the researchers said.



Lower social-economic status and lack of proper health care access was a possible main reason behind high infection rates in the Hispanic community, according to the study.


Previous studies of the H1N1 flu outbreaks in the US had found that the African-American and Hispanic populations were more likely to fall victim to infection by that virus for similar reasons. Existing health complaints in the communities, such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity, could also weaken the immune system and make them more susceptible to infection.


But the researchers did not provide an explanation for the finding that indicated Asians in the study group had a 46 per cent higher risk of infection than Caucasians.


Luo Bin, associate professor of public health with Lanzhou University in Gansu, China, said this result was a surprise.


It was generally believed that Asian-Americans were among the least infected because many had taken measures to protect themselves even before lockdowns and social distancing orders were issued by local governments.



Luo said that the number of Asian patients in the study was only about 400, considerably smaller than the 2,500 Caucasian patients. A more balanced and larger data set would provide more reliable results, said Luo, who was not involved in the Houston study.


The full picture of racial ethnic differences among patients infected with the new coronavirus remains unclear in the United States and the world. In the US, some states do not reveal ethnic background in the publicly released data on infection cases.


But there is growing evidence that African-Americans have died more frequently than people in other ethnic groups after contracting the disease.


In more than 30 states with available data, African-Americans had a 2.7 times higher mortality rate than that for Caucasians, according to a study by APM Research Lab released on Tuesday. In some states such as Kansas and Wisconsin the death rate could be as high as seven times.


Collectively, black Americans represent 13 per cent of the population in states releasing data, but have suffered 27 per cent deaths, the APM study said.


In Georgia, where Atlanta is, more than 80 per cent of Covid-19 patients treated in hospital were African-American, according to another study posted on the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention website on Wednesday.


Studies of Covid-19 patient groups have also thrown up seemingly opposite findings in other parts of the world.


Abdel Abdellaoui, a professor of psychiatry with the University of Amsterdam, ran a study during the early stage of the outbreak in Britain.



People carrying genes associated with higher educational attainment and better health tended to be more likely to test positive for the virus, according to his non-peer reviewed paper posted on medRxiv.org on Tuesday.


Higher reported Covid-19 case rates are in line with higher cognitive abilities, higher income, and better health outcomes including lower BMI, body fat and cardiovascular risk, Abdellaoui said.


The genetic variance may reflect a higher degree of international travellers, more social contacts, and/or better testing capacities in higher socioeconomic regions meaning more chance of being infected and confirmed with the virus in the early stage of the global pandemic.


Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk

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Why are black Americans hardest hit by the coronavirus?

Tap "WorldWire" above  to follow us



African-Americans and other ethnic minorities in the US are far more likely to be infected with the new coronavirus than Caucasians, a finding that highlights the social divide and inequalities between the communities, according to a study in Houston, Texas.


African-Americans had an 80 per cent higher infection rate for the disease known as Covid-19, according to the study led by Dr Farhaan Vahidy with the Houston Methodist Hospital and released in a non-peer reviewed paper posted on medRxiv.org on Tuesday.


The infection rate for Hispanics was 70 per cent more than Caucasians, while the rate for Asians stood at more than 40 per cent higher.


The strong association between racial and ethnic minorities and Sars-CoV-2 infection demonstrated in our data highlights a potential catastrophe of inequality within the existential crisis of a global pandemic, the researchers said, using the clinical name for the coronavirus.


What happened in Houston might be happening in other US cities, they said.


The Houston metropolitan area is one of the most diverse and representative in the US, and our health care system is one of the largest systems providing care to Covid-19 patients in the Greater Houston area, the paper said.



The study analysed more than 4,500 patients recorded in the hospitals Covid-19 surveillance and outcome registry in a five-week period from March 5. The chance of infection was adjusted by the proportion of each ethnic group in the local population.



The high risk for African-Americans could be linked to living conditions, according to Vahidy and collaborators from other research institutes, including Texas A&M University. More African-Americans lived in areas of high population density and were less able to maintain the social distancing recommended by the World Health Organisation, the researchers said.



Lower social-economic status and lack of proper health care access was a possible main reason behind high infection rates in the Hispanic community, according to the study.


Previous studies of the H1N1 flu outbreaks in the US had found that the African-American and Hispanic populations were more likely to fall victim to infection by that virus for similar reasons. Existing health complaints in the communities, such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity, could also weaken the immune system and make them more susceptible to infection.


But the researchers did not provide an explanation for the finding that indicated Asians in the study group had a 46 per cent higher risk of infection than Caucasians.


Luo Bin, associate professor of public health with Lanzhou University in Gansu, China, said this result was a surprise.


It was generally believed that Asian-Americans were among the least infected because many had taken measures to protect themselves even before lockdowns and social distancing orders were issued by local governments.



Luo said that the number of Asian patients in the study was only about 400, considerably smaller than the 2,500 Caucasian patients. A more balanced and larger data set would provide more reliable results, said Luo, who was not involved in the Houston study.


The full picture of racial ethnic differences among patients infected with the new coronavirus remains unclear in the United States and the world. In the US, some states do not reveal ethnic background in the publicly released data on infection cases.


But there is growing evidence that African-Americans have died more frequently than people in other ethnic groups after contracting the disease.


In more than 30 states with available data, African-Americans had a 2.7 times higher mortality rate than that for Caucasians, according to a study by APM Research Lab released on Tuesday. In some states such as Kansas and Wisconsin the death rate could be as high as seven times.


Collectively, black Americans represent 13 per cent of the population in states releasing data, but have suffered 27 per cent deaths, the APM study said.


In Georgia, where Atlanta is, more than 80 per cent of Covid-19 patients treated in hospital were African-American, according to another study posted on the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention website on Wednesday.


Studies of Covid-19 patient groups have also thrown up seemingly opposite findings in other parts of the world.


Abdel Abdellaoui, a professor of psychiatry with the University of Amsterdam, ran a study during the early stage of the outbreak in Britain.



People carrying genes associated with higher educational attainment and better health tended to be more likely to test positive for the virus, according to his non-peer reviewed paper posted on medRxiv.org on Tuesday.


Higher reported Covid-19 case rates are in line with higher cognitive abilities, higher income, and better health outcomes including lower BMI, body fat and cardiovascular risk, Abdellaoui said.


The genetic variance may reflect a higher degree of international travellers, more social contacts, and/or better testing capacities in higher socioeconomic regions meaning more chance of being infected and confirmed with the virus in the early stage of the global pandemic.


Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk

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