Hispanics in recent weeks have suffered a greater share of the COVID-19 cases in Evanston than they did in the early weeks of the pandemic.

The latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health indicates that — of people who identified themselves when tested as either white, black, Asian or Hispanic — Hispanics now make up 24% of all Evanston residents with confirmed COVID-19 cases, although they make up only 12% of those tested and 12% of the city’s population.

Blacks, who were overrepresented among those who fell ill with COVID-19 early in the pandemic still are overrepresented among coronavirus cases, but by a slightly smaller margin than before. The percentage of blacks tested for the disease now also is substantially higher than the black share of the city’s population.

Whites, now have been tested roughly in proportion to their share of the population, but have fewer positive cases than would be predicted based on their number of tests and population share.

There are similar disparities in how COVID-19 has impacted racial and ethnic groups across the state of Illinois — although statewide Hispanics have an even higher percentage of total cases — and whites and blacks have a lower share — than in Evanston, relative to their share of the populaton.

It should be noted that a large share of people taking COVID-19 tests — over a third in Evanston and slightly more than half statewide — have declined to specify their race or ethnicity. That potentially could skew the results in ways that are impossible to determine.

One place where minorities have not been substantially overrepresented is in Evanston’s COVID-19 death toll so far.

Based on data from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, whites are notably overrepresented among the city’s COVID-19 deaths for which race and ethnicity information was available. Blacks died at a rate roughly equivalent to their share of the population, while Asians and Hispanics were underrepresented in the death statistics.

Related story

Blacks more often diagnosed with COVID-19 here (4/10/20)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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