Blacks Make Up Disproportionate Percentage of COVID-19 Deaths

Alabama Department of Public Health

Blacks make up a minority of the population of Alabama, but they account for more than half the number of people who have died of COVID-19 in the state, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

The department on Wednesday reported that 61 people who tested positive for the disease have died, and 48 of the deaths were confirmed to be the result of COVID-19. Officials were verifying whether the remaining 13 died from the coronavirus.

The figures covered reports through Tuesday, April 7.

The racial breakdown of the 48 who were confirmed to have died of the virus showed that 52.1% were black; 37.5% were white; 7.7% were Asian; and the rest were of unknown race.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated Alabama’s population last July at 4.9 million, of which 26.9% were black and 69.1% were white.

The health department’s report also showed a breakdown of the 2,229 people who were confirmed by lab tests to have the disease. Among those, whites made up 49.4% and blacks accounted for 37 percent. The rest were of unknown racial background.

In Alabama, as in several other places, larger numbers of younger people contract the disease, but the death rate is much higher among older people and those with underlying health issues.

Among the 2,229 confirmed cases, people who were age 65 or older accounted for 20.6% of those who tested positive for COVID-19 but 62.5% of the deaths.

The 48 people who died of the disease included 54.2% with cardiovascular disease, 39.6% with diabetes, 22.9% with chronic lung disease, 18.8% with chronic renal disease and 4.2% with chronic liver disease; 43.8% had multiple underlying medical conditions.

By gender, males made up 42.5% of those who tested positive and 64.6% of the deaths. Females accounted for 56.1% of those who tested positive and 35.4% of the deaths. The gender was unknown for 1.4% of those who tested positive.