With the murder of George Floyd sending black Americans out into the streets to protest racism and police brutality at a time when social distancing is still encouraged, this vulnerable community could face even greater risks.
Infectious disease experts suggest these large gatherings could cause a “catastrophic setback” for controlling COVID-19 within the same community already most at risk.
Data confirms what anecdotal evidence has long suggested: Communities of color are suffering the worst impacts of COVID-19.
With 48 states and the District of Columbia starting to report data, ethnicity or race is known in nearly half of cases and 90% of deaths.
Across the country, black Americans are dying from COVID-19 at nearly double the rate that would be expected given their share of the population nationally.
They account for 13% of the U.S. population and 24% of COVID-19 deaths.
And Hispanic and Latino Americans test positive at a disproportionate rate in all states reporting relevant ethnicity data except one.
Black Americans are disproportionately represented among essential workers.
But “we know that these racial ethnic disparities in COVID-19 are the result of pre-pandemic realities,“ says Yale School of Medicine’s Equity Research and Innovation Center Director Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.
“It’s a legacy of structural discrimination that has limited access to health and wealth for people of color.”