“Those numbers take your breath away. They really do,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said during her Monday press briefing.
Unfortunately, this problem isn’t only unique to the Windy City.
“We’re seeing this manifest in large urban areas with large Black populations all over the United States,” Lightfoot continued, specifically naming Milwaukee, Cleveland and Detroit as cities with Black populations hit hard by the coronavirus.
ProPublica reported on Friday that despite having a 26 percent Black population, nearly half of Milwaukee County’s 945 coronavirus cases were Black people, who also comprised 81 percent of the county’s 27 deaths. The outlet also reported that in Michigan, which has a 14 percent Black population, Black Americans comprised 35 percent of cases and 40 percent of deaths as of Friday.
“This is unacceptable. Nobody should think that this is OK,” Lightfoot said.
Even though only a handful of places are tracking the racial breakdown of people who have been infected by COVID-19, Chicago health officials said it will require healthcare providers to make transparent demographic information about coronavirus patients in an effort to combat the illness. As of Monday, the U.S. had 368,079 total confirmed cases of coronavirus, 10,923 related deaths and 19,828 recovered people, according to Johns Hopkins University’s online dashboard that tracks global cases of the coronavirus.
For the past several weeks, health officials have said that pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma put people at higher risk of suffering from this deadly pandemic. These chronic conditions factor into why many Black Americans are suffering from and succumbing to the coronavirus but so do stressors that come from living in a violent neighborhood, working multiple low-paying jobs and having limited access to healthy foods.
“The community conditions, the holes in our social safety net, differing economic educational opportunities and, fundamentally, the systemic and institutional racism that have driven these inequities over the years, we are now seeing play out in our COVID data,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during the press conference.
Now that the alarm has been sounded about these disparities and how they lend to the disproportionate number of Black Americans across the country contracting the coronavirus, what’s the plan to correct it?
SOURCE: Black PR Wire