NIH Study Finds Frequent COVID-19-Related Discrimination Among Racial and Ethnic Groups

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) recently published a study exploring the prevalence of COVID-19-related discrimination in all major racial and ethnic groups in the United States. COVID-19-related discrimination includes experiences of being threatened or harassed based on someone’s perception of another having COVID-19.

Data was collected from the COVID-19 Unequal Racial Burden (CURB) survey. The survey inquired whether individuals from racial and ethnic groups had experienced COVID-19-related discriminatory behaviors, such as being called names or insulted, being threatened or harassed, or hearing racist comments. The survey also asked whether participants felt that others acted afraid of them because they belonged to a racial or ethnic group misconceived to get COVID-19 more often.

Results determined that 22.1 percent of participants have experienced discriminatory behaviors, and 42.7 percent of participants reported that people acted afraid of them. When compared to white adults, people from all racial and ethnic minority groups were more likely to have experienced COVID-19-related discrimination. Researchers additionally analyzed the impact of other social and demographic factors on COVID-19-related discrimination. People from groups that have been marginalized, such as those who speak little to no English and those with lower levels of education, were found to face more discrimination due to the pandemic.

The results from the study suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened existing resentment toward racial and ethnic minorities and other minority populations in the U.S. The study suggests the need for careful and responsible public health messaging during public health crises to help prevent and address discrimination against groups that have been marginalized.

Additional information on the study is available here.