MKE epidemiologist finds African-Americans more likely to contract COVID-19

Posted at 5:30 AM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 08:01:46-05

MILWAUKEE — As we all wait for a COVID-19 vaccine to roll out, a Milwaukee epidemiologist studied the racial disparities of those who have contracted the virus.

She found African-Americans were five times more likely to contract coronavirus, than any other race.

Dr. Silvia Munoz-Price studied every COVID-19 patient treated at Froedtert Health hospitals. She believes structural racism, including fair housing and health opportunities, is the core cause of many issues.

She explains, “If they live in a poor neighborhood we have poor outcomes it is not the race itself, and many aspects that have to do with structural racism. Race, poverty, and where people live all go together.”

The CDC estimates COVID-19 hospitalization rates are up to 4.5 times higher among Black, Hispanic and Native American populations, “But the reason why we were seeing more ICU patients that were African-American is because there were more African-Americans testing positive,” Dr. Munoz-Price explained.

She found people at most risk live in crowded multi-generational households, are essential workers, and use public transportation.

She adds, “I think this is a wake-up call to a high degree of segregation and inequalities in our city having a major impact on the outcomes of this pandemic.”

We reached out to The City of Milwaukee Health Department to see if they will be following the CDC’s social vulnerability index. They say they will not share specific plans with the public just yet.

Click here to read the epidemiologist’s full research on race and COVID-19.

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