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Sex Disparities in COVID-19 Deaths Not Seen Across Race

WEDNESDAY, April 21, 2021 -- Sex disparities in COVID-19 mortality do not hold across racial groups, according to a study published online April 5 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Tamara Rushovich, M.P.H., from Harvard University in Boston, and colleagues used publicly available datasets of COVID-19 deaths from the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (through Sept. 21, 2020) to assess sex disparities in COVID-19 deaths across race.

The researchers found that within race groups, men had a higher COVID-19 mortality rate than women. Of all race-sex groups, Black men had the highest rate (in Michigan: 254.6 deaths per 100,000; in Georgia: 128.5 per 100,000). The COVID-19 mortality rate for Black women in Michigan (147.1) was higher than the rate for White men (39.1), White women (29.7), and Asian/Pacific Islander men and women. A similar pattern was seen in Georgia. The male:female mortality rate ratio among Black individuals in Michigan was 1.7, while the rate ratio among White individuals was 1.3.

"This demonstrates the limitations of unidimensional reporting and analyses and highlights the ways that race and gender intersect to shape COVID-19 outcomes," the authors write.

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