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Sumaiyah Clark shares data on Blacks dying from COVID-19 at alarming rates

Sumaiyah Clark (Photo provided)

Black communities across the nation are contracting and dying from the coronavirus at an alarming rate. While there has yet to be a national release of racial demographics and the coronavirus, some states have revealed the racial breakdown of those who have been affected.

In Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Black Americans account for 945 cases and 81 percent of its 27 deaths. The county’s population is only 26 percent Black.

In Michigan, more than 3,800 Black people have contracted COVID-19. Blacks make up 40 percent of those who have died from the virus, but only account for 12 percent of the state’s population, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Illinois and North Carolina are other states that have tracked infections by race. At press time, Blacks comprised 30 percent of the 11,000 cases in Illinois. And in North Carolina, Blacks represented 45 percent of cases, according to WBTV. 

Many Black residents encounter racial disparities that can affect access to adequate healthcare. In terms of economics, some Blacks also may find it difficult to practice social distancing if they must still work in high-risk areas in order to make ends meet.

The CDC has released location and age data, but it has yet to reach overall numbers in terms of race.

Sumaiyah Clark, enterprise project administrator for the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services, discusses data on why Blacks are dying from COVID-19 at alarming rates.

When did your department find out about COVID-19?

In late January, early February, our leadership team started to hear about it and we were starting to have conversations about what it could look like if people in Wisconsin were affected.

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