Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Heart and Cerebrovascular Disease Deaths During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States. Circulation Wadhera, R., Figueroa, J. F., Rodriguez, F., Liu, M., Tian, W., Kazi, D. S., Song, Y., Yeh, R. W., Joynt Maddox, K. E. 2021


Background: Cardiovascular deaths increased during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. However, it is unclear whether racial/ethnic minorities have experienced a disproportionate rise in heart disease and cerebrovascular disease deaths. Methods: We used the National Center for Health Statistics to identify heart disease and cerebrovascular disease deaths for non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Asian, and Hispanic individuals from March-August 2020 (pandemic period), as well as for the corresponding months in 2019 (historical control). We determined the age- and sex-standardized deaths per million by race/ethnicity for each year. We then fit a modified Poisson model with robust standard errors to compare change in deaths by race/ethnicity for each condition in 2020 vs. 2019. Results: There were a total of 339,076 heart disease and 76,767 cerebrovascular disease deaths from March through August 2020, compared to 321,218 and 72,190 deaths during the same months in 2019. Heart disease deaths increased during the pandemic in 2020, compared with the corresponding period in 2019, for non-Hispanic White (age-sex standardized deaths per million, 1234.2 vs. 1208.7; risk ratio for death [RR] 1.02, 95% CI 1.02-1.03), non-Hispanic Black (1783.7 vs. 1503.8; RR 1.19, 1.17-1.20), non-Hispanic Asian (685.7 vs. 577.4; RR 1.19, 1.15-1.22), and Hispanic (968.5 vs. 820.4, RR 1.18, 1.16-1.20) populations. Cerebrovascular disease deaths also increased for non-Hispanic White (268.7 vs. 258.2; RR 1.04, 95% CI 1.03-1.05), non-Hispanic Black (430.7 vs. 379.7; RR 1.13, 95% CI 1.10-1.17), non-Hispanic Asian (236.5 vs. 207.4; RR 1.15, 1.09-1.21), and Hispanic (264.4 vs. 235.9; RR 1.12, 1.08-1.16) populations. For both heart disease and cerebrovascular disease deaths, each racial and ethnic minority group experienced a larger relative increase in deaths than the non-Hispanic White population (interaction term, p<0.001). Conclusions: During the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, Black, Hispanic, and Asian populations experienced a disproportionate rise in deaths due to heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, suggesting that racial/ethnic minorities have been most impacted by the indirect effects of the pandemic. Public health and policy strategies are needed to mitigate the short- and long-term adverse effects of the pandemic on the cardiovascular health of minority populations.

View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.054378

View details for PubMedID 34000814