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CDC report says young people of color were impacted disproportionately more by COVID-19 than their white counterparts

Younger people of color have been hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than their white counterparts in the same age bracket, according to a CDC review of data culled from 15 states and the District of Columbia between January and December of last year.

The information was contained in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published Wednesday. The report looked at data from 689,672 COVID-19 cases among people in 16 US jurisdictions aged 25 and younger.

According to the report, young people of color were infected at disproportionately higher rates.

“Disparities were substantial during January–April and generally decreased during May–December, largely because of a greater increase in incidence among White persons, rather than a decline among racial and ethnic minority groups,” the report said. “The largest persistent disparities involved Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Hispanic persons.”


Here’s how the numbers break down:

Between January and December of 2020, the report said, white people in the age bracket in the 16 locales logged 35 infections per 100,000 people, compared to 163 cases per 100,000 among non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native people; 137 per 100,000 among Hispanic/Latino people; 88 per 100,000 non-Hispanic Native Hawaii/Pacific Islanders; 87 per 100,000 among Black/non-Hispanic people; 54 per 100,000 among non-Hispanic Asians, and 38 per 100,000 among multiracial, non-Hispanic people.

The report pointed to multiple factors that could explain the higher rates of infection among young people of color.

“Racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately represented in essential work settings, making it difficult for youths and parents to stay at home,” the report said, adding that “a higher likelihood of living in a multigenerational household also increases the risk for household exposures to SARS-CoV-2.”

The findings, the CDC said, have implications for public health going forward.

“Ensuring equitable and timely access to preventive measures, including testing, safe work and education settings, and vaccination when eligible is important to address racial/ethnic disparities,” the report said.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.