Healthcare

Black Americans hospitalized at pandemic high during omicron wave: CDC

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Black adults were hospitalized at nearly four times the rate of white adults during the peak of the omicron wave over the winter, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study.

The study released on Friday found that in a period beginning on Dec. 19 — when omicron became the dominant variant of the coronavirus — and ending Jan. 31, Black adults were hospitalized at a rate of 94.7 per 100,000 people compared to 24.8 per 100,000 for white adults.

The CDC said the hospitalization rate for Black adults was “the highest rate observed among any racial and ethnic group during the pandemic.”

“Removing barriers to vaccination access among persons with disproportionately higher hospitalizations rates from COVID-19, including Black adults, is an urgent public health priority,” the CDC noted in its study. 

Black Americans have the second highest death rate related to COVID-19 infection after Indigenous Americans, the CDC reported.

African Americans have faced large disparities in terms of cases and deaths during the pandemic due to a combination of factors, including limited access to quality health care and an increased number of community members working front-line jobs, a factor that has led to higher exposure to the virus. 

As of Jan. 26, nearly 40 percent of Black American adults were vaccinated, while 43.9 percent received a booster dose. Among white adults, 47.3 percent were vaccinated while 54.5 percent of that population had been boosted. 

The Friday study also determined that all unvaccinated adults were hospitalized at 12 times the rate of vaccinated adults, and vaccinated adults without a booster shot were hospitalized at three times the rate.

During that period, hospitalizations also soared at 38.4 per 100,000 people, compared to 15.5 per 100,000 when delta was the dominant strain.

In the U.S., more than 970,000 people have died from COVID-19, according to a Johns Hopkins data dashboard. About 66 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

Tags Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 disparities hospitalization rates

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