CDC: More than 75% of children dying from COVID-19 are minorities

The coronavirus is killing Black, Hispanic and American Indian children at disproportionately higher numbers than White children, according to a study released Sept. 15.

Between February and July 2020, there were a total of 391,814 confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases in individuals aged less than 21 years with 121 coronavirus deaths reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the 121 deaths, 45% were Hispanic, 29% Black and 4% were American Indian/Alaska Native, suggesting that 78% of the reported deaths among children were minorities.

“Although Hispanic, Black, and AI/AN persons represent 41% of the U.S. population aged <21 years (4), these groups accounted for approximately 75% of deaths in persons aged <21 years,” the study said.

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The data was collected from health departments across the country and echoes statistics from other experts that racial and ethnic groups are disproportionately impacted by the novel coronavirus.

The CDC stated that many of the minority groups were essential workers unable to work from their homes, “resulting in higher risk for exposure to SARS-CoV-2 with potential secondary transmission among household members, including infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.”

In fact, the burden has been borne unevenly across gender, racial and socioeconomic lines, according to an Associated Press analysis of census data in the country's 100 largest cities. “They are mostly women, people of color and more likely to be immigrants,” the Associated Press reported.

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In addition, data from Health Affairs showed that Black (67.3%) and Hispanic (64.6%) children were more likely than White (55.8%) and Asian (35.2%) children to live with increased-risk adults.

The study also noted that disparities in social determinants of health, including crowded living conditions, wealth and education gaps, food and housing insecurity and racial discrimination likely contributed to the disparity in mortality as well.

Ten percent of the deaths were in infants aged <1, 20% in children aged 1-9 years old and 70% in persons aged 10-20 years old.

The data was released as many schools are reopening, some for partial in-person learning, in the United States. The CDC report noted a low death toll for children when nearly all schools were closed.

“Infants, children, adolescents, and young adults, particularly those from racial and ethnic minority groups at higher risk, those with underlying medical conditions, and their caregivers, need clear, consistent, and developmentally, linguistically, and culturally appropriate COVID-19 prevention messages (e.g., related to mask wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene),” the CDC said.

In data from three separate COVID Impact surveys conducted between April and June, 11% of African Americans said they were close with someone who has died from the coronavirus, compared with 5% of Americans overall and 4% of White Americans.