06.23.2020

Black medicare patients with COVID-19 nearly 4 times as likely to end up in hospital

Black medicare patients with COVID-19 nearly 4 times as likely to end up in hospital Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

New federal data reinforces the stark racial disparities that have appeared with COVID-19: According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Black Americans enrolled in Medicare were hospitalized with the disease at rates nearly four times higher than their white counterparts.

Disparities were also striking among Hispanics and Asian Americans. Hispanics were more than twice as likely to be hospitalized as whites, while Asian Americans were about 50% more likely. Black and Hispanic beneficiaries were more likely to test positive for the coronavirus as well, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said.

The data "confirms long understood and stubbornly persistent disparities in health outcomes for racial and ethnic minority groups," Verma said in a press briefing Monday.

"Low socioeconomic status itself, all too often wrapped up with the racial disparities I just mentioned, represents a powerful predictor of complications from COVID-19," she added.

For the full story, visit NPR.org/Health-Shots.