Special Report

How COVID-19 Has Disproportionately Affected Minority Communities In Every State

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36. Oklahoma
> Community w/ highest death-to-pop. ratio: White (66.0% of pop.)
> White share of COVID-19 infections: 72.3%
> White share of COVID-19 deaths: 81.5%
> County with most COVID-19 deaths: Greer County (118 per 100,000 county residents)
> Greer County population: White (75.0%); Black (8.3%); AIAN (2.4%); Asian (0.0%); NHPI (0.0%); Hispanic (11.3%)

Racial disparities in outcomes related to COVID-19 infections are not as pronounced in Oklahoma as they are in much of the country. Black residents make up 7.2% of the population and account for 7.7% of all known coronavirus deaths in the state. Similarly, 7.2% of Oklahoma residents identify as Native American, a group that accounts for 9.1% of all known COVID-19 related deaths in the state.

So far, Oklahoma has been largely spared the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been 526 cases and 11 deaths for every 100,000 people in the state — well below the comparable national rates of 1,016 cases and 39 deaths per 100,000 people as of July 13.

Source: discoveroregon / Flickr

37. Oregon
> Community w/ highest death-to-pop. ratio: Black or African American (1.8% of pop.)
> Black share of COVID-19 infections: 7.8%
> Black share of COVID-19 deaths: 3.1%
> County with most COVID-19 deaths: Marion County (16 per 100,000 county residents)
> Marion County population: White (65.8%); Black (1.2%); AIAN (0.5%); Asian (2.0%); NHPI (0.9%); Hispanic (26.3%)

Oregon has been largely spared the worst public health effects of the coronavirus pandemic. There have been 297 cases and 6 deaths for every 100,000 people in the state — well below the comparable national rates of 1,016 cases and 39 deaths per 100,000 people as of July 13.

Still, Black Americans in the state are more than four times as likely to contract COVID-19 and nearly twice as likely to die from it than the typical state resident. Additionally, some of the hardest hit counties in the state are home to relatively large Hispanic and Latino populations. In Marion County, for example, there have been 16 deaths for every 100,000 people, the highest death rate in the state. Meanwhile, more than one in every four Marion County residents identify as Hispanic or Latino, compared to less than 13% of all Oregon residents.

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38. Pennsylvania
> Community w/ highest death-to-pop. ratio: Black or African American (10.6% of pop.)
> Black share of COVID-19 infections: 28.7%
> Black share of COVID-19 deaths: 22.4%
> County with most COVID-19 deaths: Delaware County (119 per 100,000 county residents)
> Delaware County population: White (67.4%); Black (20.9%); AIAN (0.1%); Asian (5.5%); NHPI (0.0%); Hispanic (3.7%)

About one in every 10 Pennsylvanians are Black, yet more than one in five COVID-19 deaths in the state have been of Black residents. The two counties with the highest deaths per capita in the state — Delaware and Philadelphia counties, both located in the Philadelphia metro area — are 20.9% Black and 40.0% Black, respectively. Experts attribute higher infection rates among Black Philadelphia residents to structural inequalities that make social distancing more difficult, such as crowded living quarters, having jobs as essential workers, and lower income.

Across Pennsylvania, Black residents are more than twice as likely as white residents to live below the poverty line. Similarly, the typical Black household earns $36,847 a year, compared to the median income of $59,445 across all households in the state.

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39. Rhode Island
> Community w/ highest death-to-pop. ratio: White (72.7% of pop.)
> White share of COVID-19 infections: 38.1%
> White share of COVID-19 deaths: 83.2%
> County with highest cumulative cases: Providence County (2,071 per 100,000 county residents)
> Providence County population: White (61.5%); Black (8.1%); AIAN (0.3%); Asian (4.1%); NHPI (0.1%); Hispanic (22.3%)

Few states have been hit as hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as Rhode Island. The small, densely-populated state has had 1,654 known infections and 93 deaths for every 100,000 people as of July 13. Meanwhile, there have been 1,016 infections and 39 deaths for every 100,000 people nationwide over the same period.

Across the state, Black residents have been far more likely to contract the coronavirus than the state’s white residents. Black Americans make up 5.6% of the state population yet account for 13.1% of all known COVID-19 cases. While Black residents have bore the worst burden in terms of infections, Rhode Island is one of only two states where the white community bears the worst burden in terms of death. White people in Rhode Island make up 72.7% of the population and 83.2% of COVID-19 deaths — the highest proportion of any race for which data is available.

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40. South Carolina
> Community w/ highest death-to-pop. ratio: Black or African American (26.8% of pop.)
> Black share of COVID-19 infections: 40.5%
> Black share of COVID-19 deaths: 47.3%
> County with most COVID-19 deaths: Clarendon County (138 per 100,000 county residents)
> Clarendon County population: White (47.5%); Black (48.5%); AIAN (0.1%); Asian (0.1%); NHPI (0.0%); Hispanic (3.0%)

About one in every four South Carolina residents are Black. However, Black Americans account for nearly half of all COVID-19 deaths in the state. In the three counties with the greatest concentration of coronavirus deaths — Clarendon, Lee, and Fairfield — the share of residents identifying as Black ranges from about 49% to 64%.

A recent report from the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health analyzed the coronavirus’s different impact along racial lines. According to the report, deeply rooted structural inequities in social and environmental conditions make social distancing more difficult for minority communities in the state. These conditions are compounded by racial disparity in health care systems and delivery.

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