It’s been well-known since the very beginning of the covid-19 pandemic that adults of color, specifically Black and Latinx people, were experiencing significantly higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death as a result of the virus. But a new study published by the CDC reveals that the same disparity is present in children as well—more than three-quarters of the kids and young adults under the age of 21 who have passed away as a result of covid-19 were people of color.
The researchers used federal data which reported 391,814 cases of people under the age of 21 who contracted the virus between February and July. The study found that of the at least 121 people in that age range who have passed away from covid-19 in that six month period, 45% were Latinx, 29% were Black, and 4% were Native American. These children and young adults account for 78% of covid-19 cases in people younger than 21—despite the fact that all three of those marginalized groups together only account for 41% of the entire U.S. population. Kids of color have also disproportionately contracted multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), the rare covid-19 complication found in a small number of children that can be life-threatening.
When addressing the reasons behind the significant racial disparities in deaths as a result of the virus, the researchers wrote:
“These racial/ethnic groups are also disproportionately represented among 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 addition, disparities in social determinants of health, such as crowded living conditions, food and housing insecurity, wealth and educational gaps, and racial discrimination, likely contribute to racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 and MIS-C incidence and outcomes.”