Cincinnati Coronavirus Demographics — Who is Getting Sick?

Data from the Cincinnati Health Department shows which neighborhoods and demographic groups have seen the most confirmed COVID-19 cases thus far — but the data has limitations.

Distribution of COVID-19 cases in Cincinnati, with darker areas having more cases. - City of Cincinnati
City of Cincinnati
Distribution of COVID-19 cases in Cincinnati, with darker areas having more cases.

It's clear now that the pandemic coronavirus that has triggered a national and global crisis has come to Cincinnati. But the potentially deadly virus that causes COVID-19 hasn't popped up equally among the city's residents.

New data from the Cincinnati Health Department shows where cases of the virus have been confirmed in the city and shows tentatively the impact it has had on various demographic groups.

Due to limited ability to test for the virus, however, these numbers are just a blurry snapshot of its likely impact on Cincinnatians. The fuller picture won't be available for quite some time — and we may never have the complete story on the coronavirus' spread.

As of Monday, Cincinnati had seen 174 confirmed cases of the virus, or 58 cases per 100,000 people in the city. That's fewer than Ohio's other major cities, though Cincinnati's population is also lower. Columbus and neighboring Worthington had seen 741 cases of the virus as of that day, or about 82 cases per 100,000 people. Cleveland had seen 330 confirmed cases, or about 86 cases per 100,000 people.

Still, the situation is serious, with Cincinnati's cases leading to 58 hospitalizations and five deaths so far.

The latest data from the city shows that Westwood, Cincinnati's most populous neighborhood, has seen the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 thus far with 21. Oakley and College Hill both had the next highest number with 11 each. Evanston and Bond Hill had 10 cases each.

You can see the full breakdown of cases by neighborhood here.

So far, 36 people in Cincinnati between the ages of 30 and 39 have confirmed cases of the virus — the highest of any age cohort. There have been 17 cases confirmed among people under the age of 30. Those aged 40-49 saw 29 confirmed cases, those aged 50-59 have seen 35 cases, those between the ages of 60 and 69 have seen 32 cases and there have been 25 cases in Cincinnati residents over the age of 70.

Sixty-four of the cases the city has confirmed are black residents, while 54 are white residents. Seven identified as another race.

On its surface, that seems to line up with early data across the U.S. suggesting that African-Americans have had a higher incidence of catching and dying from COVID-19 so far.

But there is a big caveat specific to Cincinnati — the city's data includes 49 cases in which the race of the patient is unknown. Cincinnati Health Commissioner Melba Moore said earlier this week the health department is working to get more information on those cases.

As in other places across the U.S., the possible higher infection rate among African-Americans could be explainable by disparities in health care access and socioeconomic status. Black residents of Cincinnati are more likely to be lower-income, have less access to health care and work hourly jobs that would put them in contact with the virus.

Those health disparities are readily on display via disparities in the city's life expectancy by neighborhood, which can vary by a couple decades between predominantly black and predominantly white neighborhoods. There are complex reasons for that huge gap — economics, environmental factors, racial segregation, access to fresh food and other issues.

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