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African-Americans More Likely to Be Hospitalized With COVID-19

Odds of hospitalization increased 2.7-fold versus non-Hispanic whites after adjustment for age, sex, comorbidity

WEDNESDAY, May 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- African-American patients have an increased likelihood of hospitalization for COVID-19, according to a report published online May 21 in Health Affairs.

Kristen M.J. Azar, R.N., M.P.H., from the Sutter Health Center for Health Systems Research in Walnut Creek, California, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of COVID-19 patients at Sutter Health to measure potential disparities. Adults with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 were identified; the risk for hospitalization was assessed while adjusting for known risk factors, including race/ethnicity, sex, age, health, and socioeconomic variables. A total of 1,052 confirmed COVID-19 cases from Jan. 1 to April 8, 2020, were analyzed.

The researchers found that in the multivariable model, the odds of hospital admission increased with age (odds ratios ranged from 2.2 to 19.1 compared with those aged 18 to 39 years) and for male patients (odds ratio, 1.9). After adjustment for age, sex, comorbidities, and income, African-Americans had 2.7 times the odds of hospitalization compared with non-Hispanic white patients. The odds of being admitted were also increased for individuals with Medicaid or who were self-pay or reported no insurance compared with those with commercial insurance (odds ratio, 2.1).

"The experience of Sutter Health highlights the fact that race and ethnicity play a pivotal role in determining how and when care is accessed, and the outcome," the authors write. "Health care systems have an ethical obligation to ensure that all patients receive the right care at the right time, especially in times of crisis."

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