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Study: Arizona Coronavirus Hospitalizations Show Race Disparities

ARIZONA — A new study revealed that Black, Asian and Hispanic Arizonans were hospitalized with the coronavirus at a higher rate than their population in the state. The study published in JAMA Monday examined racial disparities amid the ongoing pandemic.

The study looked at data from 12 states that reported hospitalizations broken down by race and ethnicity. The study took place during a two-month period, from April 30 to June 24, using data from the University of Minnesota COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project. There was no adjustment for factors like age, sex or socioeconomic status that might make an individual more susceptible to the virus.

“A large body of research has identified racial/ethnic health disparities in the risk of infection associated with a higher prevalence of comorbidities, less access to health care, adverse economic conditions, and service-related occupations,” the authors wrote in their report.

The study found that the share of white patients was much smaller than their share of the population in all 12 states. In Arizona, white patients made up 42.6 percent of hospitalizations during that period and make up just over 54 percent of the population in the state. Minnesota had a bigger disparity among white patients, where the share of hospitalizations of white patients was 52.9 percent and their share of the state population was 84.1%.

American Indians and Alaska Natives in Arizona were affected at a higher rate than all other races and ethnicities in the state, according to the JAMA study. 15.7 percent of patients hospitalized belonged to the group; they make up four percent of the population. Hospitalization data for American Indian and Alaskan Native populations were only reported by eight states, including Utah. There, the group made up 5 percent of the hospitalizations and only 0.9 percent of the state’s population.

Here’s the breakdown for Arizona:

White: 42.6 percent hospitalized, 54.44 percent of the population

Hispanic: 31.3 percent hospitalized, 31.6 percent of the population

Black: 5.8 percent hospitalized, 4.4 percent of the population

American Indian Alaskan Native: 15.7 percent hospitalized, 4 percent of the population

Asian: 2.1 percent hospitalized, 3.4 percent of the population

The study stressed the need for consistent data reporting across all states in its analysis. Only 12 states have reported consistently on racial and ethnic breakdowns during the coronavirus pandemic.

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