University of Minnesota study finds racial disparities in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management found Black, Latinx, American Indian and Alaskan Native people are far more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than white people.

The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine Monday, reviewed about 49,000 hospitalization in 12 states over a two-month period.

“The unique clinical, financial and social impacts of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic populations that are often systematically marginalized in our society must be well understood in order to design and establish effective and equitable infrastructure solutions,” said the study’s lead author Pinar Karaca-Mandic, a professor and academic director of the Medical Industry Leadership Institute in the Carlson School

The study found Black people were hospitalized at higher rates than whites in all 12 states. In Minnesota, Black people accounted for 24.9 percent of hospitalizations while only making up 6.8 percent of the population.

Latinx people were hospitalized at a rate higher than whites in 10 of the 11 states reporting data. American Indian and Alaskan Native people were hospitalized at a higher rate in eight states.

“Our findings highlight the need for increased data reporting and consistency within and across all states,” said the study’s co-author and chief health officer at Starkey Hearing Technologies Archelle Georgiou, M.D. “The fact that only 12 of 50 states report this type of information clearly shows there is more to learn about why non-whites are being hospitalized at such higher rates than whites.”

According to the researchers the data was extracted from the University of Minnesota’s COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project between April 30 and June 24, 2020.