As coronavirus continues to sweep the country, and the death tolls increase, some cities and states are asking for data to review why African Americans make up a higher percentage of coronavirus deaths.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law asked for the federal government to share racial and ethnic data surrounding the coronavirus pandemic to “ensure that communities of color receive equitable health care and treatment during this crisis.” In Chicago, 72% of COVID-19 victims have been black, even though they make up 30% of the city’s population. A similar story is unfolding in Louisiana, where African Americans make up 32% of the population and 70% of coronavirus deaths.

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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.”

Hospital data from the first month of the United States pandemic found that 1 in 3 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms were African American. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health was asked about health disparities and racial equity in coronavirus during a White House briefing. Dr. Fauci said that African Americans don’t appear to be more likely to be infected, “We have a difficult problem of exacerbation of a health disparity. We have known literally forever that diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and asthma are disproportionately afflicting the minority populations, particularly the African-American,” Fauci added, “predisposing conditions that lead to a bad outcome,” with coronavirus.

Fauci returned to the podium to add additional comments on disparity during the briefing, “I could not help sitting there reflecting about how sometimes when you are the middle of a crisis, like we are now with the coronavirus. It really does have ultimately — shine a very bright light on some of the real weaknesses and foibles in our society,” Fauci said, “When all of this is over — and as we said, it will end, we will get over coronavirus — but there will still be health disparities which we really need to address in the African American community.”

Read more about protecting yourself from coronavirus. Check the CDC website for more information on how to protect yourself and check our latest article to learn how COVID-19 differs from the flu.

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Catch up on our latest coronavirus coverage in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

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