Racial differences in COVID-19 death rates fell in Connecticut
Racial differences in COVID-19 death rates fell in Connecticut

Racial differences in COVID-19 death rates fell in Connecticut

In the United States, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected black and Hispanic populations, with these groups experiencing higher COVID-19-related death rates than non-Hispanic white Americans. But a new Yale-led analysis of these inequalities in Connecticut showed that they have declined during the pandemic, and mortality rates narrowed significantly by the end of 2021.

The results were published on April 15 in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

For the study, the research team Connecticut examined COVID-19-related deaths reported between March 1, 2020 and December 13, 2021 based on data from the Connecticut Electronic Disease Surveillance System. They divided this time period into three shorter segments, each involving a major epidemic wave, and compared the death rates of Hispanic, non-Hispanic blacks, and non-Hispanic white individuals who do not live in assembly environments.

In this study, we were interested in mortality differences in general society, ”said Margaret Lind, a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Public Health and co-author of the study. “So in this analysis, we removed people who live in assembly environments, such as long-term care facilities, because their racial distribution differs from the general state community, and they house a greater proportion of individuals at higher risk.”

In the first period, which ran from March 1, 2020 to August 25, 2020, both Latin American and non-Hispanic black groups had significantly higher death rates than non-Hispanic white people. The researchers used a measure called population months, which takes into account both the state population for each group as well as the length of the time period analyzed. It makes it possible to compare death rates across time and in relation to the population. In the first time period, the age-adjusted mortality of the non-Hispanic white population was 5.7 deaths per 100,000 population months, whereas for the Latin American and non-Hispanic black populations, the rates were 21.9 and 29.3 deaths per capita, respectively. 100,000 inhabitant-months, resp.

However, these differences diminished through the second period (26 August 2020 to 12 July 2021) and the third (13 July 2021 to 13 December 2021).

There was a clear reduction in inequalities in the second period, ”Lind said. “And in the third period, there was no significant difference between the death rates of non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic white individuals.”

In the third period, age-adjusted mortality rates for non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic black populations were 4.2 and 5.3 deaths, respectively. 100,000 population months. The mortality rate among the Latin American population (8.2 deaths per 100,000 population months) was still higher than the white population. “But it was meaningfully lower than in the previous two periods,” Lind said.

The results show that it is possible to overcome racial and ethnic inequalities in COVID-19 health outcomes, the researchers said.

Lind and her colleagues did not investigate what could trigger this effect, but Connecticut took several measures to reduce these differences throughout the pandemic. These efforts included increasing access to COVID-19 testing, making vaccines available, and improving outreach and effective communication about the virus.

These are three driving forces that we believe probably led to the reduction, ”Lind said. “More research is needed to determine which public health interventions have had the greatest impact, and that information can help address the remaining inequalities.”

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