President Donald Trump deferred to Dr. Anthony Fauci at Tuesday’s White House press briefing when asked about why the African American community appears to be more at risk during the pandemic spread of coronavirus.
Unfortunately, Fauci did not have good news to deliver on why African Americans seemed to be at higher risk for infection.
Fauci, director of the National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases, has become nothing short of an American hero amid the coronavirus pandemic. As the nation’s leading voice of reason during these uncertain times, he’s one of the few key figures on the White House Coronavirus Task Force that the public can depend on to always make factual and science-based statements.
He said, “It’s an exacerbation of a health disparity. We’ve known literally forever that diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and asthma are disproportionately affecting minority communities, particularly African Americans. … We’re very concerned about that. It’s very sad. There’s nothing we can do about it right now except to give them the best possible care to avoid those complications.”
American Medical Association President Dr. Patrice Harris said, “We have early evidence that we need to pay particular attention to race and ethnicity.”
Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones, a family physician and epidemiologist, explained, “What’s happening is black folks are getting infected more because they are exposed more, and once infected they’re dying more because they have their bodies — our bodies — have born the burden of chronic disinvestment (and) active neglect of the community. When I look at it is because of structural racism, which puts us in the forward-facing jobs so that we are exposed and less valued and don’t have the protection that we need.”
While everyone is at risk for catching COVID-19, the evidence shows that more African Americans are getting sick and dying from coronavirus. As of Tuesday, 33% of all positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan were African Americans, who also accounted for 40% of the deaths. In Illinois, African American residents made up 42% of the area’s fatalities from coronavirus.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said, “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.” The numbers in Chicago show that African Americans are dying at a rate six times faster than the rate for white residents and comprise 68% of the city’s fatalities.
In Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards mentioned that of the state’s 512 coronavirus deaths, more than 70% were African American patients. That number seems even worse when you take into consideration that African Americans only make up just 32% of the state’s population.
Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted on Tuesday, “It is unacceptable that African Americans are getting sick and dying from the coronavirus at such disproportionately high rates. We must solve the horrific racial disparities in health that we have in this country.”
There’s A Concern Among African American Communities About Having To Wear Face Masks In Public
Trevon Logan, an economics professor at Ohio State University, told CNN that African Americans fear wearing the CDC-recommended face masks in public. He said, “We have a lot of examples of the presumed criminality of black men in general. And then we have the advice to go out in public in something that … can certainly be read as being criminal or nefarious, particularly when applied to black men.”
“This is in the larger context of black men fitting the description of a suspect who has a hood on, who has a face covering on,” Logan continued. “It looks like almost every criminal sketch of any garden-variety black suspect.”