Coronavirus Testing
Coronavirus Testing
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

COVID-19 Is Reportedly Killing African Americans at Higher Rates in the U.S.

Coronavirus Testing (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

COVID-19 has led to a high number of deaths in Chicago and other cities in the U.S.

Coronavirus has been rearing its head over the past few weeks in the U.S., new reports are pointing out the deadly impact the virus has had on African American communities. 

From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, rumors were swirling around that the virus wasn’t a black person’s issue. These rumors proved to be inaccurate, specific parts of the country have been hit hard. Communities, where individuals suffer from economic and racial disparities in addition to issues with healthcare access, are reportedly seeing deaths at rapid levels. Chicago’s black community has a high number of individuals living with pre-exisiting conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses.

According to John Hopkins University, the number of cases has risen to approximately 370,000, while under 11,000 fatalities have been recorded. As the case number keeps rising nationwide, the death toll in cities like Chicago has also risen for African Americans. CNN reports in Chicago, 72% of the people who have died from COVID-19 are black despite them only making up 30% of the population. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot released the following statement:

"This new data offers a deeply concerning glimpse into the spread of COVID-19 and is a stark reminder of the deep-seated issues which have long created disparate health impacts in communities across Chicago."

Over in Louisiana, the number of infections has reportedly almost reached 15,000. African Americans make up 32% of the population there but make up 70% of coronavirus deaths. In New Orleans, Forbes reports close to 60% of its population are black, the rates of obesity, diabetes and hypertension are above average. This also creates an opportunity for COVID-19 to attack the city at a high rate. 

Van Jones, a political commentator has offered additional figures on the pandemic in an expansive CNN feature. In his opinion piece, he shared:

“In New York City, data from the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development is showing the communities hit hardest by the pandemic are the lower-income communities in the outer boroughs, where a higher percentage of the population is black or brown and many residents work service industry jobs. In Michigan (one of the few states tracking data on Covid-19 and race) so far, African Americans account for 33% of cases and 40% of deaths. According to the Charlotte Observer, data from Mecklenburg County (which houses Charlotte) shows approximately 44% of the population with Covid-19 is African American, while the county itself is only 33% black.”

Advocates are calling for more data from the Centers for Disease Control. The agency hasn’t released racial or ethnic data since the pandemic began, according to NBC. The disparities could also be reported as widespread in black communities nationwide as most states and the federal government have not released the race or ethnicity of the positive cases of coronavirus.