Study comes days after Georgia Governor Brian Kempsome of the state’s businesses – a decision condemned as premature and dangerous by local black leaders as well as public health officials and .
The CDC study, which isinterviewed eight state hospitals – seven in the Atlanta metropolitan area and one in southern Georgia. In the sample of 305 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in March, 247 – 83.2% – were black. In comparison, 32 patients (10.8%) were white, 10 (3.4%) were Hispanic and eight (2.7%) were Asian or Pacific Islanders.
“The proportion of hospital patients who were black was higher than expected based on overall hospital admissions,” said the study.
The analysis found that black patients were not much more likely to need a ventilator or to die during their hospital stay. They were also not significantly more likely to have diabetes or cardiovascular disease, although data from other studies have shown that black Americans in general are more likely to have these conditions, which may expose them to a higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19.
The study underscored the importance of considering the racial groups hardest hit by COVID-19 in responding to the crisis.
“It is essential that public health officials ensure that prevention activities give priority to the communities and racial groups most affected by COVID-19,” said the study.
Overall, African Americans make up more than 36% of confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia, according to the state health department, slightly higher than their share of the state’s 32% population. And Georgia is hardly alone in seeing its black residents bear the brunt.
In Maryland, blacks make up 31% of the population but almost 45% of probable coronavirus deaths. In Louisiana, they represent 33% of the population and 56% of deaths. Major cities including New York,, and Washington D.C. also reported racial disparities in the cases.
Georgia is one of the first states to begin easing home restrictions during the pandemic, with some businesses, including gyms, hair salons and bowling alleys, which opened last Friday. Cinemas and restaurants with food service reopened this week.
On Tuesday, the death toll from the virus exceeded 1,000 deaths. As of Wednesday evening, Georgia had reported at least 25,623 confirmed cases and 1,096 deaths.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottomslast week, she feared that the governor’s haste to reopen would prove “deadly” to many in her community.
“What I said was that I hope the governor is right and that I am wrong,” she said. “Because if he is wrong, more people will die. “