Men and white Americans suffered disproportionately at various points during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite media and health officials emphasizing the impact of the pandemic on minorities.
Men died at a far higher rate from COVID-19 complications than women during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). White Americans had a higher death rate than black Americans during the final two months of 2021 as well as so far during October of 2022, according to a new analysis by The Washington Post.
In other words, at the exact same time that Utah and Minnesota were giving BIPOC patients priority access to COVID-19 drugs, white people were dying of COVID at higher rates. https://t.co/OM0iypyIa0
— Aaron Sibarium (@aaronsibarium) October 26, 2022
Despite white death rates surpassing black death rates at certain points in the pandemic, health authorities continued to prioritize non-white patients in their COVID-19 response. During the time period at the end of 2021 when white Americans were dying more frequently than black Americans, states like Utah and Minnesota were granting access to life-saving drugs to non-white patients first.
Utah used a COVID-19 risk calculator to ration monoclonal antibody supplies, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. The calculator granted a patient two points for being of a non-white race, more than the single point given for conditions like heart failure, liver disease or hypertension. Otherwise identical, the calculator could grant an equal risk score for both a 16-year-old black patient and a 60-year-old white patient. The state eventually removed race as a risk factor.
In Minnesota, a black 18-year-old patient could be prioritized over a white 64-year-old patient until the system was changed earlier this year.
On the gender front, men were 50% more likely to die from COVID-19 than women in the first year of the pandemic, the NCHS found. The disparity was even higher in large urban areas, where men died at a 78% higher rate. Men tend to have certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, more frequently than women. These are complicating factors in COVID-19 cases. Men are also more likely to delay medical care, research has shown.
Despite this data, heavy emphasis was put on demographic disparities in COVID-19 outcomes throughout the pandemic by health officials. Dr. Anthony Fauci said the pandemic exposed the “undeniable effects of racism” and President Joe Biden’s administration instructed states to allocate COVID-19 treatments based on race. Stanford researchers argued that the pandemic worsened gender disparities for women and the World Economic Forum claims that the pandemic worsened gender equality.