The alarm is growing on the number of deaths by coronavirus among people of color in the United States.
Aggressive public health campaigns launched in cities like Chicago, where blacks are responsible for 72% of deaths COVID-19 complications and 52% of positive tests, when they represent only 30% of the population.
Experts say trend is not surprising given long-standing barriers to health care for African-American communities in the geographically divided city, higher poverty rates and jobs that keep them working at their place of work while others can continue to work from their home.
Other cities with large black populations that are considered hot spots coronavirus, including New York, Detroit, Milwaukee and New Orleans, have also seen people of color suffer disproportionately from the epidemic.
In Michigan, official figures show that African Americans, who make up 14% of the state’s population, account for about 33% of all statewide cases and 41% of deaths.
And Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot said the disparities in his city “take your breath away” and demanded an immediate response from officials, community activists and health care providers.
“We cannot just sit back and let this disease wreak havoc in our communities,” he said.
“Lives are really at stake.”
A series of measures are being rolled out across the city to curb the epidemic, with officials planning to contact residents considered to be the most vulnerable, to increase surveillance on buses and to apply social distancing limits in shops.
City health care providers were also asked to collect race and ethnicity data from patients with COVID-19 in order to fill existing gaps.
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The national group of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has demanded more transparency across the United States on race and ethnicity among test results, cases, and patient results reported by federal law enforcement officials. health and state health agencies.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said the state was responding to the impact of the disease on minorities by “reopening hospitals in these communities” and targeting messages on social distancing “directly in the African American community. “
Democratic congressmen previously asked Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to ensure that race and ethnicity data are collected by health agencies across the country during the epidemic.
Detroit, which is about 80% black, has registered 5,032 confirmed cases with 196 people who died from complications from the COVID-19 virus.
Data on coronaviruses specific to black residents were not available in the city, but Detroit and its surrounding suburbs account for about 80% of the state’s confirmed cases.
“It is clear that what COVID-19 is doing is increasing racial health disparities in this country,” said Detroit mayor Mike Duggan, who ran the Detroit Medical Center before taking office .