Racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes: Unwarranted statistical adjustments and the perpetuation of stereotypes

Elsevier, Lancet Regional Health - Americas, Volume 14, October 2022
Massion S.P., Murry V.M., Grijalva C.G.

Several studies have reported that African American and non-white Hispanic individuals experience higher rates of hospitalization for SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19-related mortality compared with white non-Hispanic counterparts.1 While those important studies increase awareness of racial health disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic, more careful consideration is necessary when designing and interpreting analyses that use race as a focal variable. By clarifying the hypothesized role of race in research investigations and employing appropriate statistical causal methodologies, researchers can avoid stigmatizing consequences and maintain the focus on the conditions and situations that may be the underlying causes of the observed disparities in SARS-CoV-2 infections and related outcomes. Identifying the underlying and modifiable factors that contribute to increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection among minoritized populations is essential for addressing disparities, dispelling long-lasting misconceptions and stereotypes, advancing health equity, and limiting the spread of infections.