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What Does My Ethnicity Have To Do With My Risk of COVID-19?

Ethnicity & COVID-19

Emerging research shows that racial and ethnic minorities are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. This includes higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death. While this is particularly true in places like the United States and the United Kingdom, emerging data from Eastern Canada appears to show similar trends. Data from the US and the UK show that individuals from Black, Asian, and Hispanic ethnicities have a higher risk of COVID-19 infection than White individuals. Additionally, those of Asian ethnicity might be at higher risk of death compared to White people; however, more data is needed in this area.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has released data showing the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths related to COVID-19 by race/ethnicity compared to White people. Overall, those who are not White are at a higher risk for all three categories.

There do not appear to be any genetic or biological explanations for this difference. However, these subgroups do have a greater burden of underlying chronic health conditions. Racism and structural discrimination, socioeconomic status, living and working conditions, and access to health care and testing are other factors that must be considered.

Race-based data collection is ongoing and gaining traction. Provinces in Canada have been or are starting to collect this data. Other provinces are showing readiness to share the data they have.


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