New data shows coronavirus disproportionately impacts Black Americans, marginalized communities

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020
New data shows coronavirus disproportionately impacts Black Americans
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New information from top health experts shows Black Americans are being hit disproportionately hard by Coronavirus in major cities across the country.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- New information from top health experts shows Black Americans are being hit disproportionately hard by coronavirus in major cities across the country.

"Health disparities have always existed for the African American community, but here again with the crisis now- it's shining a bright light on how unacceptable that is," Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.

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Dr. Fauci's words from the White House were exactly what some public health experts had been waiting to hear.

"Without data, we're flying blind and that's really unacceptable during a pandemic," Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCSF, said.

Dr. Bibbins-Domingo, like many other public health experts and politicians, have been pushing for data on race and Coronavirus. Currently, it's all over the place.

"It wasn't actually required reporting when you get tested that everyone list their race or ethnicity," Dr. Bibbins-Domingo said. "We have multiple types of testing sites."

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We're seeing lack of data in California as well. The state has only been able to analyze 37% of confirmed Coronavirus cases.

Of the individuals diagnosed with coronavirus, 30% are Latino, 6% are Black and 14% are Asian. 29% of Latinos make up the number of deaths, while 3% are Black, and 16% are Asian.

"I caution you," Governor Gavin Newsom said. "The data is limited to that sample size. We will get more of that information in. It's one thing to have that data, it's another to do something with it."

"The front line clinicians taking care of people have been reporting that they're seeing more Latin X and monolingual Spanish speakers for a while," Dr. Bibbins-Domingo said.

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"Crisis always exacerbates existing racial disparities," Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said.

So why are we seeing this disparity in marginalized communities? Dr. Monica McLemore said it starts with access to healthcare, but there's history too.

"When you think about poverty and communities of color and people of color, that's also explained by structural racism," Dr. McLemore said.

Dr. McLemore believes what's important now, is to think ahead.

"How can we rebuild our public health structure?" Dr. McLemore said. "Centering the people who are most vulnerable and most at risk and ensure better outcomes for everybody?"

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