Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Ethnic Disparities in COVID-19 Among Older Adults Presenting to the Geriatric Emergency Department.



There is a dearth of epidemiological data on ethnic disparities among older patients with COVID-19. The objective of this study was to characterize ethnic differences in clinical presentation and outcomes from COVID-19 among older U.S. adults.


This was a retrospective cohort study within two geriatric emergency departments (GEDs) at a large academic health system. One hundred patients 65 years or older who visited a GED between March 10, 2020 and August 9, 2020 and tested positive for COVID-19 were examined. Electronic medical records were used to determine presenting COVID-19-related symptoms, comorbidities, and clinical outcomes. Descriptive statistics are reported with associated 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


In the overall sample, mean age was 75.9 years; 18% were 85 years or older; 50% were male; and 46.0% were Hispanic. Relative to non-Hispanic patients with COVID-19, Hispanic patients with COVID-19 had a higher percentage of shortness of breath (78.3% vs. 51.9%; difference: 26.4%; 95% CI 7.6-42.5%), pneumonia (82.6% vs. 50.0%; difference: 32.6%; 95% CI 14.1-47.9%), acute respiratory distress syndrome (13.0% vs. 1.9%; difference: 11.1%; 95% CI 0.7-23.9%), and acute kidney failure (41.3% vs. 22.2%; difference: 19.1%; 95% CI 0.9-36.0%). Rates of other poor outcomes, including hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, return visits to the GED within 30 days of discharge, or death, did not significantly differ between Hispanic and non-Hispanic patients with COVID-19.


These preliminary data show that older Hispanic patients relative to non-Hispanic patients with COVID-19 presenting to a GED did not experience worse outcomes, including hospitalization, ICU admission, 30-day return visits to the GED, or death.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View