Income

The Other COVID Risks: How Race, Income, ZIP Code Influence Who Lives Or Dies

It started with a headache in late March. Then came the body aches.

At first, Shalondra Rollins’ doctor thought it was the flu. By April 7, three days after she was finally diagnosed with COVID-19, the 38-year-old teaching assistant told her mom she was feeling winded. Within an hour, she was in an ambulance, conscious but struggling to breathe, bound for a hospital in Jackson, Mississippi.

An hour later, she was dead.

“I never in a million years thought I would get a call saying she was gone,” said her mother, Cassandra Rollins, 55. “I want the world to know she wasn’t just a statistic. She was a wonderful person. She was loved.”

Shalondra Rollins, a mother of two, had a number of factors that put her at higher risk of dying from COVID-19. Like her mother, she had diabetes. She was black, with a low-salary job.

And she lived

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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.

In Nashville, three drive-thru

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