WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- As the U.S. COVID-19 death toll exceeded 663,000 this week, it meant roughly 1 in every 500 Americans had succumbed to the disease caused by the virus, said The Washington Post in a report on Wednesday.
"The goal of testing, mask-wearing, keeping six feet apart and limiting gatherings was to slow the spread of the highly infectious virus until a vaccine could stamp it out. The vaccines came but not enough people have been immunized, and the triumph of science waned as mass death and disease remain," said the report on major factors that led to the grim milestone 19 months into the pandemic.
"While COVID's death toll overwhelms the imagination, even more stunning is the deadly efficiency with which it has targeted Black, Latino, and American Indian and Alaska Native people in their 30s, 40s and 50s," said the report.
"The pandemic has brought into stark relief centuries of entwining social, environmental, economic and political factors that erode the health and shorten the lives of people of color, putting them at higher risk of the chronic conditions that leave immune systems vulnerable to the coronavirus. Many of those same factors fuel the misinformation, mistrust and fear that leave too many unprotected," said the report.
"Many people don't have a physician they see regularly due in part to significant provider shortages in communities of color. If they do have a doctor, it can cost too much money for a visit even if insured. There are language barriers for those who don't speak English fluently and fear of deportation among undocumented immigrants," it said.
According to the report, people older than 85 make up only 2 percent of the U.S. population, but a quarter of the total death toll. One in 35 people 85 or older died of COVID-19, compared with 1 in 780 people age 40 to 64.
Death rates for younger groups, 40 to 64 years old, are much lower, but racial inequities grow larger, it said.
In the younger working-age group, 18 to 39 years old, the racial differences are even greater, with COVID-19 killing Blacks and Hispanics more than three times as often as Whites, and Native Americans almost nine times as much, said the report. Enditem