visualization

Differences in cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths, by race and ethnicity

overview

Cases of COVID-19 and deaths from COVID-19 differ by race and ethnicity in North Carolina. These disparities in COVID-19 cases and deaths exist for many reasons, including disparities in access to healthcare, occupational exposure to COVID-19, and underlying health conditions that increase the chance of severe complications from COVID-19. These charts show the cumulative proportion of people in each race or ethnic group with confirmed COVID-19 and who died from COVID-19  in North Carolina and select counties. All data are preliminary and are subject to change. The most current is available on the NC DHHS COVID-19 dashboard

To see how to use, FAQs and definitions, click here. To navigate the dashboard, click on the grey buttons to view cumulative COVID-19 cases and deaths by race and ethnicity. Case data is presented for select counties and North Carolina. Death data is presented for North Carolina only.

These charts are updated monthly. Data were last updated on 15 July 2021.

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What does this visualization show me?

COVID-19 case data: The top chart shows the cumulative risk of confirmed COVID-19 cases over time by race or ethnicity for select counties in North Carolina. “Risk” in this context is defined as the cumulative proportion of each race and ethnicity group that had confirmed COVID-19. Counties were selected based on data availability, as many counties suppress weekly COVID-19 case data within race or ethnicity categories due to small counts. The bottom chart shows the cumulative risk of confirmed COVID-19 cases by race or ethnicity for the state of North Carolina. Each bar presents the data for that race or ethnicity.

COVID-19 death data: The chart shows the cumulative risk of death from COVID-19 by race or ethnicity for the state of North Carolina. Again, “risk” is defined as the cumulative proportion of each race and ethnicity group that died due to confirmed COVID-19. Due to data availability and suppression for COVID-19 death data by race or ethnicity over time, this data is not presented for North Carolina counties. 

How does this visualization help us understand COVID-19?

Collectively, these visualizations depict racial and ethnic disparities that persist in the risk of becoming a case of COVID-19 and death from COVID-19 in select counties and North Carolina. 

The cumulative risk of COVID-19 can be interpreted as the percent of that race or ethnicity group that has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to date in that specific county or in North Carolina. The cumulative risk of death from COVID-19 is the percent of that race or ethnicity group that has died from COVID-19 to date. 

It is important to note some limitations of this data. First, some race and ethnicity groups have differential access to testing and healthcare which may impact case diagnoses or deaths counted. Further, misclassification of race or ethnicity is possible due to differences in reporting (e.g., self-reported vs provider reported). Misclassification of COVID-19 deaths is also possible due to reported cause of death (e.g., death certificate may report cause of death as something other than COVID-19).  

Where do the data come from?

The COVID-19 confirmed case and death data are from the publicly available NC DHHS COVID-19 dashboard. Statewide cases and deaths to date are reported on the NC DHHS COVID-19 dashboard. However, COVID-19 case and death data over time by race and ethnicity are not reported for the state; therefore, they are not presented here. 

County level COVID-19 death data over time by race and ethnicity are often suppressed due to small counts or denominators. Specifically, for denominators with less than 500 people, case and death data are suppressed for that race or ethnicity group. For more information on data suppression rules, please visit the NC DHHS COVID-19 dashboard: Data behind the dashboards site. 

Statewide and county population data are from the 2019 U.S. Census population estimates for North Carolina.  

How were the measures calculated?

The percent of COVID-19 cases per race and ethnicity group was calculated by dividing the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to date by the estimated number of people in that race or ethnic group in the respective county or North Carolina. The same calculation was performed for deaths from COVID-19, though the numerator is the cumulative number of deaths from COVID-19. 

We assumed cases with missing race or ethnicity information were missing completely at random. Therefore, cases and deaths with missing race and ethnicity information were redistributed based on the observed race and ethnicity distribution of cases and deaths.

Note that the NC DHHS COVID-19 dashboard provides case and death counts by race and by ethnicity, but not by race and ethnicity, such that all race groups shown here may include both Hispanic and non-Hispanic individuals. Similarly, both ethnicity categories may include people in any of the White/Other, Black, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and Asian/Pacific Islander race categories. 

White and Other race categories were combined for the analyses shown here. When analyzed separately, the number of cases attributed to the “other” race category often surpassed the reported population in the “other” race category. We believe that some cases and deaths among people of Hispanic origin may have been attributed to the “other” race category rather than the appropriate White/Other, Black, American Indian/Alaskan Native, or Asian/Pacific Islander race category. Because most (but certainly not all) people of Hispanic origin likely appear in the White race category in census data, we combined the White and Other groups here to harmonize the numerators of cases/deaths with the denominators of population counts. 

How often are the data updated?

These charts are updated approximately once a month. The most current COVID-19 case and death data can be found on the NC DHHS COVID-19 dashboard

To navigate the dashboard, click on the grey buttons on top to view COVID-19 cases and deaths by race and ethnicity.

COVID-19 case data: The top chart shows the cumulative risk of confirmed COVID-19 cases by race or ethnicity for select counties in North Carolina. Select a county to view from the dropdown menu in the top right corner of the chart. Hovering over a data point will show the cumulative risk percent and cumulative number of COVID-19 cases on that date for the corresponding race or ethnicity. The bottom chart shows the cumulative risk of COVID-19 cases by race or ethnicity for the state of North Carolina. Each bar presents the data for each race or ethnicity. Hovering over a bar will show the cumulative risk percent and cumulative number of COVID-19 cases for the corresponding race or ethnicity. 

COVID-19 death data: The chart shows the cumulative risk of death from COVID-19 by race or ethnicity for the state of North Carolina. Hovering over a bar will show the cumulative risk percent and cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths for the corresponding race or ethnicity.

The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health. The North Carolina Disease Event Tracking and Epidemiologic Collection Tool (NC DETECT) is an advanced, statewide public health surveillance system. NC DETECT is supported by the North Carolina Division of Public Health through a federal Public Health Emergency Preparedness Grant and is managed through a collaboration between NC DPH and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Emergency Medicine's Carolina Center for Health Informatics.