Racial Disparity of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in African American Communities

J Infect Dis. 2020 Aug 17;222(6):890-893. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiaa372.


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has unveiled unsettling disparities in the outcome of the disease among African Americans. These disparities are not new but are rooted in structural inequities that must be addressed to adequately care for communities of color. We describe the historical context of these structural inequities, their impact on the progression of COVID-19 in the African American (black) community, and suggest a multifaceted approach to addressing these healthcare disparities. (Of note, terminology from survey data cited for this article varied from blacks, African Americans, or both; for consistency, we use African Americans throughout.).

Keywords: African Americans; COVID-19; SARS-CoV2; coronavirus; racial disparity.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • Black or African American*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / ethnology
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Healthcare Disparities / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / ethnology
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social Determinants of Health / ethnology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology