Addressing Racial Inequalities in Medicine

April 22, 2021

(Science) – COVID-19 inequitably affects marginalized racial and ethnic populations across the world. A review of more than 17 million adult patients in the United Kingdom revealed a nearly twofold risk of death from COVID-19 among Black and Asian populations compared with white populations (1). Black people comprise 12.5% of the US population, yet they account for more than 18% of COVID-19 associated deaths (2). Although Black and Latinx populations in the US experience higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and deaths compared with white populations, they have similar case fatality rates, suggesting that there is no innate vulnerability or susceptibility to COVID-19 (3). Persistent COVID-19 racial and ethnic inequities are likely caused by structural racism that results in an increased risk of exposure and inadequate health care access in communities of color (3).