Everything has been put on hold in the United States as the coronavirus continues to ravage the country, but early data shows that the Black community is facing infection and death at an alarming rate.

A new report from ProPublica highlights how the virus has spread at a higher rate in Black communities, listing limited access to healthcare, economic, environmental, and political issues as a factor. Many Black people are also unable to stay at home as their jobs have now been deemed essential.

It was reported earlier this week that Black people make up 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Michigan, where only 14 percent of the population is Black. In Chicago, where Black people make up 29 percent of the population, 70 percent of COVID-19 deaths are Black residents. Leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina also say that the virus is disproportionately affecting Black residents.

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ProPublica adds that Illinois and North Carolina are two of the few states reporting statistics on COVID-19 cases by race. Dr. Camara Jones, a family physician, epidemiologist and visiting fellow at Harvard University, told the publication, “COVID is just unmasking the deep disinvestment in our communities, the historical injustices and the impact of residential segregation. This is the time to name racism as the cause of all of those things. The overrepresentation of people of color in poverty and white people in wealth is not just a happenstance. … It’s because we’re not valued.”

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.


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