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COVID-19 death rates higher in neighbourhoods with more visible minorities: StatCan

Last Updated Oct 28, 2020 at 3:54 pm MST

Statistics Canada in Ottawa, Ontario on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

OTTAWA — A new Statistics Canada report says communities with the most visible minorities had the highest mortality rates during the first wave of COVID-19.

The report’s authors say it is more evidence that the pandemic is disproportionately affecting visible minorities, who are more likely to live in overcrowded housing and work in jobs that put them more at risk of exposure to COVID-19.

In the four biggest provinces — which account for 99 per cent of the deaths from COVID-19 between March and July — death rates from COVID-19 were twice as high in communities where more than one in four people identify as a visible minority, compared with communities where less than one per cent of residents did.

In Ontario and Quebec, the rates were 3.5 times as high in communities where more than one-fourth of residents identify as visible minorities.

Nearly 8,800 people died in the first wave of the pandemic in Canada, 94 per cent of them in Quebec and Ontario.

Canadian and provincial public health agencies did not collect much data on race of patients with COVID-19 at first, so Statistics Canada used the national database on deaths and census data on visible minorities and neighbourhoods to compile the report.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2020.

The Canadian Press