(Reuters) – A disproportionate percentage of U.S. COVID-19 deaths have been recorded among Black and Hispanic people younger than 21, according to a U.S. study, a reflection of the racial and ethnic make-up of essential workers who have more exposure to COVID-19.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that from Feb. 12 through July 31, there were 121 deaths among people younger than the age of 21 in 27 states.
Hispanic, Black, and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaskan Native people accounted for about 75% of the deaths in that age group, even though they represent 41% of the U.S. population aged under 21.
The researchers looked at data from 47 of 50 states. Among the 121 deaths, 63% were male, 45% were Hispanic and 29% were Black.
Deaths among children younger than one accounted for 10% of the total, 20% of the deaths were among one-to-nine-year olds, while those aged between 10 and 20 years accounted for the rest.
A quarter of the 121 deaths were in previously healthy individuals with no reported underlying medical condition, while 75% had at least one underlying medical condition, including asthma.
The researchers said children from racial and ethnic minority groups, whose parents were likely to be essential workers, could also be overrepresented because of crowded living conditions, food and housing insecurity, wealth and educational gaps and racial discrimination.
The study appeared in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The findings of this study could be limited by incomplete testing and delays in reporting COVID-19-associated deaths, among other things, the researchers said.
(Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)