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Adapted from Karaca-Mandic, et. al, 2020, "Assessment of COVID-19 Hospitalizations by Race/Ethnicity in 12 States"; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Two new studies yet again reiterate the fact that people of color have borne the brunt of America's coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: The longer we go without improving testing, protecting essential workers, updating ventilation systems, securing nursing homes or ensuring that sick people can safely isolate at home, the more already vulnerable people will continue to suffer.

The big picture: Black and Latino or Hispanic Americans are more likely than white Americans to catch the virus, require hospitalization or die from it.

  • Other minority groups, like American Indians, are also overrepresented in some states — including Arizona, which saw one of the summer's worst outbreaks.
  • White Americans were underrepresented in coronavirus hospitalizations in every state included in a new study published yesterday in JAMA.
Adapted from Bui, et. al, 2020, "Racial and Ethnic Disparities Among COVID-19 Cases in Workplace Outbreaks by Industry Sector"; Note: "Workers of color" are Hispanic/Latino nonwhite workers; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Driving the news: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report yesterday supporting the notion that Latino and Hispanic Americans are more likely to become infected at work than white Americans are.

  • As of June 5, the Utah Department of Health had reported 210 workplace coronavirus outbreaks. Hispanic or Latino and nonwhite workers made up 24% of the workforce in the affected sectors, but accounted for 73% of workplace outbreak-associated cases.
  • More than half of these workplace-associated cases were in three sectors: manufacturing, wholesale trade and construction.
  • "Systemic social inequities have resulted in the overrepresentation of Hispanic and nonwhite workers in frontline occupations where exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, might be higher," the authors write.

The bottom line: These disparities stem from deep-rooted racial inequities that are baked into every part of American life, and fixing these will take a long time.

  • But bringing the pandemic under control isn't as hard — almost every other wealthy country in the world has been able to do it by this point. America's decision not to follow suit will continue to deepen its racial wounds until it changes course.

Go deeper

Nov 26, 2020 - Health

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon tests positive for COVID-19

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) has tested positive for COVID-19, his office announced Wednesday, per CBS News.

The state of play: The governor has minor symptoms and will continue working remotely, according to his office.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 25, 2020 - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

Updated Nov 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.