“Coronavirus hits people of color harder.”

April 4, 2020 at 5:13 pm (By Amba) (, )

Illustration of a pie chart with two slices, with the bigger slice shaped as a virus
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Communities of color and low-income families are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus, Axios’ Sam Baker and Alison Snyder report.

Why it matters: The virus itself doesn’t discriminate. But it’s beginning to reflect the racial and socioeconomic disparities of the cities where it’s spreading and the health care system that’s struggling to contain it.

The big picture: There’s no nationwide data on the demographics of coronavirus cases or deaths. But preliminary data from several large metro areas seem pretty clear.

Black residents make up about 33% of Mecklenburg County, N.C., which includes Charlotte, but account for roughly 44% of its coronavirus cases, according to The Charlotte Observer.

Milwaukee County, Wis., is 26% black — yet African Americans account for almost half of the coronavirus cases and 80% of the deaths, according to ProPublica.

The hardest-hit neighborhoods in New York City have large immigrant populations, per the Wall Street Journal

Statewide data from Michigan show that African Americans make up a plurality of both cases (35%) and deaths (40%), but just 14% of the state’s population.

What they’re saying: “It puzzles me that none of our responses at the federal or state level has talked about race,” said Lehigh University’s Sirry Alang, who studies health disparities and inequities.“There’s been no focus on the ways in which our policy decisions might have unintended consequences for these populations.”

Between the lines: This apparent inequity in coronavirus cases reflects a slew of other, pre-existing disparities.African Americans are more likely to have several underlying health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and some cancers that can make COVID-19 infections more severe.

Lower-income areas — which tend to have larger nonwhite populations — have less access to health care services.Substandard housing, multiple families living together, and homelessness all facilitate the virus’ spread.

* * *

Consider this a companion piece to this post.

Do you think Trump and his followers feel at all badly about this? Or are they (quiet or out loud) somewhere between “act of God” and “serves them right”? It’s horrifying how this serves their agenda.

A Trump supporter I know in Chicago said to me in that “just between us white folks” side-of-the-mouth sotto voce that the majority of COVID-19 cases there are concentrated “on the South Side” (code for “Black”) and it’s because “they’re careless . . . [in a mocking simper] ‘The government will take care of me.'” Then she *shrieked* “I’M SO SICK OF SOCIALISM!!!”

I simply copied an Axios story with all its links, because it won’t let me link to just this part of the newsletter, and Facebook won’t include the links.

But I’ll relent and say, Do read the rest of Axios’s “deep dive.” The next section is headed, “… and its economic impact is unequal, too.”

The bottom line: “It’s a precarious time for people who are already vulnerable.”

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