A look at COVID-19 in Ingham County: Recovery rate, racial and sex disparities

Coronavirus

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Ingham County, Mich. (WLNS) — Ingham County currently has confirmed 7,335 cases of coronavirus with 97 deaths, per the Ingham County Health Department.

Of the positive cases, 59% have recovered, which is slightly higher than the statewide recovery rate of 55%.

COVID-19 by age group

Breaking down coronavirus cases by age group within the county, 20-29 year-olds are testing positive for the virus at between two and twelve times the rate of other age groups.

COVID-19 disproportionately affects Black people

Looking at the virus’ infection rate among racial groups, in Ingham County, Black people are testing positive for COVID-19 at 1.3 times the rate of white people.

On a statewide level, Black people are dying at disproportionate rates compared to white people, despite making up 14% of the state population.

When the pandemic first began, Black people accounted for 40% of all COVID-19 deaths in the state.

Linda Vail, health officer of the Ingham County Health Dept said the numbers are startling but not shocking, as 6 News Araceli Crescencio reported.

“We see many many many health conditions such that disproportionately affect communities of color so that’s not new and I guess in some ways is not a surprise that we would see that yet again,” Vail said.

Much of the cause comes down to poverty, which means less access to health care, less availability to work from home, as well as living in close quarters with others.

To address the racial disparities of COVID-19, Gov. Whitmer in the spring announced the creation of the COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities, with Lt. Gov. Gilchrist II at the helm of the group.

The Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities provides the governor with recommendations on how to address this disparity as officials work to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state. 

“This virus is holding a mirror up to our society and reminding us of the deep inequities in this country,” said Governor Whitmer upon creating the task force in April. “From basic lack of access to health care, transportation, and protections in the workplace, these inequities hit people of color and vulnerable communities the hardest. This task force will help us start addressing these disparities right now as we work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan.” 

COVID-19 breakdown between the sexes

Looking at the distribution of COVID-19 among females and males in Ingham County, currently, it is equal — with both females and males testing positive for COVID-19 50% of the time.

In the state, females are actually testing positive for COVID-19 at a slightly higher rate than males. But, males are still dying at disproportionate rates from the virus compared to females.

On a national level, males are more likely to get sick and die from the coronavirus than females.

The coronavirus’ sex gap is similar to those seen with diseases like influenza and hepatitis, which females tend to recover from faster than males. Females also generally mount stronger immune responses from vaccines. 

“One of the biggest questions that I have is the extent to which these differences between men and women are being mediated by our hormones versus our genes,” said Sabra Klein, who studies gender differences in immune response to viruses and vaccination at Johns Hopkins. 

Some scientists believe the advantage lies in the X chromosome, which carries genes linked to immune function. Females have two X chromosomes, while males only have one. 

More men get sick and die from COVID-19 than women do and researchers at the University of Miami may have found part of the reason why.

According to a newly released study, COVID-19 invades some men’s testicles.

Researchers at the university tested the testicles of men who died from COVID-19 and found the virus inside the reproductive organs.

But what surprised them even more, is when they tested a living man who recovered from COVID-19, the virus was still inside his testicles.

You can read more about that study on WLNS.com here.

For more information on Ingham County’s coronavirus cases, visit the Ingham County COVID-19 dashboard here.

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