Study Finds High Rates of Covid-Related Discrimination Against U.S. Minorities

People in the United States belonging to racial and ethnic minority groups have reported experiencing Covid-related discrimination much more often than white people and much more often than anticipated during the pandemic. New research is one of the largest to date on the subject.

A study by the National Institute for Minority Health and Disparity, a division of the National Institutes of Health, found that members of minority groups were more likely to report being harassed or threatened or in situations where they were treated in ways that they may be carriers. Illness. Asians who have been the victims of several high-profile bias-related crimes during the pandemic have reported the highest rates of Covid-related ridicule in the form of racist comments, insults, threats, and name-calling.

But they were not alone: ​​members of other major racial and ethnic groups, including American Indian/Alaska Natives, Blacks, Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and multiracials, also said they experienced discrimination and saw people act afraid of them.

“While we expected discrimination to be widespread, it turned out to be much more widespread than previously thought and doubled previous estimates for Asian Americans,” said Paula D. Strässle, lead author of the paper and a staff fellow at the institute.

While other reports suggested that 20 percent of people of Asian origin experienced Covid-related prejudice, a new report found that 30 percent of this group experienced such discrimination. In comparison, 44 percent saw people acting fearfully around them. American Indian/Alaska Natives and Hispanics reported similar rates of discrimination and fearful behavior. In contrast, participants in the multiracial survey and Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders reported similarly high rates of threatening behavior, among others. Of all minority groups, blacks and those of different races reported the lowest rates of Covid-related discrimination, although many said they felt fear.

Those who spoke little or no English at all and those who were less educated also reported more Covid-related discrimination. And survey participants in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee reported relatively higher levels of discrimination than in other parts of the country.

Overall, 22 percent of those surveyed reported experiencing discriminatory behavior related to Covid, and 43 percent said people acted as if they were afraid of them.

The study, whose results were published in the American Journal of Public Health on Wednesday, was based on the CURB (Unequal Racial Burden of Covid-19) survey, an extensive survey of a nationally representative sample of 5,500 adults. The survey was conducted online from December 2020 to February 2021.

The results show that the pandemic has exacerbated resentment and prejudice against members of minority communities, Dr. Strassle said, adding that future analyzes will examine the impact of discrimination on mental health and people’s willingness to seek health care. “We need to be mindful of the additional impacts that come with a pandemic beyond infection and a health crisis,” she said.

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