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So Far, COVID-19 Cases In Travis County Reflect The Current Population

St. David's South Austin Medical Center
Gabriel C. Pérez

A breakdown of hundreds of coronavirus cases in Austin-Travis County closely mirrors the current racial and ethnic demographics of the city.

Earlier this week, officials published a report showing that of the people who tested positive for COVID-19, 54% were white, 33% Hispanic, 8% black and 4% Asian. About 1% reported their race as outside these categories.

That tracks with 2018 census estimates for the county, which show roughly 49% of the population is white, 34% Hispanic, 8% black and 7% Asian.

A day before publishing race and ethnicity data on the coronavirus cases, Austin Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison asked public health officials whether the city was collecting it.

“I think it’s important information for us to have,” she said.

But the data for Austin-Travis County does not break down hospitalizations and deaths by race or ethnicity. A spokesperson said Thursday the city could not provide this information for the seven Austin-area deaths caused by the disease. When asked by KUT why this data was unavailable, the spokesperson did not respond.

Other cities and states – including Chicago and Mississippi – have been publicizing this data, although sometimes the information is only partial. That data has shown that black people are being hospitalized and dying from COVID-19 at rates disproportionate to their population.

The same is true nationally. Using data from 14 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that while black people make up 13% of the U.S. population, they constitute 33% of coronavirus hospitalizations, according to NPR.

Got a tip? Email Audrey McGlinchy at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.

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Audrey McGlinchy is KUT's housing reporter. She focuses on affordable housing solutions, renters’ rights and the battles over zoning. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
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