Morehouse study documents racial disparities among children with COVID-19

The pandemic study was commissioned by the Black Coalition Against COVID and conducted by researchers at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine. (Matthew Pearson/WABE)

Black children with COVID-19 were more likely to become severely ill, be hospitalized or die during the pandemic than white children, according to a newly released study from Morehouse School of Medicine. 

Morehouse School of Medicine researchers conducted the two-year study with a group that included other historically Black medical schools.

Examining data from the pandemic period between April 2020 and June 2021, they found Black children were more than two-and-a-half times as likely to lose a parent or other caregiver to the virus compared to white children.

The study also found Black children were more likely to live in a home experiencing pandemic-driven financial hardships — 31% compared to 16% of white households with kids and 29% of Latino households with kids.

Researchers found these disparities were partly linked to inequalities that existed before the pandemic hit, such as poverty and obstacles in accessing medical care.

To help close the gaps, researchers are calling for economic policy changes, including expanding access to child health insurance programs to cover more low-income families.

“From the loss of a parent to the loss of a home, children of color have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 far beyond the direct health effects of the virus,” said Dr. Yolandra Hancock, a member of a group that commissioned the study at Morehouse’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute.

“And it has taken a toll on their family life, education and economic stability.”

Read the report.