I am not sure if this is a right question, but I do not intend to hurt anybody’s sentiments. We assume there are 10 people of different ethnic origins. All 10 belong to the same social class, and they are at one place but at different locations and none of them meet each other or come in contact with each other. They breathe the same air, consume the same food, use similar personal utilities and so on. All of them have the same behaviour pattern (social, personal etc.). It is impractical to assume this but let us keep that way. None of the 10 people belong to this place that is, their origin has nothing to do where they are currently now. They have been left or may be abandoned at that place. So, in brief, we assume that they are in the same surroundings. They do not have any health problems; they have the same blood group and blood parameters are same. They have the same breathing rate and have same weight and height.

Now we assume that the place is severely affected by Covid. And all of them are equally indisciplined. Will all of them get affected equally?

  • Probably not because that's not how nature works, but your sample size of 10 people is so small it would be impossible to guess. They might all be affected equally but if you used 1000 people they almost certainly wouldn't.
    – Carey Gregory
    May 14, 2021 at 4:37
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    It depends on the disease. We already know that African Americans are at an increased risk of Covid. The main speculated reason is their dark skin and resulting in low Vitamin D status. Also economic racial disparity is ine of the reason. So different races in different places are affected differently. It also depends on the disease type as diseases like sickle cell anemia is kainpy present in African Americans.
    – user20181
    May 14, 2021 at 5:09
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    @Mr Green Gold Actually, studies have shown that African Americans are NOT at increased risk of Covid vs. others with the same risk factor profile (e.g. BMI, exposure level, etc). There is no scientific evidence that "different races" are affected differently -- all observed Covid incidence/severity is explained by factors other than race.
    – Armand
    May 14, 2021 at 10:05
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    PMC7762908 is not a scientific paper, it's essentially an opinion piece. It says nothing about infection rates and severity among people differing only by race.
    – Armand
    May 14, 2021 at 10:32
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    upenn article is also not a scientific paper, it's a description of a non-scientific seminar talk, with no data about comparative infection rates/severity among people differing only by race.
    – Armand
    May 14, 2021 at 10:34

1 Answer 1


No, because they don't have exactly the same DNA and the same history of exposure to pathogens, etc.

Thinking about such issues in terms of ethnicity is not helpful because our DNA is so different, no matter whether or not we consider ourselves as the same ethnicity as someone else. With roughly 6 billion DNA "letters" in each of our cells, "ethnicity" tells us almost nothing about our DNA.

That's why the expanding availability of complete genomic DNA sequencing promises to be helpful in guiding true individualized medical treatment.

Edit: Here's a useful article with actual data on Covid disease vs. many individual factors: Ogedegbe G, Ravenell J, Adhikari S, et al. Assessment of Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Hospitalization and Mortality in Patients With COVID-19 in New York City. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(12):e2026881. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.26881

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