The sad reality emerging from many reports ls that the novel coronavirus, once rumored not to affect black people, is ravaging black communities. Based on one report, every coronavirus victim in St. Louis, MO, who has died in this pandemic has been a black American, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Officials in St. Louis stated that those in the city who’ve died from complications related to COVID-19 were African American. As of Wednesday, the city has more than 480 cases of infected individuals and 12 deaths.
“If you look at the health disparities in the city of St. Louis, they’re not unique,” city health director Dr. Fredrick Echols said during a briefing Wednesday. “Inequities exist across the U.S. and across the world, and it’s posed a challenge for public health agencies, (which) have to address those issues and ensure all individuals, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, income, or educational attainment have access to quality health-related resources.”
According to Statistics Atlas, St. Louis has the most black people in the state. More than two of every three people living in Missouri are white, while blacks make up 24% of the state’s population.
The city of St. Louis has a stay-at-home order that expires April 22. Echols said it will likely be extended because of the increased cases of COVID-19. “However, things may change,” he said. “We will continue to monitor the situation.” Echols added that state officials have agreed to provide the city with a rapid testing machine so those potentially exposed to the virus can be tested more quickly.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has said that preexisting conditions that are prevalent in the black community are a reason for the influx of deaths. He cited particular health conditions like asthma, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Adams also acknowledged the impact the coronavirus has had on the black community, saying “many black Americans are at a higher risk for COVID.”