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COVID-19 Disparities for Black Americans

by Katelyn Q. Manwiller Feb 25, 2021
Trexler Library

During Black History Month, it’s important to recognize not only historical inequalities but also current issues facing Black Americans, like the racial disparities in the COVID-19 pandemic. Black Americans have died at twice the rate of white Americans, and in some places the death rate is four to six times higher among Black people. In an interview with Scientific American, epidemiologist and researcher on racial health inequities Camara Phyllis Jones attributes this disparity to the pervasive impacts of racism across American culture that have led to people of color being "more exposed and less protected from the virus and has burdened them with chronic diseases.” 

In addition to the higher risk of getting and dying from the virus, Black Americans face inequities with the vaccine distribution. A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that of the 17 states reporting vaccine distribution by race/ethnicity on January 19, 2021, “the share of vaccinations among Black people is smaller than their share of cases in all 16 reporting states and smaller than their share of deaths in 15 states.” This disparity is true for other people of color, notability Hispanic Americans.

For more information on the impact of race and ethnicity on the pandemic, see our Library Services During COVID-19 guide. You can find more resources about Black History Month on our dedicated guide as well.