“Association of Black Race with Outcomes in COVID-19 Disease: A Retrospective Cohort Study” is not the first to examine race. However, it provides further evidence that, while anyone can get COVID-19, race is indeed a factor in the extent to which some populations are affected. Of the 4413 individuals tested, 17.8 percent tested positive. Of those who tested positive, 78.9 percent were Black while 9.6 percent were White.
The original study article is open access and can be downloaded here.
It’s kind of geeky but I downloaded and read the study. And I uncovered the following problems with this study:
Our study was limited by unavailable datapoints such as socioeconomic status, health insurance, comorbidities, and medication history, which could have enabled us to test the independent association of these outcomes with Black race, and fully assess potential confounders.
These issues are significant limitations.
Also, while most subjects in our cohort were from the greater Chicago area, the proportion of Blacks in our cohort (57.6%) substantially exceeds that of Chicago (30.1%) and the US (13.4%)
Race-wise not exactly a representative study cohort of the general population.
as access to care is generally lower for Blacks, these subjects are likely to be sicker and undergo testing at a higher threshold than Whites.
You should expect a higher percentage of Blacks testing positive if you’re testing more Blacks.
So while there may be an association of Black race with higher rates of Covid-19 infection I am unable to infer from this study that an actual higher risk exists.
Take Home Message for Life Underwriters:
These data suggest that Blacks are more likely to test positive and be hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2; however, we found no difference in mortality for Blacks vs non-Blacks.
No difference in mortality for Blacks vs non-Blacks.
Covid-19 is an equal opportunity killer.
Wear a mask. Avoid the C’s. Wash your hands often.