Black Americans Face Alarming Rates of Coronavirus Infection in Some States

Black Americans Face Alarming Rates of Coronavirus Infection in Some States

by New York Times - John Eligon, Audra D. S. Burch, Dionne Searcey and Richard A. Oppel Jr.

The coronavirus is infecting and killing black people in the United States at disproportionately high rates, according to data released by several states and big cities, highlighting what public health researchers say are entrenched inequalities in resources, health and access to care.

The statistics are preliminary and much remains unknown because most cities and states are not reporting race as they provide numbers of confirmed cases and fatalities. Initial indications from a number of places, though, are alarming enough that policymakers say they must act immediately to stem potential devastation in black communities.

The worrying trend is playing out across the country, among people born in different decades and working far different jobs.

There is Donnie Hoover, a judge from Charlotte, N.C., who could not shake a dry cough that arrived in March. On the South Side of Chicago, LaShawn Levi, a medical assistant who rides the bus to work each day, turned to tea and cough syrup — “everything your grandma taught you” — to treat a headache and a cough. And in Detroit, Glenn Tolbert, a union leader for city bus drivers, was coughing so much that he got tested.

“This is a call-to-action moment for all of us,” said Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago, who announced statistics of the outbreak in her city this week. African-Americans account for more than half of those who have tested positive and 72 percent of virus-related fatalities in Chicago, even though they make up a little less than a third of the population.

“Those numbers take your breath away, they really do,” said Ms. Lightfoot, who is the city’s first black woman elected as mayor. She added in an interview that the statistics were “among the most shocking things I think I’ve seen as mayor.”

Start typing and press Enter to search