African Americans in the US state of Georgia are the most vulnerable against coronavirus with a 83.2% hospitalization rate, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Among 305 hospitalized people in March, the data on “race/ethnicity was available for 297 (97.4%) patients, among whom, 247 (83.2%) were black, 32 (10.8%) were non-Hispanic white, eight (2.7%) were non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander, and 10 (3.4%) were Hispanic,” the report released on Wednesday showed.

The figures based on adult patients who were admitted in eight Georgia hospitals — seven in metropolitan Atlanta and one in southern Georgia.

CDC researchers said the proportion of hospitalized patients who were black “was higher than expected based on overall hospital admissions.”

“Given the overrepresentation of black patients within this hospitalized cohort, it is important for public health officials to ensure that prevention activities prioritize communities and racial/ethnic groups most affected by COVID-19,” they urged.

Noting that over a quarter of patients (26.2%) did not have conditions thought to put them at higher risk for severe disease, the researchers said public officials should be aware that “all adults, regardless of underlying conditions or age, are at risk for serious illness.”

Georgia became one of the first states on Friday to ease coronavirus measures by reopening businesses despite significant concerns.

The state has nearly 26,000 coronavirus cases and 1,103 virus-related deaths, according to the data compiled by Maryland-based Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, the US continues to lead in COVID-19 cases and deaths worldwide. The running tally counted more than 1 million infections and nearly 61,000 deaths in the country, with over 124,000 recoveries.

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