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COVID-19 deaths disproportionately hit black Americans

Epidemics expose inequalities. Look at the data.

MINNEAPOLIS — As COVID-19 spreads a troubling fact is clear. The virus is disproportionately hitting black Americans. In an essay on Breaking the News, Adrienne Broaddus took a closer look at the numbers and lives behind them. 

"It keeps happening. Every time I log on Facebook, my friends are grieving someone they loved who died because of COVID-19," she said.

A friend she met through the journalism industry wrote about COVID-19 ending his aunt Lisa's life. 

"I kept promising to make that trip to Detroit to see you and now it is too late," Mashaun D. Simon wrote. "Every time I try to say it or type it, it hurts even more."

A member of her sorority wrote a post letting us know this virus is real.
Standing six feet away from his hospital bed she said goodbye to her father who died from COVID-19 complications.

Another friend wrote about losing two people he loved who died alone.

As we deliver stories of hope, part of hope is getting people help. Some folks believe blacks can't get COVID- 19. But that is far from the truth and it has a lot to do with underlying conditions like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and asthma. Epidemics expose inequalities. Look at the data.

In Michigan, black residents make up about 41% of COVID-19deaths. The state population for blacks is only 14%.

In Illinois, look closely at Chicago where Black people make up 32% of the population.

About 67% of Chicago residents have died from COVID-19.

In Minnesota, the numbers aren’t nearly as drastic. You can see the data here.

In Milwaukee, 73% of coronavirus deaths have been black Americans but they only make up 26% of the population.

White House Adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, compared the race disparities of coronavirus to the AIDS epidemic during the 1980’s.

“So we're very concerned about that but there's nothing we can do about that other than to try and give them the best possible care,” Fauci said.

But we can do something.  Stop sharing false information. Find better ways to inform the hardest hit communities.

And in a recent Washington Post opinion story, Michele Norris suggest mobile rapid response teams in areas considered hot zones.

She also recommends making sure folks who live in food deserts have what they need to stay safe and healthy.

If the lives lost don’t move you to change, listen to the voice of one who survived. Rev. Roy Manning, a  Michigan pastor and family friend of Adrienne Broaddus, lived to tell his coronavirus story after days in the hospital. 

“I am grateful for being alive. There are some people that can't get up. I am grateful to God for the opportunity to come back again,” he said. “This is a real issue. All you have to do is check the obituaries every day. Follow the health officials’ directives. Stay home.”

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KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and see what companies in Minnesota are hiring. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11

The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

There is also a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.