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COVID-19 Rates in Black Community May Be Lower Than Reported, Researcher Says

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When UCSF wanted to look into COVID-19 disparities in the Black community, they tapped Dr. Kim Rhoads. Rhoads is an epidemiologist and biostatistician at UCSF who has done extensive outreach in the Bay Area’s Black community.

Most current research points to higher COVID-19 infection rates among Black people in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Black Americans are 1.4 times more likely to catch the virus compared to their white counterparts. And according to the state public health department, Black people make up approximately 4% of positive cases in California but only 6% of the total population in the state.

But according to Rhoads, those statistics don't tell the full story.

Looking into infection rates among Black Americans in Oakland, Rhoads discovered that virus positivity may be lower than is being reported by public health departments and the media because a large portion of the Black population is being missed.

A sizable number of people in the community, she said, are untested, unreached and uncounted.

She discovered the trend after her team tested 1,000 people across Oakland at eight separate pop-up testing events, and only two Black participants came back positive, leading to a positivity rate of less than 1%.

Read the full story.

Julie Chang

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