This abstract is summarized by IPR from the original survey published by the Pew Research Center.

A recent Pew Research Center Survey found that black Americans account for a disproportionate share of COVID-19 deaths, and stand out from other racial and ethnic groups in their attitudes toward specific healthcare topics. For example, black adults are more hesitant to trust medical scientists, embrace the use of experimental medical treatments, and sign up for a potential vaccine to combat the illness.

Data about COVID-19 deaths among black Americans is drawn from The COVID Tracking Project. All data is current as of June 2, 2020.

Some key findings include:

  • Nationally, black Americans account for about 13% of the U.S. population but 24% of the COVID-19 deaths.
  • In Kansas and Wisconsin, black people account for 6% of each state’s population but 29% and 26% of deaths, respectively – the biggest proportional disparities out of the states for which demographic data on COVID-19 deaths is available.
  • In eight states overall, the black share of COVID-19 deaths is at least twice as high as the black share of the population.

Public health experts have offered a mix of explanations for these disparities. They include:

  • Higher rates of preexisting health conditions that increase the risk of complications from COVID-19
  • Social and economic factors that contribute to health risk
  • Long-standing inequities in health care access and outcomes for black Americans compared with other racial and ethnic groups.
  • 35% of black Americans have a great deal of confidence in medical scientists to act in the public interest, compared with 43% of white adults.
  • A 57% majority of black adults say the risks of expanding experimental treatments outweigh the benefits, while 41% say the benefits outweigh the risks. Hispanic (53%) and white adults (63%) are more likely than black adults to say the benefits outweigh the risks.

Read more to learn the higher risks black Americans face and their perceptions of medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Citation: Funk, C., Kennedy, B., & Johnson, C. (2020, August 27). Trust in Medical Scientists Has Grown in U.S., but Mainly Among Democrats. Retrieved September 08, 2020, from

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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