The United States has shifted its focus on tracking COVID-19 cases to the use of hospitalizations as a primary metric in assessing “community-level risk.” However, COVID-19 hospitalization data remain murky, inhibiting public health officials from accurately understanding who is getting hospitalized.

In the BMJ Global Health blog, Thoai Ngo, vice president of Social and Behavioral Science Research, and Danielle Richard, research analyst, discuss the gaps in COVID-19 hospitalization data on race and emphasize the importance of investigating racial disparities in health.

The authors write that, “The recent removal of all mitigation measures across the US, including vaccination or masks requirements for indoor public places, is an abandonment of marginalized communities which may put them at greater risk for hospitalizations. As policymakers move to prioritize hospital admission as the primary metric to track the pandemic, an equity lens is urgently needed to prioritize data surveillance and public health policies that focus on marginalized populations, particularly for people of color. We need to invest in tracking and analyzing COVID-19 hospitalization data by race and other social factors.”

Read the blog post on BMJ Global Health.

March 22, 2022

By: Thoai Ngo, Danielle Richard

in Perspective