New data shows that more than 78 percent of young people who die from the coronavirus are people of color.

By Libby Ryan
September 17, 2020
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As the COVID-19 pandemic has raged on throughout the country, nearly 200,000 people have died—some of whom, tragically, were children. And a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that these deaths are starkly divided along racial lines.

The new report, which examined all coronavirus cases between Feb. 12 and July 31, found that more than 78 percent of people under the age of 21 who died of COVID-19 were children of color. There have been 121 young people casualties from the virus, and 45 percent of the young people who died were Hispanic, 29 percent were Black, and 4 percent were non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native.

Early in the pandemic, experts were unsure that children were at risk of the virus, but some rare serious side effects can be extremely dangerous, especially to kids with underlying health conditions. The recent CDC data also showed a concerning uptick in cases specifically among 18- to 21-year-olds—the age of many college students returning to campuses.

Credit: Nitat Termmee/Getty Images

Young people of color aren't the only ones disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. Data from the CDC and other research bodies show that people of color under the age of 65 are more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as their white counterparts of the same age.

“These numbers are a chilling reminder of why we need to take this virus seriously,” AAP President Sally Goza, MD, FAAP, said in a press release. “While much remains unknown about COVID-19, we do know that the spread among children reflects what is happening in the broader communities. A disproportionate number of cases are reported in Black and Hispanic children and in places where there is high poverty. We must work harder to address societal inequities that contribute to these disparities.” 

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