Counties populated by larger numbers of people of color tend to have more coronavirus cases than those with higher shares of white people.
What we're watching: As the outbreak worsens throughout the South and the West, caseloads are growing fastest in counties with large communities of color.
The big picture: The southern and southwestern parts of the U.S. — the new epicenters of the outbreak — have higher Black and Latino or Hispanic populations to begin with.
- People of color have seen disproportionate rates of infection, hospitalization and death throughout the pandemic.
Between the lines: These inequities stem from pre-existing racial disparities throughout society, and have been exacerbated by the U.S. coronavirus response.
- Black and Hispanic or Latino communities have had less access to diagnostic testing, and people of color are also more likely to be essential workers. That means the virus is able to enter and spread throughout a community without adequate detection, often with disastrous results.
The bottom line: Until we plug the huge holes in the American coronavirus response — like inadequate testing and contact tracing and a lack of protection for essential workers — people of color will continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic.