80+ Percent Of COVID-19 Patients Were African American In Survey Of 8 Georgia Hospitals

Written by Ann Brown
Eighty-plus percent of coronavirus patients were African American in a March survey of eight Georgia hospitals, researchers say. A person wearing protective masks due to coronavirus concerns walks in Philadelphia, April 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Just as Georgia reopens, a new CDC study shows that 80 percent of coronavirus patients hospitalized in seven Atlanta hospitals surveyed in March were Black patients.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African Americans in Georgia are hospitalized for COVID-19 at substantially higher rates than their white counterparts. 

The new CDC study surveyed patients at eight Georgia hospitals — seven of which are in Atlanta — using a sample of 305 patients admitted in March. The study found that 83.2 percent of the patients were Black, while 10.8 percent were white, and 3.4 percent were Hispanic. At four of the hospitals, 80 percent of COVID-19 patients during March were Black, based on the survey responses. 

Atlanta is the second largest majority African-American metro area in the U.S. The Black population was 61.4 percent in 2000 to 54 percent in 2010 as African Americans in the city moved to the suburbs.

“The proportion of hospitalized patients who were Black was higher than expected based on overall hospital admissions,” the study said.

The study also revealed that Black patients were not significantly more likely to require a ventilator or to die than whites during their hospitalization. 

The patients in Georgia were also not significantly more likely to have diabetes or cardiovascular disease, though data from other studies have shown that African Americans, in general, are more likely to have those ailments, increasing their risk of severe complications from COVID-19.

“It is critical that public health officials ensure that prevention activities prioritize communities and racial groups most affected by COVID-19,” the researchers wrote. 

African Americans make up more than 36 percent of overall confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia, according to the state’s health department — slightly higher than their 32 percent share of the state population, CBS News reported. Georgia is not alone in seeing its Black residents suffer high tolls.

Georgia’s death toll from the virus passed 1,000 on April 28. As of April 29, Georgia reported at least 25,623 confirmed cases and 1,096 deaths. 

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 70: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin goes solo to discuss the COVID-19 crisis. He talks about the failed leadership of Trump, Andrew Cuomo, CDC Director Robert Redfield, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, and New York Mayor de Blasio.

Georgia became one of the first states to relax restrictions on businesses and retailers on April 24, under orders of Gov. Brian Kemp. Many health experts and African-American community activists said it will have a negative impact on Black people, The Hill reported. 

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CBS that she feared the governor’s rush to reopen would prove to be “deadly” for many people in her community.

“What I’ve said is, I hope the governor is right and I’m wrong,” she said. “Because if he’s wrong, more people will die.”