83 per cent of Toronto’s COVID cases among people of colour

Black, Middle Eastern and Latin American people are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, according to Toronto Public Health data


COVID-19 disproportionately affects people of colour in Toronto, according to data on race and infections provided by the city.

While POCs make up 52 per cent of Toronto’s population, they represent 83 per cent of Toronto’s COVID-19 cases. Conversely, white people make up 48 per cent of Toronto’s population and only 17 per cent of COVID-19 cases.

“(COVID-19) has had a greater impact on those in our community who face greater health inequities,” Toronto’s medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa told press on Thursday.

Toronto Public Health committed to collecting race and socioeconomic data on April 22. Attention on race-based data during the COVID-19 pandemic was raised in Toronto after the U.S. reported that  Black people in the country were disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

The results revealed this week include data collected from May 20 to July 16, and will be updated monthly.

COVID-19 and race

The data shows that Black people make up only nine per cent of Toronto’s population, but 21 per cent of COVID-19 cases.

Arab, Middle Eastern or West Asian people are 4 per cent of Toronto’s population but represent 11 per cent of infection cases.

Latin Americans were the most disproportionately affected. They only represent three per cent of Toronto’s population but added up to 10 per cent of COVID-19 cases.

“We need to focus on the social determinants of health,” said de Villa. She listed affordable housing, access to employment, income supports and educational opportunities as determinants.

“And yes, we need to address systemic racism.”

COVID-19 and income

The COVID-19 pandemic illustrated a correlation between race and income: The greater the household income, the less chances you have to catch COVID-19.

Households earning under $50,000 accounted for 53 per cent of the city’s COVID-19 cases; only 29 per cent of Toronto’s population is in that group.

Just 17 per cent of the COVID-19 cases involved people who live in a household that earns over $100,000. That group represents 39 per cent of Toronto’s population.

A COVID-19 map produced by the city shows which neighbourhoods were most affected during the pandemic.

The Jane and Finch and Rexdale areas were hit hardest by COVID-19, with 511 and 496 cases, respectively. Meanwhile, areas like the Danforth and Yonge and Eglinton had 14 and 15 cases, respectively.

@justsayrad

Comments (1)

  • Sue August 3, 2020 12:40 PM

    I think race and ethnicity are conflated in this article. Middle eastern and west Asians can be racially white, although not ethnically white. As can Latin Americans, for example Argentina where many people have Italian heritage. I don’t think you can use the term POC on these groups when speaking about ethnicity, not race.

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