JOHANNESBURG — A report in South Africa says there is a higher risk of Black or mixed-race patients dying of COVID-19 in the country’s hospitals than white patients.
A report by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases indicates the association but doesn’t go into detail. South Africa has released little data by race during the coronavirus pandemic.
The country has the world’s fifth largest virus caseload with more than 579,000 confirmed cases and ranks No. 13 with more than 11,000 deaths, according to the tally by Johns Hopkins University.
The report says overall, 18% of people with coronavirus admitted to hospitals die. Public hospitals are generally more poorly funded than private hospitals.
The report includes data from more than 150 public and private hospitals across the country. According to the 2011 census, 86% of South Africans are Black or mixed race, with 9% white.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.