Skip to content

Story of South Africa’s Inequality Highlighted by Covid-19 Statistics

  • Black South Africans more likely to die, had poorer treatment
  • Marginalized young Black women had higher mortality than men
A Covid ward at a hospital near Cape Town in December 2020.

A Covid ward at a hospital near Cape Town in December 2020.

Photographer: Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images

Updated on

The confluence between race and inequality in South Africa has been starkly illustrated through hospital admissions over the course of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Black people living in the country were likely to be hospitalized at a younger age, less likely to have access to intensive care units and ventilators and had higher mortality from the disease than White residents, according to a study led by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. Indian and mixed race South Africans, locally known as Colored, also fared worse.