Are there racial and ethnic differences in COVID-19 outcomes?

Bottom Line:

Differences in in-hospital mortality to COVID-19 between white and black patients reflect racial differences in the types of jobs with increased risk of community exposure, socioeconomic status, prevalence of chronic conditions, and characteristics of initial clinical presentation .


Price-Haywood, E.G. et al. Hospitalization and Mortality among Black Patients and White Patients with Covid-19. New England Journal of Medicine (2020). DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa2011686

Date Published:

27 May 2020


In this retrospective study, 3481 patients with COVID-19 in one Louisiana integrated-health system were studied. 70.4% of patients were black non-Hispanic people, and 29.6% white non-Hispanic patients. Black patients had a higher prevalence of conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and chronic kidney disease. Furthermore, the results showed that 70.6% of patients who died from COVID-19 disease were black. Variables associated with higher mortality in the hospital were older age, elevated breathing rate, and abnormal lab results including high levels of lactate, creatinine, procalcitonin, platelet, and white blood cells. This study provides insights into how existing racial differences have contributed to differences in COVID-19 mortality.

Summary by: Sheida Naderi-Azad