According to lead researcher Refilwe Phaswana-Mafuya, a professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Johannesburg, data shows that black African women get hospitalised at a much younger age compared with other racial groups. She and a group of researchers from other universities have published a paper in the South African Medical Journal entitled “Understanding the differential impacts of Covid-19 among hospitalised patients in South Africa for equitable response”, reported Sunday Times (14 November 2021) The team looked at Covid hospital admissions between March 2020 and January 2021, and found that black African females had the highest hospitalisation rates at a younger age category of 30 to 39 years compared with other race groups. Black Africans [across all genders] were hospitalised at younger ages than other race groups, with a median age of 52 years. Whites were hospitalised at older ages than other races, with a median age of 63 years.

Phaswana-Mafuya said the data raises questions about having comorbidities at an earlier age, or lower

immunity, or not being able to get the right treatment on time. The researchers say that admission differences “may be due to racial disparities in exposure and susceptibility due to disproportionately higher rates of non-communicable diseases and disease severity”.

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