Infectious Disease

The racial and ethnic differences between young people associated with pandemics have decreased over time

April 15, 2021

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Racial and ethnic differences between COVID-19 in young people, which were “significant” at the start of the pandemic, decreased over time over the past year, mainly due to an increase in cases among whites, researchers at the MMWR reported.

The study found that the “largest persistent differences in COVID-19 incidence” were among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NH / PI), non-Hispanic or Alaskan Indians (AI / AN), and Hispanics Miriam E. Van Dyke, PhD, an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer on the CDC COVID-19 Response Team and colleagues.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. While racial and ethnic differences have been documented in severe COVID-19-associated outcomes, including mortality, less is known about population differences in infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, ”they wrote.

Van Dyke and colleagues used data from 689,672 COVID-19 cases reported to the CDC from January 1 to December 31 in 16 U.S. jurisdictions to investigate racial and ethnic differences between people under the age of 25.

They calculated COVID-19 incidence by race and ethnicity, gender, and age for three 4-month periods – January through April, May through August, and September through December. They identified seven racial and ethnic categories – AI / AN, non Hispanic Asian, non Hispanic black or African American, NH / PI, white, Hispanic, and non Hispanic multiracial – separated people into five age groups: 0 to 4 years, 5 to 9 years, 10 to 14 years, 15 to 19 years and 20 to 24 years.

Throughout 2020, the highest COVID-19 incidence compared to whites was seen in NH / PI people, with a reported rate ratio (RR) of 4.03 in people ages 0-4 and 3, 21 for people aged 5 to 9 years.

Those under the age of 14 who were black or Asian had higher rates than whites initially, while rates were consistently higher for those with NH / PI, AI / AN, and Hispanic year-round.

Among 15,068 cases of COVID-19 reported in January through April, the study found the incidence of COVID-19 in minority groups was significantly higher than in whites, with RRs ranging from 1.09 for non-Hispanic multiracial people to 4.62 for AI / TO people.

Among 177,778 cases reported from May to August, the RR in NH / PI people rose from 2.49 to 4.57 per person but decreased in other groups, the researchers said.

Of 496,826 cases, the decline continued from September to December. The authors found that this is likely due to a 320% increase in cases among whites.

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