Photo Courtesy Mia Mungin
Photo Courtesy Mia Mungin

African Americans in coronavirus hot spots are twice as likely to die from the illness than their white counterparts. Within Chicago’s COVID-19 epicenter, black Americans comprised 71% of COVID-19 deaths despite representing only 30% of the population. Black people account for 71% of the deaths in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, but are only 26% of the city’s population and account for 70.5% of the deaths in Louisiana despite comprising only 32% of the population.

African Americans account for a large percentage of essential workers. In New York, 46% of NYC Metro Transportation Authority (MTA) workers are African American. These jobs are unlikely to be protected from exposure. African Americans also have higher rates of co-morbidities including hypertension or high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, making them more susceptible to infection. According to experts, these bleak statistics are not the result of some biological deficiency, but are, in part, a by-product of generations of unequal treatment and implicit bias by providers. Those numbers are exacerbated by African Americans’ lingering distrust in the health care system.

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