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One million more whites would have die from COVID to reach life expectancy levels of blacks

Hundreds of thousands of white Americans would have to die from the coronavirus for their life expectancy levels to fall to that of black people pre-pandemic, a new analysis finds.

Results showed that as many as 420,000 Caucasians would have to die to match the lowest-ever death rate ever recorded among African-Americans.

And to reach the highest life expectancy age seen among the US black population, COVID-19 would need to cause an additional one million deaths among whites.

Of the more than 177,000 Americans that have died of coronavirus, about 25 percent have occurred among black people.

It is a striking disparity considering that only about 13 percent of the country identifies as black, according to government data.   

There are several factors that likely contribute including higher rates of underlying conditions such as obesity and diabetes. a lack of access to healthcare and a higher proportion working so-called ‘essential’ jobs that increases the risk of exposure.

The findings of the new study show the extent of ‘another US catastrophe [which] is the pandemic-scale problem’ of racial disparities, author Dr Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota, told UPI. 

For the paper, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Wrigley-Field look at demographic models and data from the National Center for Vital Statistics. 

She estimates that between 400,000 and 420,000 additional white Americans would have die from COVID-19 in 2020 for white death rates to reach the level of black death rates in 2014.

This is the year black Americans recorded their lowest-ever death rate at about 6.7 per deaths per 100,000 people.

Additionally, between 700,000 and one million more Caucasians would have die this year for white life expectancy to reach the highest ever recorded for blacks.

That is 76 years and was also recorded in 2014. Usually, the average life expectancy of whites is 78.6 years and has been higher than for black people every year since 1989.

If that many white Americans did die, it would mean a mortality increase between 31 percent and 46 percent, Wrigley-Field writes.

‘My research shows that blacks experience a scale of extra death every year that is more than the excess deaths that Whites are likely to experience from COVID-19,’ Wrigley-Field told UPI.

‘This gives us a metric for understanding just how severe racial inequality is, and it is as though the black population were going through whites’ experience during the coronavirus pandemic, except it’s happening every single year.’

The research comes on the heels of several other studies such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis which found blacks with coronavirus were hospitalized six times more often than their Caucasian peers.

And another report found that black and Hispanic coronavirus patients had lung damage that was 1.5 times worse than the infection’s attacks on white Americans   

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