Milwaukee and Chicago see an incredibly high rate of cases and deaths among the Black communities
During a press conference on Monday, April 6, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the shocking racial breakdown of the coronavirus in Chicago. While the black community only makes up 30 percent of the city’s population, they account for 72 percent of the COVID-19 deaths.
As of Sunday, April 5, COVID-19 cases in Chicago include 1,824 Black residents, 847 white residents, 478 Hispanic or Latinx residents and 126 Asian residents.
In Milwaukee, where the life expectancy for Blacks is 14 years shorter than their white counterparts, of the 945 cases, 81 percent were Black while the county population is just 26 percent.
ProPublica reports that Milwaukee, Chicago and North Carolina are some of the few states collecting data based on racial demographics.
Dr. Camara Jones, a family physician and epidemiologist, told ProPublica that the virus emphasizes the injustices the Black communities of America have always faced.
Dr. Alexea Gaffney, an infectious disease specialist, debunks the myth about Covid-19 and Black people
“COVID is just unmasking the historical injustices and the impact of residential segregation,” said Jones. “This is the time to name racism as the cause of all of those things. The overrepresentation of people of color in poverty and white people in wealth is not just a happenstance. … It’s because we’re not valued.”
Now, a few Democratic Congress members petitioned to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to have data released based on race and ethnicity. Calling these numbers “vital information.”
James Burell II, an attorney in New York, tweeted that he doesn’t believe more data is necessary because racial discrimination is a known factor. Instead, he called for solutions.
I fear that a racial breakdown will motivate those scumbag racists not to provide assistance if it’s primarily my people dying. We already know the picture; we need solutions.
— James Burrell II 🔑 (@jamesburrell2) April 4, 2020
Fred Royal, head of the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP, said that was is most alarming about Black people dying from the virus is that so many of them went to seek medical attention and were sent home to “self-medicate” and died before their tests came back.
The legacy of coronavirus will not only be remembered for what happened during, but the lives lost during the process.
Linda Sprague Martinez, a researcher at Boston University’s School of Social Work, said disproportionally, the lives lost will be people of color.
“Its impact is going to be tied to our history and legacy of racial inequities,” said Martinez. “It’s going to be tied to the fact that we live in two very different worlds.”