Fact check: Biden says 1 in 1,000 Black Americans have died from COVID-19. Is it true?

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President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic was a hot topic during Tuesday’s debate, including Joe Biden’s claim that 1 in 1,000 Black Americans have died due to COVID-19 — and that it could be 1 in 500 if Trump doesn’t act quickly.

The Democratic nominee appears to be at least partially right.

A recent study from the APM Research Lab titled “The color of coronavirus: COVID-19 deaths by race and ethnicity in the U.S,” concludes that “Black and Indigenous Americans experience [the] highest death tolls from COVID-19.”

“Actual death rates from COVID-19 data ... have reached new highs for all race groups: 1 in 1,020 Black Americans has died (or 97.9 deaths per 100,000),” the report said.

Nationwide, Black Americans “experience the highest actual COVID-19 mortality rates nationwide — more than twice as high as the rate for Whites and Asians, who have the lowest actual rates.”

Even when adjusted to consider age, the mortality rate for Black Americans is still 3.4 times higher than white Americans.

While the 1 in 1,000 ratiois correct, the study does not address how the mortality rate might look if Trump does not make some changes in the fight against COVID-19.

Biden suggested the death rate would only get worse, saying “If [Trump] doesn’t do something quickly, by the end of the year, 1 in 500 will have been killed.”

There are no models that indicate how the mortality rates will change in the future, based on coronavirus restrictions, TIME reported.

However, VOX reports that “Biden’s statement that 1 in 500 could die by the end of the year without swift action would appear to reflect the estimates that the U.S. death toll could grow to 400,000 by January 1.”

McClatchy News reached out to the Biden campaign for clarification but has not received a response.

The Centers for Disease Control cites several reasons for the racial disparity in COVID-19 mortality rates, including discrimination, healthcare access, occupation, education, income, wealth gaps and housing, according to the agency’s website.

“Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put many people from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19,” the CDC says.

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