Disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on black residents in all regions of SC, new data shows

Updated: Jul. 16, 2020 at 9:29 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Newly released data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reveals that black South Carolinians are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in all regions of the state.

The S.C. Institute of Medicine and Public Health describes itself as a “nonpartisan, non-profit organization working to collectively inform policy to improve health and health care in South Carolina.”

The group along with DHEC released information analyzing the disparities.

In each region of the state, black residents are being diagnosed with and dying from the virus at disproportionately high rates.

According to the data, black people make up 27% of the state’s population, but represent 49.1% of people hospitalized with COVID.

They also represent 45% of those who died.

Chart showing percentage of COVID-19 deaths by race compared to population demographics.
Chart showing percentage of COVID-19 deaths by race compared to population demographics.(Provided)

“This pandemic is not a new display of inequities so this data is really shining a light on inequities that have existed for generations in our country and in our state,” IMPH Executive Director Maya Park said. “We need to look at the social and environmental factors that are causing these numbers, and in the midst of the crisis we need to make sure folks have access to testing so that if they are positive they can self quarantine and isolate early.”

The data also reveals that the Pee Dee region has the biggest racial disparity in the state for COVID related deaths. It is followed by the Upstate, the Lowcountry, and then the Midlands.

As for the next steps, the institute is working on a policy paper that looks at these inequities in detail to determine what policy changes need to be made.

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