About 21 percent of children tested positive at the D.C. testing site, the study said, but positivity rates varied greatly by race. About 46 percent of Hispanic children and 30 percent of Black children tested positive, according to the study, while 7 percent of non-Hispanic White children did.
Poorer children tested at the site — with household income measured by census data linked to patients’ addresses — also were more likely to test positive, the study found. About 9 percent of children whose families earned more than $157,000 a year tested positive, while 38 percent of children whose families earned below $70,000 did.
Monika K. Goyal, a physician who designed the study, said it was undertaken early in the epidemic when younger people were thought possibly to be spared infections from the coronavirus. The D.C. testing site, located at Trinity University, was the first in the nation exclusively for children, she said, and reached out to the community with Spanish and Amharic interpreters.
Goyal said the coronavirus has “shone a spotlight on long-standing disparities.”
“The good news is we as a society are starting to talk about these,” she said. “My hope is that this will really be a call to action for our society.”
The study found that children who were members of racial and ethnic minority groups or less economically advantaged were more likely to be exposed to coronavirus. For example, 11 percent of non-Hispanic White children reported exposure, while 35 percent of Black children did, according to the study.
Low-income people and members of minority groups are also more likely to work in industries that require face-to-face interactions, according to the study, or live in crowded conditions where social distancing is difficult.
Although the study didn’t determine the reasons behind the disparities, it said causes could include “structural factors, poorer access to health care, limited resources, as well as bias and discrimination.” According to the report, “Understanding and addressing the causes of these differences are needed to mitigate disparities and limit the spread of infection.”
The coronavirus’s spread through the District has changed since April, when the study’s sampling was completed. In April, D.C..’s seven-day average positivity rate among all residents peaked near 30 percent. That number now stands at 3.4 percent.
The D.C. testing site study follows a Friday report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found Hispanic children are about eight times more likely, and Black children five times more likely, to be hospitalized with covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, than White children.
The pandemic’s toll on the region was felt again Monday, when D.C., Maryland and Virginia combined to report 1,472 additional known coronavirus cases, as well as seven new deaths. The number of fatalities was the lowest in a single day since six deaths were reported on July 22.
The seven-day average death toll stands at 26 after rising during much of August and following steep declines earlier in the summer.
D.C. reported 54 new cases and no deaths on Monday, Virginia reported 663 cases and one death, while Maryland reported 755 cases and six deaths.
The seven-day average caseload for the three jurisdictions Monday was 2,002. That number has changed little in recent days as caseloads hold steady in hot spots such as Virginia’s Hampton Roads region and the Baltimore area.
The Hampton Roads area on Monday recorded its lowest seven-day average since mid-July, while the city of Baltimore had its lowest average of daily infections since July 26.
Meanwhile, the District on Monday updated its list of states from which visitors must quarantine for two weeks. These include several Midwestern states where virus counts have been surging.
The District considers 29 states as hot spots, defined as having a seven-day moving average of 10 new cases per 100,000 residents. New states added to the list include Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Minnesota, while Delaware, Ohio and Washington state were removed.
Maryland and Virginia are exempt even though their caseloads meet the threshold for requiring quarantine. The list is revised every two weeks, with the next revision expected ahead of an Aug. 28 rally for racial justice expected to bring thousands to the city.
Anyone who comes to the District from a high-risk state must stay in their residence or hotel for 14 days to prevent the spread of the virus, leaving only for essential tasks like getting food or medicine. People coming into the District for essential work are exempt from the order.