Since COVID-19 emerged last year, multiple studies have shown that Black people are generally dying at a much higher rate than white people in the United States.
But other studies, and the raw numbers themselves, have stated that men generally die from COVID-19 far more often than women.
While the researchers expected, and confirmed, that Black men in both states die at far higher rates than any other group, the report stated its findings that Black women are also dying at higher rates than both white and Asian men were "complex.""While the data show that men are at higher risk of COVID-19 death compared with women across racial/ethnic groups, and that Black men and women have markedly higher risk of COVID-19 death compared with White and Asian/PI men and women within gender groups, an intersectional analysis reveals more complex patterns," the report said.
"Thus, our results show that Black women have a higher mortality rate than both white and Asian/PI men as well as white and Asian/PI women," it added, noting also that the sex disparities COVID-19 mortality within races was also concerning.
The death rate from COVID-19 between Black men and women was much larger than that of white men and women.
"Efforts to explain these disparities must focus on how differential risk of exposure and differential susceptibility to COVID-19 complications are jointly patterned by the gendered and racialized nature of work, housing and living conditions, comorbidities, and access to care," the study asserts.
Co-author Tamara Rushovich spoke to HuffPost about the report's findings and said that while the data largely proves what many people expected, it's "always devastating to see such results and unfortunate that this is what we expect.”
“Black women sit at the intersection of both gender and race oppression. So it wasn’t surprising to see these high rates among Black women become more visible,” Rushovich said.
Unfortunately, most of the data on COVID-19 deaths varies from state to state, with some tracking racial and ethnic data while others collect none, Rushovich said, explaining why Michigan and Georgia were chosen.
"Because of the long history of racism and structural, gendered racism, I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar patterns that exist across the country, but there might be different degrees of magnitude,” she said.
In an op-ed, PhD candidate Tamara Rushovich and GenderSciLab director Sarah S. Richardson discuss their findings showing that gender differences in COVID-19 mortality are influenced by social factors more than biological factors. https://t.co/JWmFi7xEYX— HarvardPublicHealth (@HarvardChanSPH) April 6, 2021
In an op-ed for the Boston Globe, Rushovich and researcher Sarah Richardson said their research was important because people continue to believe that men in general die more often from COVID-19 than women, which they have now proven is not true.
"Black women in the United States are dying from COVID-19 at a higher rate than every other group, male or female, except Black men. COVID-19 exposure risk is higher for essential workers. Comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes increase risk of severe COVID-19," the two wrote, adding that their study was the first to dive deep into how death rates from COVID-19 vary among races and sexes.
"Histories of racial and gender stratification shape each of these factors. For example, Black men have the highest rates of death due to cardiovascular disease, and Black women are overrepresented in nursing assistant and home health aide roles. COVID relief legislation should target jobs disproportionately performed by women of color and continue to support prohibitions on evictions, since women of color are evicted at higher rates than men," the two added.