artist's rendering of the coronavirus

Medicine’s Uma Mahajan, Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew write about relationship between racial demographics and COVID-19

Uma Mahajan, a first-year student at the School of Medicine, and Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew, assistant dean of students, published an article titled “Racial demographics and COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths: a correlational analysis of 2886 US counties.” The article is nationwide study examining the relationship between race and COVID-19 on a county level.

Mahajan and Larkins-Pettigrew found a significant, positive correlation between the percentage of African Americans living in a county and its COVID-19 burden (as measured by percentage of COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths). The authors also examined the relationship between county case mortality (confirmed deaths divided by confirmed cases, representing likelihood of death once the disease is contracted) and county racial demographics; a weak correlation was found, which grew stronger over time.

The authors urge for targeted resources directed toward future work that further examines the racial impacts and associations among COVID-19 patients, to better achieve health equity and combat preventable disparities in future infectious disease burden.

Read the study in the Journal of Public Health.