May 25, 2021 - Health

Black and Hispanic Americans seeing higher COVID case rates as vaccinations lag

Black and Hispanic Americans are once again seeing higher coronavirus case rates than white Americans — as their vaccination rates continue to lag, per CDC data.

Why it matters: The virus will continue to infect and kill people who aren't protected from it. If fewer people of color are vaccinated, that means more are at risk of getting sick — which is exactly what's happening among some groups.

Yes, but: American Indians and Alaskan Natives saw the highest case rate among all races and ethnicities as of early May. But they've had the highest vaccination rate all year.

  • Asian Americans are experiencing lower case rates and roughly the same vaccination rates as white Americans.

By the numbers: As of May 1 — the most recent date for which the CDC has complete data — there were 50 weekly coronavirus cases per every 100,000 white Americans, 69 cases among every 100,000 Hispanic Americans, and 74 cases among every 100,000 Black Americans.

  • At that time, 28% of white Americans had received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared to only 19% of Hispanic and Black Americans. The gap has remained over the last month.
  • The CDC only has race and ethnicity data for 61% of Americans who have received at least one shot.

Between the lines: "In some places, the virus continues to rage among those who haven't received a shot," the Washington Post recently reported, adjusting case rates to account for vaccinated people.

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