COVID-19 killing African Americans at a higher rate, some states show

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WOIO 19 Outbreak Alert, Coronavirus & Beyond, graphic(19 News)
Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 12:32 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - As the coronavirus sweeps across the world, new research shows disparities when it comes to the number of African Americans in the U.S. disproportionately affected.

Many states have not released demographics about the races affected by the virus. The few that have released that information show huge disparities.

Nearby in Michigan, black people make up 40 percent of the COVID-19 deaths, despite being 14 percent of the state’s population.

In Illinois, 42 percent of the deaths have involved African Americans, who make up 14 percent of the state’s population.

In Ohio, 13 percent of black people have died. However, the race is not known for 25 percent of the people who have died.

The reason?

Based on current information, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Unfortunately that’s not surprising and the reason is there is a health disparity as we call it, that African Americans disproportionately suffer from diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and even some cancers like prostate cancer in African American men,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House health advisor.

Cleveland native and health journalist, Hilary Beard has been writing about health disparities in the black community for more than 20 years.

“It’s actually shocking that people are shocked,” said Beard. "We’ve known for a long time that implicit or unconscious bias exists in medicine, as well as institutional and structural bias.

Listen to Beard’s full interview below.

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