COVID-19 has brought much of daily life in the United States to a halt. As of this writing, there have been 145,131 confirmed cases, with 2,608 people dying from the novel coronavirus and 4,574 people recovering. Digging deeper, ESSENCE has highlighted how marginalized communities are at higher risk of being severely impacted by COVID-19, particularly vulnerable Black communities.
From entrenched health care discrimination—including, but certainly not limited to, the long distances between rural communities and advanced health care—to the carceral state, it is clear that COVID-19 will continue to be instructive on what happens to the people that this nation has forcefully and willfully kept at the bottom when the bottom falls out.
Black people, particularly cash-poor Black people, are more likely to live with comorbid health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and more. Black people are already treated as if we feel less pain and, subsequently, not administered adequate pain medication. There are Black communities living under food apartheid, who have little or no access to fresh water or quality health care. And Black women, specifically, carry more stress and anxiety and live with preexisting conditions often made worse by simply trying to survive in this world.
All these things place us at greater risk.
So what do these inequitable and discriminatory conditions mean when fighting COVID-19?
To date, despite requests, no health care organization has released data on the race and ethnic demographics affected by this novel coronavirus—even though it is clear that Black communities will face disproportionate devastation. As we read about more and more (younger) Black people becoming critically ill or dying from COVID-19 complications, like Rana Zoe Mungin and Dezann Romain, and as the state of Louisiana becomes the next hotbed for the virus, ESSENCE is asking:
Where’s the data?
L. Toni Lewis, MD, principal of Health Equity Cypher, and founder and president of Liberation Health Strategies; Shavon Arline-Bradley, principal of Health Equity Cypher; and Joia Crear-Perry, M.D., principal of Health Equity Cypher and founder and president of National Birth Equity Collaborative, discuss this issue in the video above.
ESSENCE is committed to bringing our audience the latest facts about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Our content team is closely monitoring the developing details surrounding the virus via official sources and health care experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Please continue to refresh ESSENCE’s informational hub for updates on COVID-19, as well as for tips on taking care of yourselves, your families and your communities.