Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Black people in New York City are up to 40% less likely to experience serious illness from COVID-19 and have a 30% lower risk for death than White people, according to an analysis published Friday by JAMA Network Open.
This is despite the fact that they are 30% more likely to test positive for the virus, the data showed.
In addition, while hospitalization rates were similar for Black, Hispanic and White people in the city, Asian Americans and those of mixed racial background had up to a 60% higher risk for needing hospital care, the researchers said.
"We hope that our findings encourage health systems, departments of health and policymakers to address and dismantle the structural inequities ... pervasive in Black and Hispanic communities," study co-author Dr. Gbenga Ogedegbe told UPI.
"Addressing these structural determinants of health will improve outcomes in COVID-19 related mortality in Black and Hispanic communities," said Ogedegbe, director of the Division of Health and Behavior at New York University School of Medicine.
Research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others have found that people of color nationally are at increased risk for infection -- and, in some cases, serious illness -- from COVID-19.
This is due, at least in part, to the increased prevalence in these communities of underlying health conditions -- including diabetes and heart disease -- that make people more susceptible to the virus.
Another factor is that people of color are more likely to be "essential workers," meaning they work in businesses that have remained open throughout the pandemic and were unable to stay home and avoid contact with others.
For this study, Ogedegbe and his colleagues analyzed data on 9,722 patients tested for COVID-19 by the NYU Langone Health System between March 1 and April 8 -- the height of the outbreak in New York City.
Of these patients, 4,843 -- or 50% -- tested positive for COVID-19, and 2,623 of these cases -- or 54% -- required hospitalization, according to the researchers.
Among hospitalized patients, 40% were White, 14% were Black, 27% were Hispanic, 7% were Asian and 8% were classified as multi-racial or other, the data showed.
Although Black people were 30% more likely to test positive for the virus than White people, Hispanic people were 50% more likely, according to the researchers.
Asian people were 60% more likely than White people to need hospital care for COVID-19, while those of mixed racial backgrounds were 40% more likely, the researchers said.
"Blacks and Hispanics are not inherently more susceptible to poor COVID-19 outcomes than Whites," Ogedegbe said.
"Although Black and Hispanic patients were more likely than White patients to test positive for COVID-19, once hospitalized, Black patients were less likely than White patients to have severe illness or die after adjusting for [underlying] conditions and neighborhood socioeconomic status," he said.