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Black veterans aren’t being treated for COVID-19 at the same rate as white veterans, according to a new study by the University of Pittsburgh.
Led by a medical student in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine, Alexander Castro, the study looked at information from 130 Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.
Out of the 48,222 veterans whose information was looked at, the researchers found that about 66% of those who needed treatment for their breathing issues were administered drugs, such as systemic steroids, to increase the survival rate for those with severe COVID-19. When it came to receiving this drug, according to the study, Black veterans were 12% less likely to be administered systemic steroids in comparison to white veterans.
Researchers also found that Black veterans had an 11% less chance of getting remdesivir, a treatment used against COVID-19 usually during the first week of infection. There was also a decreased 23% chance that they would be treated with immunomodulatory drugs, a type of treatment that helps fix abnormal immune responses in COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms.
“We should not be seeing racial disparities in treatment, even if those disparities may not be resulting in more deaths,” said Florian Mayr, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor at the school and a co-author of the study, in a statement. “When entire hospitals are underperforming in providing evidence-based treatments, we can target hospital-wide interventions to address the problem. But correcting racial disparities in provision of treatment within hospitals requires a multilayer approach.”
While everyone was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Americans were among the groups that were most affected. A 2022 report by the nonprofit Black Coalition Against COVID proves that two years after the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 is still an issue in the Black American community.
According to the authors, during the beginning of the year on the week of Jan. 8, Black Americans were still recording high hospitalization rates, averaging about 64 hospitalizations out of 100,000. The statistic is about twice the total rate.
The pandemic has also directly caused issues such as increased anxiety and depression in the Black American community.
According to a recent article by CNBC, a study released by Plus One, a scientific journal, out of 691,473 participants across the U.S. and the U.K., Black Americans were found to be 1.16 times more likely to receive a diagnosis of depression.
As for anxiety, the rate for Black Americans increased by five percent from pre-pandemic levels.