Echols raised the rumor that African-Americans are more resistant to contracting the virus in an article published Wednesday by The American from St. Louis.
“In fact,” wrote Echols, “as of April 8, the 12 deaths from COVID-19 in the city of Saint-Louis were African-Americans. “
Recent data has indicated 514 positive cases of coronavirus in the city of St. Louis, while St. Louis County has reported 1,337 positive cases, the highest number of cases of coronavirus in the state of Missouri.
“We learn more about the coronavirus every day, but let me tell you this in uncertain terms: it doesn’t matter if you are black, brown, white, red, yellow or some other shade,” wrote Echols. “The idea that African Americans are resisting it in one way or another is both untrue and dangerous to the health of our community. “
Social media may have been the source of the theory that African-Americans may be more resistant, if not immune, to coronaviruses due to their higher melanin levels. Science does not support this claim.
“Ethnicity and genetics have no influence on the cure of the virus,” said Professor Amadou Alpha Sall of the Pasteur Institute in February, “and black people have no more antibodies than white people.” .
Preexisting conditions such as diabetes and heart disease “disproportionately affect the black community,” said Echols, which could put African Americans at increased risk of contracting the virus.
“We are very sensitive to this situation,” said Lisa Cox, director of communications for the Missouri Department of Health and Primary Services, in a statement sent to Newsweek on Thursday. “This week we have started reporting on race-related cases and deaths, and we have reinforced the fact that reporting the race to us is required by law. “
“We need this information because it is vital as we develop strategies to provide assistance where it is most needed by increasing the accessibility of testing to identify cases and predict areas where we need to intensify messages social distancing ”, continues the press release. “It also helps us to ensure that we seek early intervention where it is needed to help reduce the morbidity and mortality from COVID-19.” “
Data released by the Centers for Disease Control on Wednesday showed that in March, 33% of people requiring hospitalization for coronavirus were black, even though only 13% of the U.S. population is African American.
“Diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and asthma disproportionately affect minority populations, especially African Americans,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, expert on infectious diseases, during the briefing White House Coronavirus Task Force Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, when you look at the predisposing conditions that lead to a poor outcome with the coronavirus, the things that bring people into intensive care units that require intubation and often lead to death, it is only these comorbidities that are unfortunately disproportionately prevalent among African Americans. community, “continued Fauci. “So we are very worried about this, it’s very sad. There is nothing we can do right now, other than trying to give them the best possible care. “
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the formation of the Michigan Coronavirus Racial Disparities Task Force to help the state tackle the problem.
“To date, over 40% of deaths from COVID-19 in Michigan are African-Americans, but only 14% of Michiganders are African-Americans,” said a press release sent to Newsweek Thursday.
“This virus holds a mirror in our society and reminds us of the deep inequalities in this country,” said Whitmer. “From the fundamental lack of access to health care, transportation and workplace protections, these inequalities are hitting hardest for people of color and vulnerable communities. “
Michigan has reported 21,504 positive coronavirus cases, making it the state with the third highest number of confirmed virus cases.
The graph below, provided by Statista, illustrates the distribution of COVID-19 cases worldwide as of April 9 at 6 a.m.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on using face coatings to slow the spread of COVID-19
- The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by infected people and those who have no symptoms.
- Cloth face covers can be made from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC.
- Cloth face covers should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
- Practice removing face covers safely without touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and wash your hands immediately after removing the covering.
Advice from the World Health Organization to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based disinfectant.
- Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; to treat the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after going to the bathroom; when the hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
- Keep a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from anyone who coughs or sneezes.
- Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a folded handkerchief or elbow when you cough or sneeze. Discard the tissue immediately and wash your hands.
- Avoid close contact with others if you have symptoms.
- Stay home if you don’t feel well, even with mild symptoms such as headache and a runny nose, to avoid the potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
- If you develop severe symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), seek medical advice quickly and contact the local health authorities in advance.
- Note any recent contact with other people and details of the trip to provide to the authorities who can trace and prevent the spread of the disease.
- Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments published by health authorities and follow their advice.
Use of mask and gloves
- Healthy people should only wear a mask if they are caring for a sick person.
- Wear a mask if you cough or sneeze.
- Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
- Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Wash your hands if you touch the mask.
- Learn how to properly put on, take off and remove masks. Wash your hands after throwing away the mask.
- Do not reuse disposable masks.
- Washing your bare hands regularly is more effective against COVID-19 capture than wearing rubber gloves.
- The COVID-19 virus can still be detected on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.
Updated at 9:38 p.m. EST 04/09/2020: This story has been updated to include a statement from the Missouri Department of Health and Seniors Services.