Black Americans seem to be dying at disproportionately high rates from COVID-19

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At a COVID-19 testing site in South LA, a man wears a medical mask and gloves. His sign says “we care.” April 8, 2020. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

African Americans are dying of COVID-19 at much higher rates than white people. 

Surgeon General Jerome Adams told CBS on Tuesday, “When you look at being black in America — number one, unfortunately, people are more likely to be of low socio-economic status, which makes it harder to social distance. Number two, we know that blacks are more likely to have diabetes, heart disease, lung disease. And I’ve shared … that I have high blood pressure, that I have heart disease, and spent a week in the ICU due to a heart condition, that I actually have asthma, and I’m pre-diabetic. And so I represent that legacy of growing up poor and black in America. And I — and many black Americans — are at higher risk for COVID. It’s why we need everyone to do their part to slow the spread.”

In Louisiana, 70% of people who died of the novel coronavirus were black, despite being just 30% of the population. In LA County, 17% of people who died were black.

Credits

Guests:
Dr. Oliver T. Brooks - National Medical Association, Karen Bass - Congresswoman, 37th Congressional District of California - @RepKarenBass

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Alexandra Sif Tryggvadottir, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin