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COVID-19: Impact on minority groups should be studied

From nearly the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, it was clear the impact of the disease has a racial component. Black Americans have been affected far more severely than whites.

Exactly why that is so has yet to be learned. Obviously, getting answers is critical.

But Blacks are not the only group disproportionately suffering. So are Hispanics. Many Latino communities have been battered by COVID-19, while adjacent white populations have not been hit as hard.

As The Associated Press reports, about 65 percent of the COVID-19 diagnoses in the county around Chattanooga, Tenn., have been of Hispanics. They are only 6 percent of the county’s population. In North Carolina, Hispanics make up 10 percent of the population — but 45 percent of the coronavirus patients.

As has been the situation with Blacks, a number of hypotheses have been advanced. One theory involves Hispanics’ (and other minority/vulnerable populations’) social and economic situations, the quality of health care and access to it. That possibility must be thoroughly explored, as part of an OBJECTIVE, scientific investigation.

Drawing conclusions based on appearances or researchers’ biases would be worse than unwise. It would be irresponsible.

This is a matter of life and death. Finding out why COVID-19 infects and affects some populations worse than others — and what we can do about it — is imperative to save lives.

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