Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Rural African Americans are at higher risk from covid-19

Though all population groups have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, some are at a disproportionate risk of dying from covid-19 in the United States. That includes rural residents and racial/ethnic minorities. Those who are both, especially rural African-Americans, have a much higher risk of being hospitalized and/or dying from the infection, according to a newly published paper in The Journal of Rural Health.

That echoes other studies that have found rural non-whites' overall medical risk to be higher, compounded by their rural location, access and health issues spurred by historical racial inequalities, and unconscious bias from medical providers.

The paper examines three possible explanations for why African-Americans are at a greater risk for covid-19, including social determinants of health (where someone is born, what kind of family they're born in and grow up with, and other factors all influenced by the distribution of money, power and resources), comorbidities and coexposures (underlying health issues and risk factors such as smoking), and genetic differences.

The authors recommend "innovative preventive and therapeutic interventions targeting the rural African American communities" to help fight the spread of covid-19.

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