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This One Thing Can Predict if You're Going to Catch Coronavirus

A new federal report shines a light on the most vulnerable.
A female doctor in a protective cap and face mask in safety measures against the coronavirus.

We're all facing the coronavirus together but not all of us are experiencing it the same way. In fact, part of our community is being hit harder than others, as evidenced by a new federal report—and using the data, you can predict who might fall prey to COVID-19 more than someone else. And unfortunately, it has to do with your income.

"Income is a potent force along with race in determining who among the nation's vulnerable, older population has been infected with the novel coronavirus, according to a federal analysis that lays bare stark disparities in the pandemic's toll," reports the Washington Post. "The findings released Monday are based on billing records for people on Medicare who have contracted the virus. They echo the commonly understood pattern that black Americans are more likely to test positive for the virus and to be hospitalized for COVID-19, the disease it causes, than other racial and ethnic groups. But they also point to the role of poverty as the pandemic has sped through U.S. communities in the winter and spring."

Four Times as Likely to be Hospitalized

Reports the Post: "Individuals covered by Medicare, the vast federal insurance program for older Americans, who are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, the public insurance safety net, were four times more likely to have been infected or hospitalized with the coronavirus than those on Medicare alone, according to billing records from more than 325,000 cases from January through mid-May."

"The data also confirms long-understood and stubbornly persistent disparities in health outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities," said Seema Verma, the agency's administrator. "Low socioeconomic status itself, all too often wrapped up with the racial disparities I just mentioned, represents a powerful predictor of complications from COVID-19," she added.

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More Cases Per Black Enrolees

"Among those hospitalized, the most common chronic conditions were high blood pressure, high cholesterol and chronic kidney disease. Only 9% had asthma," reports CNN. "Half of those hospitalized spent up to seven days there, while 9% stayed three weeks or more. Overall, there were nearly 525 cases per 100,000 Medicaid enrollees. But there were more than 1,100 cases per 100,000 Black enrollees, and nearly 700 diagnoses per 100,000 Hispanic recipients. The rate for Asian recipients was 450 and for Whites was 425 per 100,000. Those ages 85 and older had a rate of nearly 1,150 diagnoses per 100,000 enrollees, compared to roughly 350 per 100,000 among people aged 65 to 74 and 550 cases per 100,000 for people 75 to 84."

Discouraging news, to be sure. No matter your race or income level, wear a face covering, practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently, monitor your health—and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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