THURSDAY, Aug. 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The overall incidence of COVID-19 is increased among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) persons in the United States, according to research published in the Aug. 19 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Sarah M. Hatcher, Ph.D., from the CDC COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues examined the impact of COVID-19 among the AI/AN population by analyzing reports of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases during Jan. 22 to July 3, 2020. The analysis was limited to 23 states with >70 percent complete race/ethnicity information; complete race/ethnicity information was available for 340,059 cases.

The researchers found that the cumulative incidence was 594 per 100,000 AI/AN population in these 23 states compared with 169 per 100,000 White population (rate ratio, 3.5). Compared with White persons, AI/AN persons with COVID-19 were younger (median age, 40 versus 51 years); compared with White patients, a higher proportion of AI/AN patients were aged <18 years and a smaller proportion were aged ≥65 years (12.9 versus 4.3 percent and 12.6 versus 28.6 percent, respectively).

“These findings highlight the important contribution of adequate health care and public health infrastructure resources to culturally responsive public health efforts intended to sustain the strengths of AI/AN communities,” the authors write.

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