Racial and Ethnic Disparities in COVID-19 Infection and Hospitalization in the Active Component US Military

John M. Young, Shauna L. Stahlman, Shawn S. Clausen, Mark L. Bova, James D. Mancuso*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives. To assess COVID-19 disparities in the active component US military with an emphasis on race and ethnicity. Methods. In this retrospective cohort study, we calculated the incidence of COVID-19 testing, infection, and hospitalization in the active component US military in calendar year 2020. Results. Overall, 61.3 per 100 population per year were tested for COVID-19, 10.4% of tests were positive, and 1.1% of infected individuals were hospitalized. Non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics had a rate of testing for COVID-19 similar to that of Whites but had a higher risk of infection (adjusted risk ratio [ARR]51.25 and 1.26, respectively) and hospitalization (ARR51.28 and 1.21, respectively). Conclusions. Although of lower magnitude than seen in civilian populations, racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 infection and hospitalizations exist in the US military despite universal eligibility for health care, similar rate of testing, and adjustment for comorbidities and other factors. Simply making health care coverage available may be insufficient to ensure health equity. Interventions to mitigate disparities in the US military should target the patient, provider, health care system, and society at large.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2194-2201
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


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