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A racial split on COVID endures as restrictions ease in US, an AP poll finds

sidewalk walkers wearing masks for covid.jpeg
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Experts say divided opinions among racial groups reflect not only the unequal impact of the pandemic on people of color but also apathy among some white Americans.

Black and Hispanic Americans remain far more cautious in their approach to the COVID-19 pandemic than white Americans.

That's according to recent polls that reflect diverging preferences on how to deal with the pandemic as federal, state and local restrictions decline.

Sixty-three percent of Black Americans and 68% of Hispanic Americans say they are at least somewhat worried about themselves or a family member being infected with the virus compared with 45% of white Americans, according to an April poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Experts say divided opinions among racial groups reflect not only the unequal impact of the pandemic on people of color but also apathy among some white Americans.

Throughout the pandemic, Black and Hispanic communities have experienced higher rates of illness and death from COVID, said Amelia Burke-Garcia, public health program area director at NORC.

Those experiences have resulted in greater levels of stress, anxiety and awareness of the risks of catching COVID-19, she said, which means people of color are more likely to feel measures like mask mandates are needed.