Giving Compass' Take:

• At The Marshall Project, Anna Flagg and Damini Sharma demonstrate how 2020's current death count shows COVID-19's true impact on BIPOC communities to be even more disproportionate than initially reported.

• How does the pandemic exacerbate preexisting health inequalities in the United States? How does COVID-19's true impact on BIPOC communities go much deeper than reported data?

• Read about underlying, systemic impacts of COVID-19 on Black communities.

As many as 215,000 more people than usual died in the U.S. during the first seven months of 2020, suggesting that the number of lives lost to the coronavirus is significantly higher than the official toll. And half the dead were people of color—Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and, to a marked degree unrecognized until now, Asian Americans.

The new figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight a stark disparity: Deaths among people of color during the crisis have risen far more than they have among Whites.

People of color make up just under 40 percent of the U.S. population but accounted for approximately 52 percent of all the “excess deaths” above normal through July, according to an analysis by The Marshall Project and The Associated Press.

“The toll of the pandemic shows just how pervasive structural racism is,” said Olugbenga Ajilore, senior economist at the Center for American Progress, a public policy organization in Washington.

Earlier data on cases, hospitalizations and deaths revealed the especially heavy toll on Black, Hispanic and Native Americans, a disparity attributed to unequal access to health care and economic opportunities. But the increases in total deaths by race were not reported until now; nor was the disproportionate burden of the disease on Asian Americans.

Of the possible 215,000 additional deaths above normal through July—a total that has since risen to as many as 235,000—most were officially attributed to coronavirus infections. The rest were blamed on other causes, including heart disease, high blood pressure and other types of respiratory diseases.

The CDC has not yet provided a breakdown by race and ethnicity of the deaths from other causes. The newly released data is considered provisional and subject to change as more information comes in.

Read the full article about COVID-19's true impact on people of color by Anna Flagg and Damini Sharma at The Marshall Project.