Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Black and Hispanic Americans Suffer Disproportionate Coronavirus Infections

Health + Wellness
A daughter touches her father's head while saying goodbye as medics prepare to transport him to Stamford Hospital on April 02, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. He had multiple COVID-19 symptoms. John Moore / Getty Images

Across the country, the novel coronavirus is severely affecting black people at much higher rates than whites, according to data released by several states, as The New York Times reported.


In New York, which has seen the most COVID-19 related deaths, the virus has disproportionately affected both the black and Hispanic population. In New York City, Hispanics make up 29 percent of the population, but 34 percent of the city's COVID-19 deaths, while African-Americans are 22 percent of the city's population and 28 percent of the fatalities, according to new statistics from the city, as US News and World Report.

When I saw this, it made me very angry," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday, as Politico reported. "It's sick. It's troubling. It's wrong."

Public health researchers say the alarming statistics highlight inequalities in resources, health, and access to care. Pervasive health conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease put people at a higher risk of getting seriously ill or dying if they contract COVID-19.

"There are clear inequalities, clear disparities in how this disease is affecting the people of our city," de Blasio said, as Politico reported. "So many people struggle to get the healthcare they need, who didn't have the money to afford the healthcare they deserved. So many people have lived with chronic healthcare conditions."

As Business Insider reported, the numbers across the country have been even more disproportionate. In Chicago, where African-Americans make up 32 percent of the population, they have accounted for 72 percent of virus-related deaths and more than half of all positive test results. Similarly, in Milwaukee, blacks make up 28 percent of the population but have been 73 percent of all COVID-19 related deaths.

"Those numbers take your breath away, they really do," said Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago, as The New York Times reported. She is the city's first black woman elected as mayor. She added that the statistics were "among the most shocking things I think I've seen as mayor."

The statistics moved Dr. Anthnony Fauci, who sits on the president's coronavirus task force, to address societal health disparities at the White House on Tuesday.

"And the reason I want to bring it up, because I couldn't help sitting there reflecting on how sometimes when you're in the middle of a crisis, like we are now with the coronavirus, it really does ... ultimately, shine a very bright light on some of the real weaknesses and foibles in our society," Fauci said, as Business Insider reported.

"As some of you may know, the greater proportion of my professional career has been defined by HIV/AIDS, and if you go back then during that period of time when there was extraordinary stigma — particularly against the gay community — and it was only when the world realized how the gay community responded to this outbreak with incredible courage and dignity and strength and activism, that I think that really changed some of the stigma against the gay community, very much so.

"I see a similarity here because health disparities have always existed for the African American community. But here again, with the crisis, how it's shining a bright light on how unacceptable that is," he said.

Sharrelle Barber, an assistant research professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Drexel University, told The New York Times that the effects of policies drawn up generations ago keep many black residents in segregated neighborhoods without job opportunities, stable housing, or grocery stores with healthy food and more.

"These communities, structurally, they're breeding grounds for the transmission of the disease," Barber said. "It's not biological. It's really these existing structural inequalities that are going to shape the racial inequalities in this pandemic."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a White House Clean Energy Investment Summit on June 16, 2015 in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

With presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's climate platform becoming increasingly ambitious thanks to nonstop grassroots pressure, fossil fuel executives and lobbyists are pouring money into the coffers of President Donald Trump's reelection campaign in the hopes of keeping an outspoken and dedicated ally of dirty energy in the White House.

Read More Show Less
The Food and Drug Administration is now warning against more than 100 potentially dangerous hand sanitizers.
Antonio_Diaz / Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now warning against more than 100 potentially dangerous hand sanitizers.

Read More Show Less
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on July 1, 2020 in New York City. Byron Smith / Getty Images

While the nation overall struggles with rising COVID cases, New York State is seeing the opposite. After peaking in March and April and implementing strict shutdowns of businesses, the state has seen its number of positive cases steadily decline as it slowly reopens. From coast-to-coast, Governor Andrew Cuomo's response to the crisis has been hailed as an exemplar of how to handle a public health crisis.

Read More Show Less
A whale shark swims in the Egyptian Red Sea. Derek Keats / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Gavin Naylor

Sharks elicit outsized fear, even though the risk of a shark bite is infinitesimally small. As a marine biologist and director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, I oversee the International Shark Attack File – a global record of reported shark bites that has been maintained continuously since 1958.

Read More Show Less
A girl sits under a temporary shade made by joining two bed in Churu, Rajasthan on June 4, 2019. Temperatures in the Indian desert city hit 50 degrees C (122 F) for the second time in three days, sending residents scrambling for shade. MONEY SHARMA / AFP via Getty Images

Current efforts to curb an infectious disease show the potential we have for collective action. That action and more will be needed if we want to stem the coming wave of heat-related deaths that will surpass the number of people who die from all infectious diseases, according to a new study, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
America Pikas are found from the Sierra Nevada to the Rocky Mountains, and have been migrating to higher elevations. Jon LeVasseur / Flickr / Public Domain

By Jenny Morber

Caribbean corals sprout off Texas. Pacific salmon tour the Canadian Arctic. Peruvian lowland birds nest at higher elevations.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Biologists are studying the impact of climate change on the Nenets and their reindeer herds. Deutsche Welle

Biologist Egor Kirillin is on a special mission. Deep in the Siberian wilderness in the Russian Republic of Sakha, he waits on the Olenjok river until reindeer come thundering into the water.

Read More Show Less