Durham County North Carolina, where I live, is a bit of a covid hot spot, its rates of infection and death higher, and increasing faster, than the national average. Here are demographics and covid infection rates in Durham County:
- White — 54% of population, 26% of confirmed cases.
- Black — 37% of population, 42% of confirmed cases
- Latinx — 14% of population 34% of confirmed cases.*
In Durham County, black people are more than twice as likely to get diagnosed with corona as white people; Latinx, 5 times as likely.
The usual factors are in play here as elsewhere. People of color are over-represented in low-pay close-contact essential service work, in multigenerational housing, in understaffed Medicaid nursing homes, in correctional facilities. People of color disproportionately suffer from chronic health conditions and poor access to healthcare. Latinx people are particularly reluctant to seek medical care for fear of being deported if they can’t prove US citizenship.
* The percentages by ethnicity add up to more than 100 percent. That’s because Latinx refers to place of origin rather than ethnicity; those who identify as Latinx can also regard themselves as either black or white.