Why African-Americans may be especially vulnerable to COVID-19

At the beginning of this pandemic, everyone on this Earth was not immune. Anybody could get the virus as much as their neighbor could. While the virus has been spreading, throughout the U.S it has been exposed that certain racial fault lines are showing that African Americans are more likely to die from this virus than Caucasians. Only a few countries and states are separating COVID-19 cases by race and this is concerning, showing the statistics. For 3,300 of 13,000 coronavirus deaths, it was reported that 42% were African American. Other country statistics showing this is Chicago, were 28% percent of the 16,422 cases were African Americans who additionally make 43% percent of the deaths in this state; other data says that 33% of the hospitalizations in the country, even though they make 18% of the population. 

Here are some reasons why African Americans could be more exposed to COVID-19: First of all, African Americans may be more susceptible to get transmitted the virus because 30% of the critical workforce is composed of African Americans. That includes caregivers, cashiers, sanitation workers, farmworkers, and public transportation — all jobs highly occupied by African Americans. Another factor contributing to this could be the fact that 34% of African Americans are forced to use public transport regularly while only 14% of white people do. This may bring African American people in greater contact with infected people, causing more infection amongst this community. Additionally, a high percentage of African Americans live in places that could increase their risk of exposure. Data from the Pew Research Center states that only 44% of African Americans owned a home, compared to 75% of white people. Some African American families are crowded in inner-city apartments, making them even more at risk than a regular Caucasian family. 

Another reason African Americans are more susceptible to COVID-19 is the fact that they have a higher incidence of underlying health conditions. The people that are most at risk in this epidemic are those with health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and others. Statistics show that over 40% of African Americans have high blood pressure by comparison with 25% of Caucasians. Similarly, African Americans tend to have higher rates of obesity and diabetes. This problem mostly comes from the unproportionate amount of air pollution most African Americans are exposed to. Studies from Harvard University have shown that poor African American neighborhoods have higher rates of air pollution and violence. Researchers are still testing whether if air pollution is a factor in the poor health of these neighborhoods. 

At last, the ultimate reason that African Americans are more likely to get infected from the COVID-19 is the fact that they have less access to medical care and often don’t trust caregivers. Inequality in access to healthcare makes it harder for African Americans to access preventive care and medical checks for diseases. Lack of preventive care means that African Americans are more likely than other racial groups to be hospitalized for things such as asthma, diabetes, and heart failure, researchers reported. Additionally, African Americans are often known to spend less of medical care not because they are less likely to go to the doctor, but because of their long-standing distrust of the medical establishment due to events like the Tuskegee experiment. In this experiment, African American men with syphilis were denied attention at hospitals. These forms of discrimination that African Americans have faced in the U.S are still seen in this pandemic, showing an ugly reality that must be fixed as a country.

Camila Pedroza

My name is Camila Pedroza. I am a senior who loves her senior class. I am from Peru. My favorite food is pesto. A word that would describe me would be lowkey.

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