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Pandemic hit Black children harder, study shows


 

Black children had almost three times as many COVID-related deaths as White children and about twice as many hospitalizations, according to a new study.

The study said that 1,556 children have died from the start of the pandemic until Nov. 30, 2022, with 593 of those children being 4 and under. Black children died of COVID-related causes 2.7 times more often than White children and were hospitalized 2.2 times more often than White children, the study said.

Lower vaccination rates for Black people may be a factor. The study said 43.6% of White children have received two or more vaccinations, compared with 40.2% of Black children.

“First and foremost, this study repudiates the misunderstanding that COVID-19 has not been of consequence to children who have had more than 15.5 million reported cases, representing 18 percent of all cases in the United States,” Reed Tuckson, MD, a member of the Black Coalition Against COVID board of directors and former District of Columbia public health commissioner, said in a news release.

“And second, our research shows that like their adult counterparts, Black and other children of color have shouldered more of the burden of COVID-19 than the White population.”

The study was commissioned by BCAC and conducted by the Satcher Health Leadership Institute of the Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta. It’s based on studies conducted by other agencies over 2 years.

Black and Hispanic children also had more severe COVID cases, the study said. Among 281 pediatric patients in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, 23.3% of severe cases were Black and 51% of severe cases were Hispanic.

The study says 1 in 310 Black children lost a parent or caregiver to COVID between April 2020 and June 2012, compared with 1 in 738 White children.

Economic and health-related hardships were experienced by 31% of Black households, 29% of Latino households, and 16% of White households, the study said.

“Children with COVID-19 in communities of color were sicker, [were] hospitalized and died at higher rates than White children,” Sandra Harris-Hooker, the interim executive director at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute of Morehouse School, said in the release. “We can now fully understand the devastating impact the virus had on communities of color across generations.”

The study recommends several changes, such as modifying eligibility requirements for the Children’s Health Insurance Program to help more children who fall into coverage gaps and expanding the Child Tax Credit.

A version of this article first appeared on WebMD.com.

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