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COVID-19 Rates in Kids are Higher in Minorities, Socioeconomically Disadvantaged

AUG 05, 2020 | JOHN PARKINSON
The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) incidence rates in American black and Hispanic children is much higher than white children, according to data from a new study.

Positive rates were 7% of non-Hispanic white children, about 30% of non-Hispanic Black and 46% of Hispanic children.

Monika Goyal, MD, MSCE, pediatric emergency medicine specialist and associate division chief in the Division of Emergency Medicine at Children's National in Washington, DC and her team looked at data collected between March 21-April 28, 2020, from a drive-through/walk-up COVID-19 testing site. 

They looked at the first 1000 patients tested at this site and they found that infection rates differed dramatically among different racial and ethnic groups. 

Their results were published in Pediatrics.

"You're going from about one in 10 non-Hispanic white children to one in three nonHispanic Black children and one in two Hispanic children. It's striking,” Goyal said.

Using data from the American Families Survey, which uses five-year census estimates derived from home address to estimate median family income, the researchers separated the group of 1000 patients into estimated family income quartiles. They found marked disparities in COVID-19 positivity rates by income levels: while those in the highest quartile had infection rates of about 9%, about 38% of those in the lowest quartile were infected.

Of the 10% of patients who reported known exposure to COVID-19, about 11% of these were nonHispanic white. However, nonHispanic black children were triple that number.

"Some possible reasons may be socioeconomic factors that increase exposure, differences in access to health care and resources, as well as structural racism," says Dr. Goyal.

“There's still so much work to be done to achieve health equity for children,” Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA, chief medical officer of Ambulatory and Community Health Services at Children's National and the research study's senior author.
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