Hispanic and Black Children More Likely to Be Hospitalized With “Severe” COVID-19 Symptoms

Child with ventilator

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By Giselle Balido

August 10, 2020

Hispanic children were approximately eight times as likely as white children to be hospitalized for COVID-19, while Black children were five times as likely to be hospitalized, according to the report. 

A new analysis of 576 children hospitalized for COVID-19 across 14 states found that while most children who contract coronavirus have either mild or no symptoms, they can still develop severe symptoms that require admission to an intensive care unit (ICU). Hispanic and Black children are at a higher risk than other groups.

In fact, one out of three children in the study was admitted to the ICU, a rate similar to that found among adults, according to the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released last Friday. 

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Additionally, almost 1 in 5 of those children were younger than 3 months old. The most common symptoms reported included fever and chills, nausea and vomiting, and an inability to eat.

People of Color at Greater Risk

The analysis also revealed a troubling fact: that Hispanic children were approximately eight times as likely as white children to be hospitalized for COVID-19, while Black children were five times as likely to be hospitalized. This, the CDC says, is consistent with other studies.

At this time, CDC researchers say it is not clear why some racial groups are hospitalized at higher rates than others. However, researchers hypothesized that “Hispanic adults might be at increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection because they are overrepresented in frontline occupations.”


In fact, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), people of color are overrepresented in many occupations within frontline industries. Just over four-in-ten (41.2 percent) frontline workers are Black, Hispanic, Asian-American/Pacific Islander, or some category other than white. These occupations—which include grocery store clerks, nurses, cleaners, warehouse workers, and bus drivers, among others—typically offer decreased opportunities for social distancing, “which might also affect children living in those households,” the report says.

Researchers also noted that underlying medical conditions might have contributed to the children’s hospitalization. Hispanic and Black children, for example, are more likely to suffer from conditions like obesity. However, they added that even among children hospitalized with severe COVID-19 complications, the fatality rate remains low.

READ MORE: Joe Biden Has Released His Healthcare Plan. Here’s What It Means for You.

Cases Spike Across the Nation

This news comes at a time when the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) report more than 97,000 children in the United States tested positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks of July. 

In addition, following an outbreak of COVID-19 at an overnight camp in Georgia in June—despite the camp’s adherence to all the requirements in that state’s protocol for reopening—the CDC concluded that even with mitigation efforts, coronavirus can “spread efficiently” in youth-centric activities, causing a spike in infection rates among attendees of all ages.

For this reason, the CDC concludes it’s vital to continue prevention efforts wherever children gather, specifically schools and child care centers.



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