74% of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are white, but officials following demographic data

Several major cities experiencing significant disparities in racial makeup of deaths

Sloane Martin
April 06, 2020 - 8:14 pm

Major cities like Chicago, New York, Detroit, Milwaukee and New Orleans are reporting an "overwhelming number" of African-American residents making up COVID-19 deaths.

Minnesota does not look that way, but health officials say it’s an important piece of data to study.

In Chicago, black residents make up 30 percent of the population, but 72 percent of deaths. In Minnesota, 74% of cases and 77% of deaths are white (23 of 30). Six percent of cases are Black, four percent Asian and one percent Native American.

racial disparities
Minnesota Dept. of Health

racial disparities
Minnesota Dept. of Health

What’s concerning to MDH is that it’s self-reported data, and a significant portion -- 14 percent of cases -- are listed as unknown or missing.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm says underlying health conditions and access to healthcare statistically affect communities of color disproportionately.

“Given the relationship between risks of more severe disease and chronic underlying health conditions, just the fact that we know from some of our other health disparity data the disproportionate burden of some of those chronic diseases on populations of color, American Indian,” Malcolm said. 

Six deaths in Minnesota were not self-reported.

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