how covid-19 affects race

by The Asian Hispanic Empowerment Organization


Although we have all been affected by the recent pandemic, the United States has been the host to an interesting phenomenon relating to the Coronavirus. In a June CDC report, the agency highlighted the racial division between cases, total hospitalizations, and death rate. The report concluded that the most affected group were American Indians, as they had a 2.8x greater possibility of contracting the virus, 5.3x greater hospitalization rate, and a 1.4x greater mortality rate. In second place relating to the most affect racial groups in the country are African Americans as they have 2.6x greater possibility of contracting the virus, 4,7x greater hospitalization rate, and a 2.1x greater mortality rate. To understand this data it’s critical to highlight that the result of this data is not a genetic difference but a mixture of political, socioeconomic, and environmental factors (CDC - COVID-19 Hospitalization and Death by Race/Ethnicity). As stated by many high ranking officials, COVID-19 did not destroy the American system, rather it highlighted its weakness.


In the United States, there is a massive wealth discrepancy between different racial groups, an example of this gap can be found between the average white income and the average Latin American income. In 2018 it was reported that a white non-Hispanic would on average make $62,285.71 per year, while the average Hispanic or Latino would make $38,484.99 per year. This financial difference has played a key role in the racial division between COVID-19 patients, as the difference in income usually also presents a difference in working flexibility. When we refer to working flexibility when discussing certain aspects of labour, which are the ability to work from home, and the overall public reliance on labour. Most office jobs have been able to send their employees home and resume work through virtual means, but that is not applicable to service-based jobs. A worker at a restaurant or a worker in a storage house needs to remain on-sight to continue labour, which makes social distancing significantly more difficult. Statistically speaking, more minorities are employed in these types of jobs, which is a pattern which one can observe in the wealth inequality and income inequality between white and minority labour.


In continuation to working conditions, minorities also tend to live more concentrated areas. The greater concentration also creates an environment which can allow for the virus to spread more aggressively. Due to a 1950’s migration of white citizens from cities to suburbs, inner cities areas tend to have a greater concentration of minority families, which continues the racial divide between minorities and COVID-19.

sources: CDC.gov and Vox News