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News Scan for Sep 21, 2022

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COVID pandemic worsened all-cause death inequities for non-White racesThe COVID-19 pandemic dramatically worsened disparities in all-cause death rates for American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN), Native Hawaiian, other Pacific Islander (NHOPI), and Black Americans and eroded mortality advantages for Asian and Hispanic groups, finds a study published yesterday in PNAS.A team led by researchers at the University of California and Stanford University estimated monthly all-cause US death rates for the six racial and ethnic groups and compared them with those of White Americans using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from January 2018 to February 2022.Rises in all-cause death rates were larger among Black and Hispanic populations than among their White peers in the first year of the pandemic.

The disparities were greatest during the summer 2021 and winter 2021-22 COVID-19 surges.Relative to White people, AIAN and NHOPI Americans younger than 65 years saw the steepest increases in disparities (AIAN rate ratio [RR], 2.25 in October 2021 vs a prepandemic average of 1.74; NHOPI RR, 2.12 vs 1.31 in August 2021).

The inequities were still heightened 2 years into the pandemic.The authors noted the long history of structural racism in the United States and the pandemic conditions that predisposed minorities to infection, including more exposure during work and lower access to quality healthcare."Preexisting inequities associated with mortality, including lack of health care, financial hardship, and housing instability, were likely exacerbated during the pandemic," they wrote.Assessing racial death disparities throughout the pandemic is important, the researchers said, because if inequalities vary dramatically over

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