COVID-19 Impact on African Americans

african americans and covid-19

According to Surajit Khanna, the US is now the hotspot of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the African Americans seem to be the hardest hit. The recent study carried out by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has shown huge disparities in the confirmed cases and deaths among African Americans. In Chicago, Black Americans makeup only 30% of the state population, yet accounted for 52% of the confirmed cases and 72% percent death rate. In Michigan, African Americans makeup 13% of the population and still recorded 33% of confirmed cases and 40% of death. For an illness that knows no race, class, societal status, or age, why are there so many disparities in the number of confirmed cases and deaths among African Americans?

Read on as Dr. Surajit Khanna, an advocate for child safety, and currently, a champion of Voice of the kids explores the likely reasons for this.

1. Living Conditions can be a Major Factor

Where one lives can have a huge impact on the health and life expectancy over time, not to talk of the time of crises such as coronavirus (COVID-19). The risk is no doubt is going to multiply says Surajit Khanna. Unsurprisingly, living conditions may be the number one reason why Black Americans seem to be affected the most. Many of them are life in densely populated areas with multi-dwelling buildings. Ways to preventing the spread of the illness might seem difficult to achieve in a situation like this. Moreover, a vast majority of the minority group have the whole family living under one roof and practice a multigenerational life. Hence, isolating someone who is sick or protecting the oldies from the illness can be difficult especially if the space is limited.

2. High Rate of Predisposing Medical Conditions

Disparities in underlying health conditions with less health coverage is another factor that triggers the high rate of Coronavirus victims in Black Americans. As compared to the whites, the minority groups especially African American have about two times the rate of underlying medical issues. This includes asthma, diabetics, obesity, and hypertension. Sadly these are predisposing medical conditions that mount extra pressures on patients with Coronavirus (COVID-19).

3. They are losing their Jobs so fast more than other Ethnics

Minority groups suffer the hardest blow economically during this pandemic as 44% of Black Americans say they or someone they know suffer wages lost. “This does not come as surprise as many of them work in service industry jobs, jobs that cannot survive under work from home practice and jobs with no insurance coverage or paid sick leave,” says Surajit Khanna. This means there are less social distancing and less access to the good health system as there is no health insurance. Moreover, 80% of people summon for violation of social distancing are blacks and Hispanics. The need to work as bills keep piling up are putting them more at risk and promoting the spread of the disease.

4. Limited Access to High-quality Healthcare

“African Americans have higher uninsured rates as compared to whites and they are less likely to benefit from Employer-sponsored retiree health plans. This means African Americans are more susceptible to chronic health conditions, more likely to have less financial resources, and are can face barriers in receiving health services.” Surajit Khanna says. During health emergencies such as the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s not new that the rate of cases and death tends to be higher among the minority groups especially the African Americans. This can also account for the ethnic health disparities even before the pandemic.

“The data has generated much concern and actions are being taken to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the health of ethnic minorities.” Surajit Khanna concludes.

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Written by Surajit Khanna

Child Advocate, Dr. Surajit Khanna was Awarded for his Involvement in Child Safety. He has been a longtime supporter of children’s safety issues and currently a champion of Voice of the Kids.


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