Black people in Los Angeles are more likely to contract coronavirus and die than their white peers, according to recently released data.
African Americans represent 9 percent of L.A. residents but comprise 17 percent of coronavirus deaths based on just 57 percent of reported deaths to date, said LA County public health Director Barbara Ferrer.
“This data is preliminary because fully 43 percent of the people who passed we do not yet have information on their race and ethnicity and are working hard to be able to complete those records,” Ferrer told The Los Angeles Times.
As of April 7, Los Angeles County said that 169 people had died of COVID-19. Officials had racial information for 93 of the deaths. The breakdown was: Latino 28 percent, white 27 percent, Asian 19 percent, Black 17 percent, and other 9 percent.
“When we look at these numbers by the total population of each group, African Americans have a slightly higher rate of death than other races,” Ferrer said.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he was concerned that Black and low-income residents are suffering most because they have a higher share of preexisting health conditions.
“Like many things in our society, this disease, especially the way it kills, is hitting folks with preexisting conditions, like diabetes, obesity, and other conditions disproportionately found in poor communities and communities of color, the hardest,” Garcetti said. “And second, based on initial data the virus is disproportionately killing African Americans here in Los Angeles County, a reminder that while this virus has narrowed our sights on the immediate challenge before us, long-term racial disparities still exist.”
While California is still working to compile ethnicity data on COVID-19 cases, various counties in the state have released ethnicity data for the first time that shows Black residents are the most affected in the pandemic.
“The California counties that did release data lacked ethnic information for a sizable share of coronavirus cases — including more than half in Los Angeles County — an indication that background data was not collected uniformly as the state scrambled to expand its testing capabilities through different public and private labs,” Politico reported.
“We’re still waiting for all of the data,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a recent press briefing. “Before I make it public and present it, I want it to be accurate.”
He added: “Disparities on testing are a point of obvious and real concern.”
It’s not just in Los Angeles where African Americans are more susceptible to COVID.19. All across the U.S., cities report that coronavirus is killing Black people in disproportionate numbers.
The Trump White House has finally recognized this.
During a recent press conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, discussed the disproportionate COVID-19 death toll facing African Americans in some areas, Business Insider reported.
“And the reason I want to bring it up, because I couldn’t help sitting there reflecting on how sometimes when you’re in the middle of a crisis, like we are now with the coronavirus, it really does, ultimately, shine a very bright light on some of the real weaknesses and foibles in our society,” Fauci said.
He added that death rates and intensive-care intubations were higher among African Americans because of a greater prevalence of “underlying medical conditions — the diabetes, the hypertension, the obesity, the asthma.”
Written by Ann Brown