Home covid Racial disparities in coronavirus cases, though small, begin to appear in Dane...

Racial disparities in coronavirus cases, though small, begin to appear in Dane County


Novel coronavirus infections and deaths have disproportionately affected Black communities in larger cities like Milwaukee and Chicago. In Milwaukee, for example, about 25 percent of the population is Black, and almost half of those who’ve tested positive for coronavirus infection are Black. Even more disturbing — 64 percent of those who have died are Black.

Dane County just began reporting data on race and ethnicity two weeks ago, and the state of Wisconsin started reporting statewide data on race and ethnicity earlier this week.

Dane County data indicated that confirmed infections and deaths were roughly proportional to the overall racial and ethnic makeup of the population in late March.

However, small disparities seem to have begun to emerge over the past week.

The overall population of Dane County is about 86 percent white, 7 percent Asian, 6 percent Black, and 1 percent Native American. Additionally, about 6 percent of Dane County residents identify as Latino or Hispanic.

Of those who have tested positive for coronavirus, 74.7 percent are white, 8.3 percent are Black, 5.4 percent are Asian and 8.5 percent are Latino.

Of those hospitalized, 80 percent are white, 10 percent are Black, 4 percent are Asian and 11 percent are Latino.

In other words, in Dane County, a Black or Latino person is very slightly more likely than others to test positive for coronavirus infection, but much more likely to be hospitalized if infected.
Of the 12 people who’ve died, nine were white, one was Black, one was Asian and one was unknown.
State Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said Friday that the state now has the capacity to process more than 3,500 tests per day and that local clinics and hospitals have been told they can offer more people testing. Previously, tests were only given to health care workers and those who were critically ill. An increase in testing over the next week might result in an increase in positive cases and should allow for even more robust data on race and ethnicity.