US broadcaster Oprah Winfrey has warned African-Americans to take the coronavirus epidemic seriously, saying the disease “takes people away.”
The virus has hit the black community hard and “people don’t understand” the risk of asymptomatic carriers, she said.
African-Americans account for a disproportionate number of coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations in the United States.
The United States is the epicenter of the pandemic with 592,743 cases and 25,239 deaths.
Government data suggests that 33% of people hospitalized in the United States for a coronavirus are black – even though African Americans make up only 13% of the American population.
In Chicago, almost 70% of those who died from coronaviruses were African-American – while only 23% of the population was black.
Winfrey stated that the first messages regarding the coronavirus “did not connect to the [US] audience in a way they could hear. “
- Why are African-Americans so badly affected by the virus?
“When it was happening in Wuhan, we thought it was’ there ‘… and then I talked to African-Americans in Milwaukee, and people said’ we heard about it in Washington, but Washington is fine there we didn’t do it think it has anything to do with us, ”she told CBS News.
It was important that “blacks understand preexisting conditions” like diabetes and asthma, which puts them at increased risk for the virus, she added.
Winfrey, who suffered from pneumonia last year, said she also takes extra care because of her condition – and because many people may be asymptomatic carriers.
She added that actor Idris Elba, whom she interviewed for his series Oprah Talks Covid-19, had tested positive for the virus, but had no symptoms.
“These are all these people who could possibly be carriers,” she said.
Why are African-Americans particularly affected by the virus?
Surgeon General Jerome Adams said many ethnic minority communities are more at risk because they are more likely to have pre-existing health conditions or are in low-income jobs where working from home is not an option.
Winfrey told CBS on Tuesday that “social distancing in the African-American community is much more difficult,” as many lived in larger households.
Socio-economic inequality also meant that African-Americans were more likely to “live in areas where there was toxic waste”, or “to live in environments that do not allow you to have the best access to care [or] “, She added.
33%people hospitalized are African-Americans
13%of the American population is African American
68%coronavirus deaths in Chicago were African American
Source: CDC, Chicago Department of Public Health
There has also been misinformation – including a false rumor that blacks cannot get the virus.
Last week, former NBA star Magic Johnson told CNN, “People went there to say that black people couldn’t get it. “
Johnson, who is HIV positive, said it reminded him of disinformation during the AIDS crisis.
“Black people thought they couldn’t get HIV and AIDS. It is the same as coronavirus. It reminds me that we go back 30 years, we were all wrong. “