Racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 cases across the state continue to worsen
Racial and ethnic disparities are starting to show again in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across North Carolina. That’s according to a news release from the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The rate of infections for Black North Carolinians in the past three weeks is two times higher than the rate for white people. In the Hispanic community, the rate is nearly 60% higher than that of the non-Hispanic population, according to NCDHHS.
Lenin Caro is a research assistant at Camino Health Center, an organization that primarily supports Charlotte’s Latino community. He says many Latinos tend to have jobs where they have to work in person, possibly causing the disparity in cases.
Caro is part of the Camino Research Institute, a group that released a study on the impact of COVID-19 in Charlotte in June of last year.
During the interviews he conducted as part of the investigation, fear came up as a common theme, he says.
“There was this tension in which they had to go to work. They had to earn their paycheck to pay the bills,” Caro said. “But they were afraid to go to work.”
These disparities in cases are due to a combination of economic, social and cultural factors, according to Caro.
“I'm not too surprised,” Caro said. “This is a pattern that we find over and over again in public health, in which because of different socioeconomic circumstances, minority populations tend to have these particular health outcomes.”
Caro says state and local officials need to work with organizations that serve these communities to combat the numbers.