Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups in the United States: a 2021 Update

Don Bambino Geno Tai, Irene G Sia, Chyke A Doubeni, Mark L Wieland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic's disproportionate impact on people from some racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. persisted throughout 2021. Black, Latinx, and American Indian persons have been hospitalized and died at a higher rate than White persons consistently from the start of the pandemic. Early data show that hospitalization and mortality rates for Black, Latinx, and American Indian children are higher than White children in a worrying trend. The pandemic has likely worsened the gaps in wealth, employment, housing, and access to health care: the social determinants of health that caused the disparities in the first place. School closures will have a long-lasting impact on the widening achievement gaps between Black and Latinx students and White students. In the earlier vaccination phase, Black and Latinx persons were being vaccinated at a lower rate than their proportion of cases due to vaccine hesitancy, misinformation, and barriers to access. Vaccine hesitancy rates among these groups have since decreased and are now comparable to White persons. Aggregated data make it challenging to paint a picture of the actual impact of COVID-19 on Asian Americans as they are a diverse group with significant disparities. All of this highlights that we have much work to do in dismantling systemic racism, engaging communities we serve, and advancing health equity to prepare us for future pandemics and a more just healthcare system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2334-2339
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2021. W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute.


  • Child
  • United States/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Ethnicity
  • COVID-19
  • Pandemics
  • Minority Groups
  • Ethnic and Racial Minorities
  • Hispanic or Latino

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


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