Save lives, find race component of coronavirus

From nearly the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, it was clear the disease has a racial component. Black Americans have been affected far more severely than whites.

Exactly why that is so has not been learned yet. Obviously, getting answers is critical.

But blacks are not the only group suffering disproportionately. So are Hispanics. Many Latino communities have been battered by COVID-19, while adjacent white populations have not been hit as hard.

As The Associated Press reports, about 65 percent of the COVID-19 diagnoses in the county around Chattanooga, Tennessee, have been of Hispanics. They are only 6 percent of the county’s population. In North Carolina, Hispanics make up 10 percent of the population — but 45 percent of the coronavirus patients.

As has been the situation with blacks, a number of hypotheses have been advanced. Among them are Hispanics’ social and economic situations, the quality of health care and access to it. Those possibilities need to be investigated — but not at the expense of an objective, scientific investigation.

Drawing conclusions based on appearances or researchers’ biases would be worse than unwise. It would be irresponsible.

This is a matter of life and death. Finding out why COVID-19 infects and affects some populations worse than others is imperative to save lives.


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