Racial and Ethnic Disparities in COVID-19 Treatments in the United States

Essy Mozaffari, Aastha Chandak, Alpesh N. Amin, Robert L. Gottlieb, Andre C. Kalil, Vishnudas Sarda, Mark Berry, Gina Brown, Jason F. Okulicz, Chidinma Chima-Melton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Racial and ethnic disparities in patient outcomes following COVID-19 exist, in part, due to factors involving healthcare delivery. The aim of the study was to characterize disparities in the administration of evidence-based COVID-19 treatments among patients hospitalized for COVID-19. Methods: Using a large, US hospital database, initiation of COVID-19 treatments was compared among patients hospitalized for COVID-19 between May 2020 and April 2022 according to patient race and ethnicity. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine the effect of race and ethnicity on the likelihood of receiving COVID-19 treatments, stratified by baseline supplemental oxygen requirement. Results: The identified population comprised 317,918 White, 76,715 Black, 9297 Asian, and 50,821 patients of other or unknown race. There were 329,940 non-Hispanic, 74,199 Hispanic, and 50,622 patients of unknown ethnicity. White patients were more likely to receive COVID-19 treatments, and specifically corticosteroids, compared to Black, Asian, and other patients (COVID-19 treatment: 87% vs. 81% vs. 85% vs. 84%, corticosteroids: 85% vs. 79% vs. 82% vs. 82%). After covariate adjustment, White patients were significantly more likely to receive COVID-19 treatments than Black patients across all levels of supplemental oxygen requirement. No clear trend in COVID-19 treatments according to ethnicity (Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic) was observed. Conclusion: There were important racial disparities in inpatient COVID-19 treatment initiation, including the undertreatment of Black patients and overtreatment of White patients. Our new findings reveal the actual magnitude of this issue in routine clinical practice to clinicians, policymakers, and guideline developers. This is crucial to ensuring equitable and appropriate access to evidence-based therapies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Health disparities
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Treatments


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