May 01, 2020

Manchin Releases Report Outlining Racial Disparities With COVID-19

Charleston, WV – Today. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released a report detailing how COVID-19 disproportionately impacts communities of color in West Virginia and across the country. Despite making up only 3 percent of the West Virginia population, 7.9 percent of positive COVID-19 patients identify as black. 


“We know that communities of color across the country are at greater risk for COVID-19 complications and West Virginia is no exception. A lack of access to quality healthcare, increased risk of having a pre-existing condition and decreased access to healthy foods are just a few reasons why our minority communities are at higher risk of COVID-19 complications. This report closely examines these factors and identifies ways we can reduce this disparity. Our communities of color deserve better and I will continue working with federal, state and local leaders to level the playing field for every community in our state,” Senator Manchin said.


The report examines common reasons that lead to the disparities of outcomes for communities of color. To read the report in full, click here.

  • Have less access to quality healthcare. People of color are less likely to receive quality care than other communities and are also more likely to be uninsured. For example, Latinos are almost 3 times as likely and African Americans are almost twice as likely to be uninsured compared to their white counterparts.

  • Are more likely to have a pre-existing condition. People of color are more likely to have pre-existing conditions. Individuals with pre-existing conditions or chronic diseases are more likely to be hospitalized and die from COVID-19. African Americans are also most likely to die of heart disease, the leading killer in the U.S. Over 30 percent of American Indian/Alaska Natives (AIANs) reported at least one form of heart disease in 2012, compared with 11 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

  • Face challenges accessing healthy food. COVID-19 has worsened many of the challenges Americans face every day, including access to healthy foods. While the national average for food insecurity is 12.3 percent, 22.5 percent of African American households and 18.5 percent of Latino households are food insecure.

  • Suffer greater exposure to air pollution and are at higher risk of the associated health impacts. People of color represent nearly 70 percent of the 20.8 million Americans living under the worst air quality conditions, and nearly 50 percent of the 150 million Americans living in counties that have failed at least one air quality standard. New studies have found that long-term exposure to air pollution can increase a person’s likelihood of dying from COVID-19 by 15 percent.

  • Make up a disproportionate number of frontline workers. As Americans increasingly observe social distancing guidelines by working from home, African American and Latino workers are less likely to have the ability to work from home. African Americans account for nearly 30 percent of bus drivers and nearly 20 percent of all food service workers, janitors, cashiers, and stockers.