DUPAGE COUNTY, IL — Hispanic and Black communities in DuPage County were hit much harder by the coronavirus than white communities during the first 11 weeks of the outbreak, according to an analysis by the New York Times.
Latinos in DuPage County tested positive at a rate of 146 cases per 10,000 people — five times higher than the county's white population, according to the report. The same figure stood at 74 among Black communities in DuPage County, two and a half times higher than the 29 cases per 10,000 white people, the report states.
DuPage County's Asian population also tested positive at a higher rate than white people, with 37 cases per 10,000 people, according to the analysis.
The New York Times' report analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was only released after the newspaper sued for access. The data includes information on about 640,000 cases recorded before May 28 in nearly 1,000 counties across the U.S., including dozens in Illinois.
NY Times reporters analyzed 4,520 cases in DuPage County, which represents about 42 percent of the county's 10,880 cases, as of Sunday.
Nearly 44 percent of all DuPage County cases analyzed by the New York Times were confirmed in Latino people, though U.S. Census Bureau data shows they represent 15 percent of the county's population.
The nationwide analysis shows Black and Latino people are nearly twice as likely to die from the coronavirus as white people, the New York Times reports.
The disparities are even wider when comparing cases and deaths within older age groups, the report states. More than a quarter of Latino people who died from coronavirus-related conditions were younger than 60, while only 6 percent of white people who died were that young, the analysis shows.
The DuPage County Coroner's Office does not provide information about racial demographics in its publicly available data on coronavirus-related deaths.
Disparities were not as severe for people who are Asian, but they are 1.3 times as likely to be infected with the coronavirus than white people, the report states.
While many have pointed to a higher prevalence of underlying health issues among Black and Latino people to explain those communities' higher death rates, the new CDC data "underscores inequities unrelated to other health issues," the NY Times reports.
The analysis quotes several public health officials and researchers who say the data shows infections have been much more prevalent among those who can't work from home amid the pandemic.
"Some people have kind of waved away the disparities by saying, 'Oh, that's just underlying health conditions,'" Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist and professor at Johns Hopkins University, told the NY Times. "That's much harder to do with the case data."
The NY Times noted that CDC officials in June estimated the real number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. is likely about 10 times higher than the official tally.
People with more severe infections are more likely to seek medical treatment and be tested, which could explain part of the racial disparities revealed by the data, the report states. However, CDC officials said there are clear, significant racial disparities in the number of cases and deaths, the NY Times reports.
Patch Editor Jason Addy contributed to this article.