Image for post
Image for post

Are we underestimating COVID-19 racial disparities?

Calculating COVID-19 racial disparities is complicated. Here’s how to do it right.

To trust, you must adjust (for population)

Image for post
Image for post
Figure 1: COVID-19 deaths by race/ethnicity, U.S. national. Source: CDC.
Image for post
Image for post
Figure 2: Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Native people are at greater risk of dying from COVID-19 than White people. Source: CDC.

Don’t forget to correct for geographic distribution

Image for post
Image for post
Figure 3: Relative risk changes when we correct for each racial group’s share of the population in areas hit by COVID-19. Source: CDC.

Age matters, too

Image for post
Image for post
Figure 4a: Nationwide, older age groups bear a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 deaths. Note: Numbers are unweighted for geographic distribution of the virus. Source: CDC.
Image for post
Image for post
Figure 4b: Nationwide, relative risk of death from COVID-19 increases greatly with age. Note: Numbers are unweighted for geographic distribution of the virus. Source: CDC.
Image for post
Image for post
Figure 5a: Nationally, relative risk of death from COVID-19 is greater for Black people and Hispanic people in every age group. Note: Numbers are unweighted for geographic distribution of the virus. Source: CDC.
Image for post
Image for post
Figure 5b: Younger Black and Hispanic people have a much higher risk of death from COVID-19 relative to White people of the same age. Note: Numbers are unweighted for geographic distribution of the virus. Source: CDC.

Completing the picture

Image for post
Image for post
Figure 6: Relative risk changes when we correct for geographic and age distributions of each racial group in areas hit by COVID-19. Source: CDC.

Factoring in geography + age is key

Image for post
Image for post
Figure 7. Correcting for geography, age, and geography and age reveals the true relative risk of death from COVID-19 for racial minority groups, compared with White people. Source: CDC.

Written by

We use all the tools available from behavioral science, data science, and artificial intelligence to unlock solutions that will save and improve people’s lives.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store