Communities of color feel certain effects of COVID-19 more acutely than white Americans

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
July 30, 2020, 12:00 PM UTC
While protests against police brutality and racial inequality continue to erupt across the United States, the coronavirus outbreak highlights another area where minority groups and communities of color prove vulnerable to racial inequity. A report from the New York Times using federal data shows that Black and Latino Americans are three times more likely to contract the virus than white Americans and nearly twice as likely to die from it. 
 
Data from The Economist/YouGov Poll shows that race plays an acute role in the ways American lives are touched by COVID-19. Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely to see the lethal effects of coronavirus around them than white Americans. When asked if they know anyone who has died of COVID-19, 30 percent of Black Americans and 16 percent of Hispanic Americans say they have a family member or close friend who has died. By contrast, 10 percent of white Americans say they know someone who has died from COVID-19.  
 
The share of white Americans who knew someone who died after contracting coronavirus remains relatively unchanged since May. In July, nearly three times as many Black Americans say they know a friend or family member who has died as they did just three months ago in April. And in the last few weeks alone, that figure increased from 19 percent at the beginning of July to 30 percent by end of the month. 

And it’s not just knowing someone who has died from COVID-19 that weighs heavy on the minds of people across the United States. 
 
In late July, roughly three in five Americans say they are very or somewhat worried they might contract COVID-19 themselves (63%). Hispanic Americans (71%) are significantly more likely to say they are concerned with personally contracting COVID-19 than Black (63%) or white Americans (61%). 

This concern comes amid states reopening their economies and people returning to work. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Black and Hispanic Americans are disproportionately represented in essential work settings and therefore, at higher risk for exposure to COVID-19. When asked about when it would be safe to reopen businesses, Hispanic Americans prove wary of doing so immediately. Whereas 13 percent of Americans overall say it is safe reopen right now, just six percent of Hispanic Americans say the same. 
 
See the full toplines and tables from this week’s The Economist/YouGov poll 
 
MethodologyThis Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between July 26 - 28, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.5% for the overall sample. 
 
Image: Getty