Black and Hispanic People More Likely Than White People to Experience Long COVID
A new study showed that Black and Hispanic people face a greater risk of developing long COVID than White individuals. The researchers confidentially reviewed the health records of of 62,339 people diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 2020 and October 2021, finding that Black and Hispanic patients were much more likely than white patients to suffer from symptoms of long COVID. Up to 6 months after testing positive for the virus, Black patients with severe COVID-19 were 52% more likely to experience headaches and 61% more likely suffer from chest pain than were White patients with the same level of infection. Black patients with a severe case of COVID-19 were more than twice as likely (96%) to develop diabetes post-COVID, compared with White individuals. Similarly, Hispanic patients with severe COVID-19 had a greater likelihood of experiencing headaches (62% higher) and difficulty breathing (22% higher) than White people with the same initial diagnosis. This pattern held true for people who had mild to moderate COVID-19 infections not requiring hospitalization. The effect of socioeconomic differences between White, Black and Hispanic populations and less access to timely treatment are just two possible reasons for these racial inequities. A robust body of evidence shows that these two causes, along with other social factors, have led to people of color bearing a disproportionate burden from the COVID-19 pandemic. The study’s lead researchers add that “further research is needed to better understand the mechanisms for these differences in symptoms and access to care, and also if diagnostic codes assigned by clinicians may play a role”.
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