DocTalk Podcast: COVID-19 Health Inequity

May 11, 2020

Panagis Galiatsatos, MD, MHS, joins to discuss the underlying issues and potential solutions to COVID-19 patient disparities.

Health inequity is among the most glaring issues in the US healthcare system. And now, the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has taken a magnifying glass to the issue.

A recent update from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showed that 45% of observed COVID-19 patients for whom race or ethnicity data was available were white, compared to 55% of individuals in their surrounding community.

However, one-third of all hospitalized patients were black, versus just 18% in the community. Another 8% of hospitalized patients were Hispanic, compared to 14% in the community. Minorities are over-representing the population of COVID-19 patients in hospitals right now.

Death rates are also more severe for Black and Hispanic patients—almost double the rate of white or Asian patients to die from COVID-19 per 100,000 population.

In the most recent DocTalk podcast interview, Panagis Galatsatos, MD, MHS, of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, joined HCPLive to discuss the underlying effect of health disparity in the US, how the COVID-19 severity inequity could burden differing populations, and what large-scale solutions might better access to care and clinical monitoring of disease.

Galatsatos also explained why metrics including the above CDC data doesn’t shock him and his colleagues.

“For those of us who study health equity, it’s not a shock, but it is an ethical reckoning,” he said. “What to make of this, for a lot of us, is, ‘welcome to the conversation.’ We’ve been having it for decades, and a pandemic will sure as heck shine a light on these issues that we’ve been screaming about constantly.”