Racial and ethnic variation in COVID-19 care, treatment, and outcomes: A retrospective cohort study from the MiCOVID-19 registry

PLoS One. 2022 Nov 1;17(11):e0276806. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0276806. eCollection 2022.


Background: Racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 outcomes exist, but whether in-hospital care explains this difference is not known. We sought to determine racial and ethnic differences in demographics, comorbidities, in-hospital treatments, and in-hospital outcomes of patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Methods and findings: This was a cohort study using MiCOVID-19, a multi-center, retrospective, collaborative quality improvement registry, which included data on patients hospitalized with COVID-19 across 38 hospitals in the State of Michigan. 2,639 adult patients with COVID-19 hospitalized at a site participating in the MiCOVID-19 Registry were randomly selected. Outcomes included in-hospital mortality, age at death, intensive care unit admission, and need for invasive mechanical ventilation by race and ethnicity. Baseline comorbidities differed by race and ethnicity. In addition, Black patients had higher lactate dehydrogenase, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, creatine phosphokinase, and ferritin levels. Black patients were less likely to receive dexamethasone and remdesivir compared with White patients (4.2% vs 14.3% and 2.2% vs. 11.8%, p < 0.001 for each). Black (18.7%) and White (19.6%) patients experienced greater mortality compared with Asian (13.0%) and Latino (5.9%) patients (p < 0.01). The mean age at death was significantly lower by 8 years for Black patients (69.4 ± 13.3 years) compared with White (77.9 ± 12.6), Asian (77.6 ± 6.6), and Latino patients (77.4 ± 15.5) (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: COVID-19 mortality appears to be driven by both pre-hospitalization clinical and social factors and potentially in-hospital care. Policies aimed at population health and equitable application of evidence-based medical therapy are needed to alleviate the burden of COVID-19.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Ethnicity
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • White People