Understanding Racial/Ethinic Disparities in COVID Mortality Using a Novel Metric: COVID Excess Mortality Percentage.

Publication date: Feb 20, 2024

Prior research on racial/ethnic disparities in COVID-19 mortality has often not considered to what extent they reflect COVID-19-specific factors, versus preexisting health differences. This study examines how racial/ethnic disparities in COVID-19 mortality vary with age, gender, and time period over April – December 2020 in the US, using mortality from other natural causes to proxy for underlying health. We study a novel measure, the COVID Excess Mortality Percentage (CEMP), defined as the COVID-19 mortality rate, divided by the non-COVID natural mortality rate, converted to a percentage, where the CEMP denominator, controls, albeit imperfectly, for differences in population health. Disparities measured using CEMP deviate substantially from those in prior research. In particular, we find very high disparities (up to 12:1) in CEMP rates for Hispanics versus Whites, particularly for non-elderly men. Asians also have elevated CEMP rates versus Whites, which were obscured in prior work by lower overall Asian mortality. Native Americans and Blacks have significant disparities compared to Whites populations, but CEMP ratios to Whites are lower than ratios reported in other work. This is because the higher COVID-19 mortality for Blacks and Native Americans comes partly from higher general mortality risk, and partly from COVID-specific risk.

Concepts Keywords
April COVID-19
Covid mortality
Hispanics racial/ethnic disparities


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19
disease VO time
disease MESH causes
disease VO population

Original Article

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