INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The coronavirus does not discriminate, taking the lives of Hoosiers of all races and genders, but analysts have found COVID-19 does take a different toll on different walks of Indiana life.
As of Sunday, more than 15,000 Hoosiers have tested positive for the virus, which has claimed more than 800 lives in the state.
Marion County makes up about a third of those cases.
While women are 52% of Marion County’s population and 56% of its positive coronavirus cases, men make up 55% of the virus’ fatalities.
“More women are testing positive, but men are suffering the consequences,” said Dr. Shaun Grannis of the Regenstrief Institute. “When men come to the healthcare system either they will not immediately seek care, that may be a factor here. That’s using prior information. It may be that men are just more susceptible to the virus.
“In Indiana, do men smoke more than women? That is a factor.”
23% of Indiana men smoke, according to the United Health Foundation, compared to 19% of Hoosier women.
Smoking, along with other conditions, is a prevalent common factor in coronavirus patients.
While African Americans make up 28% of Marion County’s population and 28% of Indianapolis’ positive cases, the virus has claimed 35% of its victim’s in the county’s community of color.
“African Americans tend to live in more densely populated areas. Population density is a key factor,” said Dr. Grannis as Marion County has a high infection rate of 50 cases per ten thousand residents. “We also know that African Americans as a group are more likely to have comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, that are some of the risk factors for COVID-19.”
For the first time since the pandemic began, Marion County did not report the most positive cases in a 24-hour period, according the Indiana State Department of Health.
That happened in Cass County, where 273 new positive cases were reported since noon Saturday, most likely due to the coronavirus outbreak at the Tyson packing plant in Logansport.