New data suggests that Black people are disproportionately suffering this flu season.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black people with the flu are being hospitalized nearly four times more than their white counterparts — the hospitalization rate for Black flu patients landed at 22.6 per 100,000 population as of November 19, while white patients were hospitalized at just 5.9 per 100,000, per BET.
The stats mark the first year since 2010 that the hospitalization rate for Black flu patients has been more than three times that of their white counterparts at this point in the season.
This year also has seen an increase in the overall rate of people sick with the flu. Americans are contracting the virus at a rate nearly 14 times higher than the typical average.
According to Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, flu cases drastically decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic in part due to social distancing and face coverings. Now that those practices have waned, Americans have again become more susceptible to contracting the flu.
The CDC estimates that there have been at least 6.2 million cases of the flu, 53,000 hospitalizations, and 2,900 deaths as of November 28.