Disparities in COVID-19 hospitalizations and mortality among black and Hispanic patients: cross-sectional analysis from the greater Houston metropolitan area

Alan P. Pan, Osman Khan, Jennifer R. Meeks, Marc L. Boom, Faisal N. Masud, Julia D. Andrieni, Robert A. Phillips, Yordanos M. Tiruneh, Bita A. Kash, Farhaan S. Vahidy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Disparate racial/ethnic burdens of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may be attributable to higher susceptibility to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) or to factors such as differences in hospitalization and care provision. Methods: In our cross-sectional analysis of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases from a tertiary, eight-hospital healthcare system across greater Houston, multivariable logistic regression models were fitted to evaluate hospitalization and mortality odds for non-Hispanic Blacks (NHBs) vs. non-Hispanic Whites (NHWs) and Hispanics vs. non-Hispanics. Results: Between March 3rd and July 18th, 2020, 70,496 individuals were tested for SARS-CoV-2; 12,084 (17.1%) tested positive, of whom 3536 (29.3%) were hospitalized. Among positive cases, NHBs and Hispanics were significantly younger than NHWs and Hispanics, respectively (mean age NHBs vs. NHWs: 46.0 vs. 51.7 years; p < 0.001 and Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic: 44.0 vs. 48.7 years; p < 0.001). Despite younger age, NHBs (vs. NHWs) had a higher prevalence of diabetes (25.2% vs. 17.6%; p < 0.001), hypertension (47.7% vs. 43.1%; p < 0.001), and chronic kidney disease (5.0% vs. 3.3%; p = 0.001). Both minority groups resided in lower median income (median income [USD]; NHBs vs. NHWs: 63,489 vs. 75,793; p < 0.001, Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic: 59,104 vs. 68,318; p < 0.001) and higher population density areas (median population density [per square mile]; NHBs vs. NHWs: 3257 vs. 2742; p < 0.001, Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic: 3381 vs. 2884; p < 0.001). In fully adjusted models, NHBs (vs. NHWs) and Hispanics (vs. non-Hispanic) had higher likelihoods of hospitalization, aOR (95% CI): 1.42 (1.24–1.63) and 1.61 (1.46–1.78), respectively. No differences were observed in intensive care unit (ICU) utilization or treatment parameters. Models adjusted for demographics, vital signs, laboratory parameters, hospital complications, and ICU admission vital signs demonstrated non-significantly lower likelihoods of in-hospital mortality among NHBs and Hispanic patients, aOR (95% CI): 0.65 (0.40–1.03) and 0.89 (0.59–1.31), respectively. Conclusions: Our data did not demonstrate racial and ethnic differences in care provision and hospital outcomes. Higher susceptibility of racial and ethnic minorities to SARS-CoV-2 and subsequent hospitalization may be driven primarily by social determinants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1330
Pages (from-to)1330
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 6 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Disparities
  • Ethnicity
  • Race
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Hispanic Americans
  • African Americans
  • Hospitalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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