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Reproduced from Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

Racial disparities exist at every stage of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report by Epic Health Research Network and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Why it matters: The more we learn about the coronavirus's disproportionate impact on people of color, the clearer it becomes that this is much more than just a health care problem.

The big picture: Non-white Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with the coronavirus, more likely to suffer serious illness, more likely be hospitalized because of the virus, and more likely to die from it, the report found.

  • The study analyzed Epic's electronic health record data for around 50 million patients across 21 states.

By the numbers: Death rates for Black and Hispanic coronavirus patients were more than twice as high as the rate for white patients, and were at least twice as likely to test positive, even though testing rates didn't vary much by race or ethnicity.

  • Larger shares of people of color were tested in an inpatient setting — a sign that they'd been experiencing symptoms — and they were more likely to be sick enough to require oxygen or ventilation when diagnosed.

Between the lines: The higher coronavirus infection rate among people of color "likely reflects their increased risk of exposure to coronavirus due to their work, living, and transportation situations," per the report.

  • It notes that despite higher exposure to the virus, people of color don't get tested at higher rates than white people and concludes that "people of color may face increased barriers to testing that contribute to delays in them obtaining testing until they are in more serious condition."
  • Higher hospitalization and death rates for people of color aren't fully explained by individual socioeconomic factors or underlying health conditions, per the report. "This finding suggests that other factors, including racism and discrimination, are negatively affecting their health outcomes through additional avenues," it concludes.

The bottom line: The findings "illustrate the importance of considering a wide array of factors both within and beyond the health care system and addressing structural and systemic racism and discrimination as root causes as part of efforts to address health disparities," the authors write.

Go deeper

Dec 24, 2020 - Health

California becomes first state to surpass 2 million coronavirus cases

A clinician cares for a COVID-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Providence St. Mary Medical Center amid a surge in COVID-19 patients in Southern California on Wednesday in Apple Valley, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California surpassed 2 million COVID-19 cases on Thursday morning, per Johns Hopkins University.

Why it matters: It's the first U.S. state to exceed 2 million coronavirus infections. While it took California over nine months for 1 million people to test positive for the virus, state health officials have confirmed 1 million cases in six weeks, the Mercury News notes.

Corporate America finds downside to politics

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Corporate America is finding it can get messy when it steps into politics.

Why it matters: Urged on by shareholders, employees and its own company creeds, Big Business is taking increasing stands on controversial political issues during recent months — and now it's beginning to see the fallout.

Church groups say they can help the government more at border

A mural inside of Casa del Refugiado in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Stef Kight/Axios

Despite the separation between church and state, the federal government depends upon religious shelters to help it cope with migration at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Why it matters: The network supports the U.S. in times of crisis, but now some shelter leaders are complaining about expelling families to Mexico when they have capacity — and feel a higher calling — to accommodate them.