The Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the United States

Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Feb 16;72(4):703-706. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa815.


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minority groups, with high rates of death in African American, Native American, and LatinX communities. Although the mechanisms of these disparities are being investigated, they can be conceived as arising from biomedical factors as well as social determinants of health. Minority groups are disproportionately affected by chronic medical conditions and lower access to healthcare that may portend worse COVID-19 outcomes. Furthermore, minority communities are more likely to experience living and working conditions that predispose them to worse outcomes. Underpinning these disparities are long-standing structural and societal factors that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed. Clinicians can partner with patients and communities to reduce the short-term impact of COVID-19 disparities while advocating for structural change.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; marginalized communities; pandemic; racial disparities.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Ethnicity*
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United States / epidemiology