Disparities

Long-Standing Racial And Income Disparities Seen Creeping Into COVID-19 Care

The new coronavirus doesn’t discriminate. But physicians in public health and on the front lines said they already can see the emergence of familiar patterns of racial and economic bias in the response to the pandemic.

In one analysis, it appears doctors may be less likely to refer African Americans for testing when they show up for care with signs of infection.

The biotech data firm Rubix Life Sciences, based in Lawrence, Massachusetts, reviewed recent billing information in several states and found that an African American with symptoms like cough and fever was less likely to be given one of the scarce coronavirus tests.

Delays in diagnosis and treatment can be harmful, especially for racial or ethnic minority groups that have higher rates of certain diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease. Those chronic illnesses can lead to more severe cases of COVID-19.

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