COVID-19 death rates among African Americans have caused concern. Here’s what you need to know.
A rise in the number of COVID-19 deaths in the African American community in Milwaukee and elsewhere has raised concerns and prompted Wisconsin’s governor to call the trend “a crisis within a crisis.”
“Is it a part of lack of communication … our not touching all forms of media? Or are people not understanding how serious this virus is?” Milwaukee County Supervisor Felesia Martin told Wisconsin Public Radio.
And in Illinois, the state Department of Public Health has reported “about 30% of positive cases are individuals of the black community.” In Chicago, it’s 70%.
“About 30% of positive cases are individuals of the black community. We know there are general disparities in health outcomes that play out along racial lines and the same is true for this virus.”
— IDPH (@IDPH) April 5, 2020
Dr. Nkem Iroegbu, chief medical officer at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, says it’s important to stay home and practice social distancing, even if you’re young and healthy. That means leaving at least six feet of space between you and other people if you do go out. And wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time after touching surfaces.
You could be carrying the virus and not know it, making your actions a danger to less healthy people. You might feel fine, but others could suffer a great deal if they catch COVID-19 from you.
“I understand that not everyone can stay home. Some people have to go to work,” Dr. Iroegbu says. “You should stay at home if at all possible. But if you do have to work, make sure to keep your distance from other people and wash your hands regularly. We have to work together and all do our part if we’re going to stop this virus.”
If you think you might have symptoms of COVID-19, don’t go to the hospital immediately. You can click here to check your symptoms online, find out more about the impact of a national testing shortage and learn what actions to take next.
About the Author
Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.