Reason(s) for COVID-19 racial element need to be discovered

Initial indications are that somehow, the COVID-19 virus discriminates against black Americans. Nationwide, 30 percent of patients suffering from the disease — and whose race is known — are black, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed.

At first glance, the number is exceedingly troubling. Clearly, more needs to be known.

Race is known for only about one-fourth of the approximately 700,000 Americans who had contracted COVID-19 by Sunday. Still, the CDC’s sample — around 175,000 people — is not insignificant.

In the rush to compile statistics on the coronavirus, details such as race are being left out of numbers reported to the CDC. That needs to and almost certainly will change. Demographic details such as race, gender and age are important in battling the disease.

If the statistics continue to reflect disproportionately high victimization of black Americans, scientists should launch a crash campaign of finding out why. Are those of particular races more susceptible to the disease? If so, that may guide researchers in finding both vaccines and cures.

Have black people been exposed to the virus at higher rates than those of other races? If so, why?

Is treatment a factor? Do those living in predominantly black areas enjoy lower-quality health care than others?

There are clues that physiology may be decisive. One is that some Native American communities have suffered badly. In New Mexico, about 37 percent of the state’s cases of COVID-19 are among Native Americans.

Whatever the reason(s) for COVID-19 having a racial component need to be discovered — so that ways of balancing the scales can be found.


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