Has COVID-19 Omicron Surge been even Harder on Blacks, Latinos?

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — There’s no question the COVID-19 pandemic has hit minorities hard — but has omicron been even tougher on them?

A recent statement from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services runs through a lengthy list of statistics to make the case that it indeed has been. THE CLAIM: NCDHHS says the rate of infections was “twice as high” for Blacks than whites, and “as much as 57 percent higher among the Hispanic population” versus non-Hispanics.

It also says that case rates for Blacks were lower than they were for whites when December started, and that during the first 17 days of 2022, hospitalization rates for Blacks were “nearly double the rate of whites.”

THE FACTS: Dr. Audrea Caesar, the chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at the UNC Health, says those numbers check out. “We have seen an uptick in cases, in hospitalizations and deaths related to the omicron variant,” she said. White people (170 cases for every 100,000 people) were catching COVID-19 at a higher rate in late November than Black people (129 cases per capita). (This chart shows the COVID case rates in North Carolina for Black and white people, with the blue line indicating those rates for Blacks and the purple line for whites. Source: NCDHHS.)

That flipped in about a month, with the rate skyrocketing for Black people (1,831) compared to whites (982) during the first week of January. The same spike happening in Latinos — whose case rate […]

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