The C-Word: How COVID-19 is Disproportionately Impacting Black Communities

CultureHealth Tips

The C-Word: How COVID-19 is Disproportionately Impacting Black Communities

Stay at home, lives are at stake.

To The WALK Community,

I pray that you and your loved ones are healthy, safe, and well during this unprecedented and chaotic time. For those of you who have been affected by this disease (whether that be the loss of a loved one, financial instability, and/or deterioration of one’s mental health), I am sincerely empathetic to your situations and wish you all the best.

Although this time has been very difficult and taxing on all, it is especially impacting black communities all across the United States. According to a recent report published on April 8th by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 33% of people hospitalized for COVID-19 are black, even though only 18% of people in the population studied identified as black. In Louisiana alone, black people make up about 32% of the state’s population, but have accounted for 70% of the state’s Corona deaths. This data suggests that the black community is being disproportionately affected by this pandemic.

Image via ABC News

Health officials such as Dr. Georges E. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, believe that the virus is disproportionately affecting communities of color because those communities already have higher rates of asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. People with these pre-existing conditions are at higher risks of death when infected with the virus. This increased risk coupled with the lack of health insurance and affordable medical testing in the black community has created the shocking data that we see today.

I am by no means a healthcare official; however, as a black person, I have a personal link to what is happening. Although my family and I live in the suburbs and have access to quality healthcare, I still urge my family to practice strict social distancing. I personally have stayed in the house since I have come back from my semester abroad. My sister and I only leave to take walks around my neighborhood. When my mom goes grocery shopping, she wears a mask and gloves. She only leaves to run essential tasks, such as grocery shopping or attending doctor appointments.

I know that it is a luxury for many to have the opportunity to work from home, and I am blessed that my mom is able to do that. I respect all of the healthcare and essential workers who put their lives at risk everyday to serve our communities and make sure society continues to function at the most basic level. They are our heroes and it is important that we as a society rise to the challenge of helping them.

That is why it is important for us, as young adults, to continue to follow strict social distancing measures. By social distancing properly, we will be able to flatten the curve. If we flatten the curve, we are able to lower the number of those infected by the disease. If we lower the general level of infection, we will lower the amount of black people disproportionately dying from the disease. That is why I choose to quarantine until we beat this awful pandemic. I hope you do so also.

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