The Shifting Demographics of Covid-19

For most of the Covid-19 pandemic, Black Americans died at much higher rates than White Americans. That trend has reversed at times during the past year.

2 minute read

October 23, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


A group of protestors oppose mandatory vaccinations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A June 2020 vaccination protest in Albany, New York. | Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock

The racial and environmental justice issues brought to the forefront by fatality rates from Covid-19 at the beginning of the pandemic, with Black Americans dying at much higher rates than White Americans, has completely reversed in 2022, according to recent analysis by the Washington Post. 

"The imbalance in death rates among the nation’s racial and ethnic groups has been a defining part of the pandemic since the start," according to a feature article by Akilah Johnson and Dan Keating. That's no longer the case, however. "Over time, the gap in deaths widened and narrowed but never disappeared — until mid-October 2021, when the nation’s pattern of covid mortality changed, with the rate of death among White Americans sometimes eclipsing other groups," write the duo. The analysis found that the racial disparity vanished at the end of 2021.

As noted in the article, Covid fatality rates in Black Americans are influenced by poor public health outcomes from environmental conditions in Black communities. Black Americans suffer from higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity than White people—all of which contribute to higher rates of fatalities from Covid-19.

But, Covid-19 is also more likely to kill the unvaccinated, who are more likely to be Republican and White.  

As noted in the article, Black Americans aren't the only racial group dealing with the consequences of unhealthy environments during the pandemic: "Cumulatively, Black, Latino and Native American people are 60 percent more likely to die of covid," according to the article. 

The percentage could continue to balance if the trends identified in the source article below continue, as they would seem prepared to do with Covid continuing to mutate and vaccination rates continuing to decline.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 in The Washington Post

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