Data shows higher COVID-19 cases in Black, Hispanic children
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota health professionals are seeing a troubling trend in children of color being more affected by the coronavirus than white children, according to state health data.
As of mid-July, the hospital system has treated around 300 pediatric COVID-19 cases, 31% of which were Black or African American and 24% were Hispanic.
“We’re for sure seeing a disproportionate number of children of color being impacted by COVID,” said Patsy Stinchfield, director of infection prevention and control at Children’s Minnesota.
Of the 52,281 confirmed cases as of Tuesday, people aged 19 years old and younger in Minnesota are about 13% of the cases, according to the Minnesota Public Radio News.
Stinchfield said it seems many of the children likely got the virus from a family member.
“I think in a lot of our families of color, they are front-line workers,” she said. “They are helping serve the public. And so they are exposing themselves to crowds, to people and then potentially bringing that home themselves, getting sick and then passing it on to their children.”
A similar disparity exists in the state’s small number of confirmed cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children or MIS-C, a very rare syndrome believed to be caused by the coronavirus.
So far, 15 cases have been confirmed in Minnesota, nine of which were Black children. Nationwide, 70% of the 342 MIS-C reported cases occurred in Black or Hispanic children.
While physicians and researchers don’t know for sure why children and adults who are Hispanic or Black are showing up in greater numbers with COVID-19 and MIS-C, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is doing a more intensive study of cases so far to see which factors might be playing in a role in the disparities.
Interviews with doctors, researches and physicians, like Dr. Adrienne Randolph, a critical care physician at Boston Children’s Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School, believe factors include health care systems that discriminate against people of color, multigenerational living spaces, jobs in front-line industries and a lack of information in the languages of recent immigrant groups.
“We’re doing the best that we can to do a quick investigation of factors to try to understand better,” Randolph said.