A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined children with COVID-19 who required hospitalization. Hispanic children were hospitalized at a rate eight times higher than white children, and black children were hospitalized at a rate five times higher, the AP reported.
The report is based on cases received from hospitals in 14 states. The researchers counted 576 hospitalizations of children from March 1 to July 25 of this year. The report did not have detailed medical information on all of them, but at least 12 were sick enough to need a machine to help them breathe. One died.
The hospitalization rate for Hispanic children was approximately 16.4 per 100,000. The rate for black children was 10.5 per 100,000 and for white children it was 2.1 per 100,000.
As with the adults, many of the hospitalized children had existing health problems, such as obesity, chronic lung conditions and, in the case of the babies, premature delivery. The reported death was a child with various underlying conditions, according to the report.
Several possible factors could explain the disparities, said Dr. Cyrus Shahpar, who oversees epidemic prevention efforts for a nonprofit advocacy and data organization called Resolve to Save Lives.
A higher percentage of Hispanic and black children go to hospital emergency rooms when they are sick, which could be due to difficulty paying for doctor’s office visits. That lack of access to regular medical care could lead to more serious illness, he suggested.