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Shift in racial communities impacted by COVID-19 in California
  1. Raphael E Cuomo
  1. University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Raphael E Cuomo,9500 Gilman Drive #0170P La Jolla, CA 92093-0170, USA; racuomo{at}


Introduction Since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in California, the geospatial distribution of disease cases has fluctuated over time. Given documented racial disparities in other parts of the country, longitudinal convergence of COVID-19 rates around race groups warrants assessment.

Methods County-level cases for COVID-19 were collected from the Johns Hopkins University, and racial distributions were collected from the American Community Survey. Pearson’s correlation coefficients were computed for each day since COVID-19 was first reported in California, and the longitudinal distribution of each race-specific set of correlation coefficients was assessed for stationarity, linear trend and exponential trend.

Results Earlier in the outbreak, the distribution of COVID-19 was most highly correlated with Asian American communities; after approximately 100 days, the distribution of COVID-19 most closely resembled that of African American communities. For every day in this dataset, the county-level distribution of COVID-19 was negatively correlated with the distribution of White American communities in California.

Discussion The geospatial distribution of COVID-19 in California has increasingly resembled that of African American communities within the state. Further study should be conducted to characterise potentially disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic across race groups.

  • Epidemiology
  • GIS
  • Epidemics
  • Inequalities
  • Public health

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  • Contributor REC conceptualised the study, collected the data, analysed the data and wrote the paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.