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Black people are disproportionately dying from Coronavirus in major US cities

Early racial data displays that African Americans are more at risk of the novel virus in comparison to their white counterparts.

Black people are disproportionately dying from Coronavirus in major US cities
Image Source: puckons / Getty Images

What happens to black folks in White America when one of the greatest pandemics in global history hit the country? Well, it turns out that they die at disproportionately higher rates than their white counterparts. In major cities in the United States, black people, it seems, are more likely to die if they contract the novel Coronavirus results. While positive cases and related deaths are soaring across the nation, preliminary data shows that health disparities in our public health system have hit the African American community the worst. Dr. Antony Fauci, the country's leading health expert on the outbreak, claimed this was a "very sad" situation, USA Today reports.



Most federal officials and state governments are allegedly not keeping track of or releasing racial data regarding Coronavirus patients and deaths. This has raised concerns about the country's most vulnerable racial communities. The lack of data is especially troubling as confirmed cases of the pandemic and deaths caused by it are exponentially increasing in cities with significant black populations, such as in Detroit, New Orleans, and New York City. Civil rights groups, along with Democratic lawmakers and the White House, have therefore requested federal health officials to release the racial data currently available on the number of cases and subsequent deaths.



At a White House briefing held on Tuesday this week, both President Donald Trump and Dr. Fauci said African Americans were being hit hard by the deadly virus, proposing thus a "tremendous challenge" for the United States. Indicating that racial data and statistics should be made available later this week, the President affirmed, "We want to find the reason to it." Dr. Fauci added, "So we are very concerned about that. It is very sad. There is nothing we can do about it right now except to give them the best possible care to avoid complications." At present, only a handful of states - namely Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and North Carolina - have made this data accessible.



The available information displays that black Americans are dying at an overwhelmingly higher rate than white Americans. For instance, in Illinois, were 12,262 confirmed cases of Coronavirus were reported on Monday. There were 307 deaths. As per data from the state’s Department of Public Health, of the confirmed cases, 29.4 percent were black patients while 27.5 percent were white. Of the deaths, 42 percent were of black patients and  37.1 of them were white. When contrasting these statistics with population demographics, this can paint a picture of how broken the public health system in Illinois is; 15 percent of the state population is black, whereas 77 percent of the population comprises whites.



This disparity exists, sadly, across the board. In Michigan, for example, African Americans account for only 14 percent of the state's population. However, they form 33 percent of Coronavirus cases and 41 percent of deaths caused by it. "This is a critical issue for us that we're raising and we're sounding the alarm," said Hardie Davis, Jr., president of the African American Mayors Association and Mayor of Augusta, Georgia. "Obviously, this is a big disparity and we’re going to try to figure out what that is attributable to and what we can do about that as quickly as possible."



At present, there is a serious lack of reliable national data. Once this gap has been filled, we can make more accurate assumptions about why African Americans are more at risk when it comes to the pandemic. Already, our public health system is failing black communities. When you throw a quickly-spreading and deadly virus into the mix, you only spell even further trouble.




Disclaimer: Information about COVID-19 is swiftly changing, and Upworthy is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. Therefore, we encourage you to also regularly check online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.

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