A recent story in the StarTribune, People of color hit harder by COVID-19 in Twin Cities, ZIP code data confirm, describes another aspect of the bulging healthcare disparities file: Black and Hispanic Minnesotans make up five and six percent of the state population, but account for 20 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
These distinctions extend to the death rate, with people of color comprising 16 percent of the state population under age 64 but accounting for 63 percent of the deaths. For older people of color, the COVID-19 death rate is triple their share of the population.
What causes these disproportionate outcomes? “Lack of access to bare necessities and space to social distance has made stay-at-home orders challenging for households where one emergency could upend their finances or housing for months,” local experts told reporters. “The pandemic is forcing communities of color to confront longtime fears of doctors, hospitals and medical research; also, the lack of diversity among health professionals often makes them delay care.”