New Data Shows Racial Disparities in COVID-19 Cases

Published on May 13, 2020

City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2020 Media Releases

Media Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, City Communications, 402-525-1520

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today said new data on the racial disparities in local COVID-19 data is "heartbreaking" and "deeply troubling." Data on race is now available on the City's COVID-19 dashboard at, and it shows that minorities make up the majority of individuals testing positive for COVID-19. Those who identify as White make up 30.7 percent of the confirmed cases, while those who identify as Black, Asian, Hispanic, and Other/Multiple Races make up 69.3 percent of the confirmed cases.

Race or Ethnicity COVID-19 Cases Lancaster County Population
White 30.7% 85.6%
Black 7.5% 3.9%
American Indian 0.0% 0.7%
Asian 33.4% 4.0%
Other and two or more races 4.5% 5.7%
*Hispanic 23.9% *7.2%

*Hispanic is an ethnicity. Those who identify as Hispanic or Latino can be of any race. For this reason, the County population percentage does not add up to 100.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) has not posted the information earlier because not enough data was available to ensure the privacy of individuals.

Mayor Gaylor Baird said the data reflect similar national trends and are in part the result of generations of structural inequality in society.

"This data now makes clear that racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes in Lincoln that have long existed are becoming more pronounced as a result of this virus," she said. "In order to effectively address these disparities, we must do everything we can to understand what those disparities are, where they are, and why they exist."

Gaylor Baird said the data likely reflect the existing racial disparities in the rates of chronic health conditions and access to nutritious food and health care as well as the percentage of racial minorities employed as frontline workers.

"We also know that access to information about the virus can be a tremendous barrier for those in our community who do not speak English," Mayor Gaylor Baird said. "Our goal is to reach every resident with the most accurate and timely information to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep everyone in Lincoln safe. The data we have available as of today reaffirms how important it is for us to continue to invest in targeted outreach to communities disproportionately impacted by the virus."

Information and videos in other languages are available at Interim Health Director Pat Lopez said the Health Department has worked in partnership with the community's cultural centers for many years, and that collaboration has worked well during the pandemic.

An example of those efforts is this week's COVID-19 testing opportunity specifically for those served by cultural centers. The testing will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 15 at Lincoln High School, 2229 "J" Street (north parking lot). Those who experience symptoms of COVID-19 can register in advance through their cultural center or the Health Department's hotline at 402-441-8006. Interpreters will be available to assist those whose primary language is not English. The testing is a collaboration among the Health Department, the Cultural Center Coalition, and Bryan Health.

More information on COVID-19 and the City's response is available at The website includes more information on how those with symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested in Lincoln.