Association of Race With Mortality Among Patients Hospitalized With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) at 92 US Hospitals

JAMA Netw Open. 2020 Aug 3;3(8):e2018039. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.18039.


Importance: While current reports suggest that a disproportionate share of US coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases and deaths are among Black residents, little information is available regarding how race is associated with in-hospital mortality.

Objective: To evaluate the association of race, adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical factors, on all-cause, in-hospital mortality for patients with COVID-19.

Design, setting, and participants: This cohort study included 11 210 adult patients (age ≥18 years) hospitalized with confirmed severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) between February 19, 2020, and May 31, 2020, in 92 hospitals in 12 states: Alabama (6 hospitals), Maryland (1 hospital), Florida (5 hospitals), Illinois (8 hospitals), Indiana (14 hospitals), Kansas (4 hospitals), Michigan (13 hospitals), New York (2 hospitals), Oklahoma (6 hospitals), Tennessee (4 hospitals), Texas (11 hospitals), and Wisconsin (18 hospitals).

Exposures: Confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection by positive result on polymerase chain reaction testing of a nasopharyngeal sample.

Main outcomes and measures: Death during hospitalization was examined overall and by race. Race was self-reported and categorized as Black, White, and other or missing. Cox proportional hazards regression with mixed effects was used to evaluate associations between all-cause in-hospital mortality and patient characteristics while accounting for the random effects of hospital on the outcome.

Results: Of 11 210 patients with confirmed COVID-19 presenting to hospitals, 4180 (37.3%) were Black patients and 5583 (49.8%) were men. The median (interquartile range) age was 61 (46 to 74) years. Compared with White patients, Black patients were younger (median [interquartile range] age, 66 [50 to 80] years vs 61 [46 to 72] years), were more likely to be women (2259 [49.0%] vs 2293 [54.9%]), were more likely to have Medicaid insurance (611 [13.3%] vs 1031 [24.7%]), and had higher median (interquartile range) scores on the Neighborhood Deprivation Index (-0.11 [-0.70 to 0.56] vs 0.82 [0.08 to 1.76]) and the Elixhauser Comorbidity Index (21 [0 to 44] vs 22 [0 to 46]). All-cause in-hospital mortality among hospitalized White and Black patients was 23.1% (724 of 3218) and 19.2% (540 of 2812), respectively. After adjustment for age, sex, insurance, comorbidities, neighborhood deprivation, and site of care, there was no statistically significant difference in risk of mortality between Black and White patients (hazard ratio, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.80 to 1.09).

Conclusions and relevance: Although current reports suggest that Black patients represent a disproportionate share of COVID-19 infections and death in the United States, in this study, mortality for those able to access hospital care did not differ between Black and White patients after adjusting for sociodemographic factors and comorbidities.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Betacoronavirus
  • Black or African American*
  • COVID-19
  • Comorbidity
  • Coronavirus Infections / ethnology
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Hospital Mortality / ethnology*
  • Hospitalization*
  • Hospitals*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / ethnology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / mortality*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Racial Groups*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People