A high percentage of COVID-19 cases in hot spots are among people of color, particularly Hispanic and Black residents, according to a new analysis released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Among 79 counties identified as COVID-19 hot spots, 76 had a disproportionate number of cases among communities of color between February and June, according to the data released Friday.
The CDC said that another 126 counties were also considered hot spots, but those did not have enough racial data of COVID-19 cases to include in the analysis.
Disparities among Hispanic people were found in 59 of those counties as well as among Black people in 22 of the 79 counties. Those groups made up a greater proportion of cases despite making up a smaller part of the population compared to white people.
North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Arkansas, Utah, Florida and Tennessee had the highest numbers of counties with disparities among Hispanics, while Michigan and South Carolina had the highest numbers of counties with disparities among Black people.
People of color are more likely to be considered essential workers, such as in meatpacking and health care fields, putting them at greater risk for exposure to the virus.
Other studies have shown that people of color disproportionately experience serious COVID-19 illness or death because they are more likely to have underlying health conditions due to unequal access to health care and discrimination in health care settings.
Studying the impact on communities of color in hot spots can help better direct testing and prevention resources, the CDC authors wrote, and “improve community-wide health outcomes related to COVID-19.”