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Stories and information in our region on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Black And Hispanic Children Hospitalized For COVID-19 At Higher Rates Than Adults In Tri-State Area

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Black and Hispanic communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. A new study from Yale finds Hispanic and Black children are hospitalized for COVID-19 at even higher rates than adults.

Dr. Carlos Oliveira leads the pediatric COVID treatment team at Yale. His team studied 281 children hospitalized for severe cases of coronavirus in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey this spring.

“The idea was that the rate of infection in the adults would be similar to that in children, but for some reason the proportion of Hispanics and Blacks was much higher than what it is in adults,” Oliveira said.

Oliveira said three out of four children hospitalized with severe cases were Black or Hispanic, compared to a little over one third of adults from those communities. That came as a surprise to researchers.

“We expected that the rates would be similar because the children at that time weren’t going to school, and their primary exposure was from their parents,” Oliveira said.

The stark difference may be due to the fact that many children in the study were exposed to the virus over prolonged periods in the home, according to Oliveira.

He says his research might help make the case to prioritize vaccinating Hispanic and Black adults until a children's vaccine is developed.

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.